Introducing The New Face Of Wu-Tang: A Beauty Brand
Most people would not connect iconic hip-hop crew The Wu-Tang Clan with beauty products, but it seems that the group’s unofficial leader, Robert Fitzgerald Diggs aka RZA and his wife Talani Diggs did, and developed the idea, according to Vogue. The “Protect Your Neck” rap group has teamed up with Milk Makeup to create a limited edition range of lipsticks — Wu-Tang x Milk Makeup.
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 04: Detavio Samuels
Jamarlin talks to Detavio Samuels, president of Interactive One, the largest independent digital media platform focused on urban culture. Samuels leads a $30M digital media business that in 2017 acquired Bossip, Madamenoire, and HiphopWired. They discuss Richelieu Dennis’ acquisition of Essence, Facebook’s recent fumbles, and whether Complex Media is a culture vulture.
“In previous generations, the feminine energy has been dampened by the world,” the RZA told Vogue. “But now, women’s strength, beauty, and wisdom is finally being celebrated and permeating. Warriors come in all forms, but right now women are the modern warriors, unapologetic in their strength and speaking out about things they’ve held in or feared they’d be shunned for on both a personal and political level.”
The Wu-Tang Clan has always been one group to expand their business horizons. They have multiple businesses, including the Wu Wear clothing line, martial arts-inspired video games, and the upcoming Hulu series.
The Wu-Tang lip collection, which is being repped by singer-dancer Teyana Taylor, includes eight lip colors ($55 each or $440 for a limited edition 8-piece set). Shades are each named for the eight earthly elements of I Ching:
- Sacred (Rose Gold Glitter) — Heaven
- Source (High Shine Burgundy) — Earth
- Chi (High Shine True Red) — Thunder
- Frequency (Purple Glitter) — Water
- Cypher (High Shine Cocoa) — Mountain
- Flow (High Shine Rosy Beige) — Wind
- Ruckus (High Shine Hot Pink) — Lake
- Fire (Matte Orange Red) — Fire
There is also a 24-karat plated mirror shaped like the Wu-Tang logo available for $75 and a pin set for $18.
The packaging stays true to Wu style, the New York Post reported. The influence of Shaolin (a form of kung fu and action movie from China that combines Zen Buddhism and martial arts) is strong. There’s a hand-carved golden dragon wrapping around the barrel of the lip dispenser.
The Staten Island crew took great care in the development of the line. “Every facet of its creation, with much of its inspiration rooted in kung fu culture and Chinese philosophy’s feminine yin energy, has been designed in painstaking detail,” Vogue reported.
While the beauty experts over at Teen Vogue are predicting the line of lipsticks will sell out, industry commentator and collective Estee Laundry is upset claiming cultural appropriation, according to Global Cosmetics News.
“Yet another fine example of #CulturalAppropriation. #WuTang, we get it, your name was inspired by the film Shaolin and Wu-Tang so you wanted to bring a Chinese element to your Wu-Tang X #MilkMakeup collaboration. But using the sacred Chinese divination text, I Ching, and religious Taoist/Daoist symbols like the Ba Gua to sell your Lip Colour collection? Come on guys, you can do better than that,” the collective wrote on Instagram.
the wu tang x milk lipsticks look gorgeous but can I justify spending that much on a single lipstick??
— ning (@naevous) November 2, 2018
Wu Tang Clan released a lipstick line? I can’t keep up. https://t.co/rpG9dktLjM
— Lauren Machi (@lauren_machi) November 2, 2018