Digging Deeper into Beyoncé’s Mega Deal with Adidas
Beyoncé is showing us the way, the way forward, yet again. Just the other day it was announced that Beyoncé will be working in partnership with Adidas for what can presumably one of the biggest athletic merchandise deals ever.
While I have room in my heart to grow more love for athletic wear, I know that the power of the industry is no joke. A Market Watch report states,
“… athleisure wear is changing the entire market and creating lucrative new revenue streams for businesses that take part in this exciting new segment.
Athletic wear sales have grown by a whopping 61 percent since 2007.
Morgan Stanley forecasts sales of $355 billion by 2021, up from $290 billion now.
Celebrity marketing partnerships boost companies' social media profiles.”
What I didn’t know before hearing about this deal is that I could love Beyoncé more. Turns out I can. Not only am I loving her for negotiating this huge deal, I’m yet again surprised that she’s teaching me new things along the way.
Silly me, of course she is.
Nick DePaula reported that when she was looking for a deal, she met with many sporting companies including Reebok and Adidas. She decided to pass on Reebok for one huge reported reason: lack of diversity and inclusion. After a big presentation it was reported that she asked if the group in the room that just pitched her would be working on the project. Reebok replied yes. She then went on to say that not one person in the room shared her background or upbringing and that was a deciding factor to pass. She walked out of Reebok and landed at Adidas. Boom. Oh and, fun fact: she also negotiated to bring her line Ivy Park with her, retain sole ownership of it, and keep it away from a pervy, gross, and racist Topshop executive.
Beyoncé again and again is showing us how to bring others up along with her. Whether that is her ground breaking, self-editorialized cover in Vogue America photographed by Tyler Mitchell or headlining Coachella with a “historically black college and university-themed production.” Next week’s “Homecoming” Netflix special can’t come soon enough. Oh yeah, remember her and Jay-Z’s Louvre takeover for “Apeshit?” She’s not messing around in her attempt to help us relearn.
When I – furiously at times and I’m working on my emotions – respond to (mostly) Caucasian people’s retort that inclusion will happen naturally over time. Some version of, “Let’s not force it,” gets thrown out into the ether. I get upset. Nope. It hasn’t. It won’t because the same types of people are in the same types of rooms. We can’t think different if we’re not forced to act different.
Mandatory inclusion and diversity programs and initiatives are a no brainer. It should be the bare minimum for organizations to – again, at bare minimum – reflect the country they are doing business in demographics-wise. That means likely a 48/ 48 gender split (with room for non-binary) and representative percentages of racial, ability, age, and socio-economic inclusion throughout all levels. Yes, it will be difficult – at first – but we can do it. Ask for help.
I would argue that we have to. When we relearn and rewire ourselves and our lives, we prove that we can change.
I’ll leave you with this. I’m interpreting that Beyoncé is urging us all to step up. If the company that you work for or operate does not reflect real demographics of your community, getting that corrected should be your top focus. Get it done and get it done now. It may be sportswear but Beyoncé isn’t playing.