Update: The news of Beyoncé reportedly walking out of a meeting with Reebok because the room lacked diversity, certainly didn’t reflect well on the athletic company. Not having people of color in high places at your company is bad enough. But not having people of color in the room when you’re pitching to a Black woman is just not smart.
Reebok wanted to address the story. A rep for the company told TMZ:
“The report that Beyoncé walked out of a meeting with Reebok due to lack of diversity is categorically false. Our discussions with Beyoncé and her team continued for several months after our initial meeting. We are disappointed that false information is being reported as fact.”
The company, naturally, didn’t offer any insight about what caused the deal to fall through. What is interesting though is that they while they deny her walking out of the room, they didn’t speak to whether or not there were people of color or marginalized groups in the room.
Original story: Yesterday, we reported that Beyoncé had signed a deal with Adidas in what she called the “partnership of a lifetime.”
What we didn’t know yesterday was that Queen Bey met with other shoe companies before choosing Adidas. And apparently, diversity in the board rooms played a significant role in her decision making. In speaking about the deal on ESPN’s “The Jump,” writer Nick De Paula said that Beyoncé declined to work with Reebok because representation wasn’t a priority for them.
De Paula said, “For her, it really goes beyond that. It’s more than putting her name on the shoe. It’s about having an imprint on the company, impact in terms of diversity. I had heard a great story about how, throughout this process, in the last year or two, she had discussed with Under Armour, Reebok as well. Jordan, at one point, was interested in maybe partnering with her. She had a meeting at Reebok and they had a whole presentation of everything, potential products, how this could all look. And she kind took a step back and said, ‘Is this the team that will be working on my product?’
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.’ So she kind of took a step back and left. And then it did not come to terms.”
Rachel Nichols, another panelist on the show, said Reebok must not have been paying attention.
“I love…that’s an amazing story. Because it’s one thing to talk about ‘Oh, I want diversity. I want representation.’ But for a company not to realize, with Beyoncé’s track record, we better put people in the room, we better be able to elevate people who can do the job and to be able to do the job, you have to come from where she’s coming from.”
I was already gon get a pair of these shoes or some of this apparel because I love me some Beyoncé. But this right here, standing up for diversity within corporations is next level.
To be clear, Adidas owns Reebok, so the money from the deal is still going to the company at large, but often times, teams are siloed, oftentimes working in entirely different buildings. Employees receive incentives if their team secures a deal this large. And in this case, the Reebok team won’t be receiving any of that money.
Article Courtesy of MadameNoire
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