Companies who want to work with Beyoncé but don’t have the diversity to do so can get to steppin’.
That’s the lesson the world is learning after it was first reported Queen Bey walked out of a potential deal with Reebok due to the alleged lack of color in the room.
The claim was made by ESPN writer Nick DePaula during a recent appearance on The Jump. While reporting on Bey’s new partnership with Adidas, DePaula explained that the 37-year-old had been in talks with other huge sports brands before lacing up with the sneaker titan, noting:
“Throughout this process over the last year or two, she had discussed with Under Armour, with Reebok as well, Jordan at one point was interested in maybe partnering with her.”
According to DePaula, Reebok was bent on making a deal with the Formation singer, having assembled a team that pitched exactly what her potential line would look like.
But, allegedly, after Bey took a look around the room and saw that no one on the company’s team reflected her background (read: skin color), she had no choice but to back out. DePaula explained:
“She had a meeting at Reebok and they had a whole presentation of everything, potential products, how this could all look, and she kind of 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 by background, my skin color and where I’m from and what I want to do.’ So she took a step back and left and then it did not come to terms.”
If the shoe doesn’t fit — or, if it’s too white — don’t wear it.
But, as DePaula noted, Bey’s reported power move wasn’t just about business: it was to give companies a wake up call. He added:
“For her, it really goes beyond that. It’s not just about putting her name on a shoe and here’s the new Adidas Beyoncé 1, or whatever they end up calling it. It’s about having an imprint on the company and an impact in terms of diversity.”
Watch the clip (below).
According to Reebok though, that just wasn’t the case. A rep 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 news comes days after the Grammy winner announced she has signed onto Adidas as the brand’s newest creative partner. She called the deal a “partnership of a lifetime” in a press release, writing:
“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.”
Sounds like a perfect match!
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