It turns out that music icon Beyoncé may have had a partnership opportunity with Reebok that went sour due to the pitch team’s lack of diversity.
In an appearance on ESPN’s “The Jump,” writer Nick DePaula said that the famed singer opted out of an offer from Reebok because she did not see enough people with skin color two shades darker than a white person.
“She had a meeting at Reebok and they had a whole presentation of everything, potential products, how this could all look and she kinda took a step back and said ‘is this the team that would be working on my product’?” DePaula said on ESPN. “And somebody said ‘yes’ and she said ‘nobody in this room reflects my background, my skin color, and where I’m from and what I want to do’. And so she kinda took a step back and left and then, it did not come to terms.”
According to Refinery 29, the singer ultimately settled on a deal with Adidas, which the company announced on Thursday as a “multi-layered partnership.” Beyoncé hailed the company for its philosophy of creativity, growth and social responsibility.
“This is the partnership of a lifetime for me,” Beyoncé said. “Adidas has had tremendous success in pushing creative boundaries. We share a philosophy that puts creativity, growth and social responsibility at the forefront of business. I look forward to re-launching and expanding Ivy Park on a truly global scale with a proven, dynamic leader.”
Eric Liedtke, Executive Board Member – Global Brands, Adidas, said in a press release that the partnership will “inspire change and empower the next generation of creators.”
“As the creator sports brand, Adidas challenges the status quo and pushes the limits of creativity through its open source approach,” said Liedtke. “Beyoncé is an iconic creator but also a proven business leader, and together, we have the ability to inspire change and empower the next generation of creators.”
If Beyoncé actually did reject Reebok due to the color of certain people’s skin, it reflects a growing trend in the overall culture that says minorities can discriminate according to race as a means to equalize the playing field. It also stems from the prevailing idea that skin color equals a shared experience. Comedian-turned-filmmaker Jordan Peele said as much recently when he eschewed the possibility of ever casting a white male in a lead role due to that demographics’ overrepresentation.
“I don’t see myself casting a white dude as the lead in my movie,” Peele said during an appearance at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Hollywood, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “Not that I don’t like white dudes. But I’ve seen that movie.”
Peele’s comments “drew loud applause and shouts of agreement,” reported THR. He went on to characterize his stance as a sort of renaissance for representation in Hollywood. “It really is one of the best greatest pieces of this story is feeling like we are in this time — a renaissance has happened and proven the myths about representation in the industry are false,” he said.