Dove’s Controversial Partnership: Advocating ‘Fat Liberation’ with Zyahna Bryant
Dove, the well-known beauty brand, has made a surprising move by teaming up with Zyahna Bryant, a black activist who has been accused of adversely impacting a white student’s life due to a misunderstood remark. This collaboration is part of a unique and contentious campaign that aims to promote ‘fat liberation.’
Zyahna Bryant: Activism and University Life
Zyahna Bryant, a 22-year-old community organizer and student activist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, gained prominence through her activism. She claimed to have overheard a white student named Morgan Bettinger making threats towards Black Lives Matter protesters in July 2020. This incident revolved around Bettinger’s use of the phrase ‘speed bumps’ while discussing the protest, which Bryant interpreted as a threat.
Misunderstanding and Consequences
Subsequently, Bryant acknowledged that she might have ‘misheard’ Bettinger’s statement. However, during this period, Bryant appeared to take an active role in the cancellation of Bettinger, who faced a barrage of abuse and a campaign to remove her from the University of Virginia. Staff and students rallied against Bettinger, affecting her future prospects.
Dove’s Controversial Decision
Despite the controversy surrounding Zyahna Bryant’s involvement in the Bettinger incident, Dove has chosen to include her as one of their ‘paid partners’ in an advertising and promotional collaboration. Bryant announced her role as a Dove ambassador on social media, focusing on the ‘fat liberation’ campaign to challenge stereotypes about being overweight.
Support and Backlash
While Bryant’s announcement garnered support from her 27,000 Instagram followers, she faced criticism on social media after Reason magazine initially shared her connection to Bettinger’s cancellation. This partnership places Dove in a potentially precarious position due to its association with Bryant.
Dove’s History of Social Causes
Dove has a history of aligning itself with social causes, particularly those related to body positivity. However, this partnership highlights the challenges and potential backlash brands can face when aligning with controversial figures.
Zyahna Bryant: Rising BLM Activist
Bryant’s activism traces back to her childhood when she organized her first rally at the age of 12 in support of justice for Trayvon Martin and other unarmed black lives lost to police violence. She continued her advocacy by establishing the Black Student Union at her high school and actively participating in the movement to remove Confederate statues in Charlottesville.
Context: Unite The Right Rally
Charlottesville gained international attention in 2017 when a Unite The Right rally featuring neo-Nazis and white supremacists turned violent. The rally included disturbing chants and resulted in the tragic death of counter-protester Heather Heyer.
The ‘Speed Bumps’ Incident
The incident involving Morgan Bettinger occurred during the George Floyd protests in 2020 when she mistakenly drove into a crowd of protesters. Her comment about the protesters potentially becoming ‘speed bumps’ led to Zyahna Bryant’s accusations, sparking a campaign for Bettinger’s expulsion. The fallout from this incident, coupled with Bryant’s actions, ignited debates about cancel culture and accountability.
Controversial Allegations and Implications
Subsequent investigations cast doubt on the accuracy of Bryant’s claims, with evidence suggesting she may not have heard Bettinger’s remark firsthand. This raised questions about the fairness of the consequences faced by Bettinger, who reportedly saw her chances at law school ruined. Bettinger is now contemplating a potential lawsuit in response to these events.