If you’ve been anywhere in and around Black Beauty influencer spaces over the last decade, you’re probably familiar with the name Jackie Aina. Aina, 35, who got her start as a YouTube guru for Black makeup enthusiasts and has since designed a line of home products, has recently come under fire for adopting a Nigerian protest slogan as the name of a new candle fragrance under her FORVR Mood brand, and folks are not happy.
After a long reign as the queen of Black beauty influencers, Aina began expanding her empire as do many others in the industry looking to broaden both their reach and revenue streams. The YouTube star launched FORVR Mood in 2020 with a collection of candles and other items that quickly grew in popularity and sold out quickly. Among the four new fragrances released this year is one named “Sòro Sókè,” a Yoruba phrase that translates to “Speak Louder,” and has been used widely throughout Nigeria in demonstrations against police brutality.
The backlash may come as a surprise to many, including Aina who considers herself to be an advocate and voice for many causes. In fact, she was able to launch her own career by calling out makeup companies for their lack of diversity. After speaking out against one brand in particular, Too Faced, for their foundation shade offerings that left out women of color, Aina and the brand were later able to collaborate on a collection together, which would become the first brand partnership of many.
Despite Aina’s years-long fight for representation in the aesthetic industries, the backlash over the candle name continues, as she faces accusations of attempting to profit off of the #ENDSARS movement. The entrepreneur who is also Nigerian, is additionally being accused of leaning into the Nigerian culture only when it’s profitable for her to do so. Many social media users have commented that at the movement’s peak, Aina never spoke out publicly on the matter.
One tweet reads: “Dear Non-Nigerians, The reason why this is receiving so much backlash is because Jackie Aina shamelessly named one of the candles It was one of the rallying cries during EndSars. But Jackie was notably silent during the protests.”
As another commenter put it, “As a long term Jackie Aina fan, I’m so disappointed at how tone deaf this is. I didn’t even know she refused to shed light on the end sars movement till I saw several tweets about it today. And using Soro Soke as a candle name when it was the rallying cry for the movement?? 0/10.”
As of Friday evening however, the “Sòro Sókè” candle has been removed from the product line, and Aina has issued a public apology via her Instagram page.
“As the brand owner of Forvr Mood, I understand our decision has severely hurt members of my Nigerian community with the naming of the candle Soro Soke. We missed the mark on this and it will never happen again.”