Italian beauty brand Wycon faces heavy criticism for naming black nail polish ‘Thick as a N*gga’
We truly cannot fathom how this beauty brand thought their shade name was okay. At this point, we’re starting to wonder if major brands are deliberately using racism to get loads of attention, whether it’s the move to put a child in a ‘monkey’ sweatshirt or provide just two foundation shades for darker skin tones. The latest controversy in the world of beauty: Italian brand Wycon Cosmetics decided it would be appropriate to name a black nail polish: ‘Thick as a N***a’. Yep. Really.
A cosmetics company truly, genuinely didn’t think twice about referencing a racial slur as a name for a nail polish. Wycon Cosmetics has chosen a number of provocative names for their polish colours, including Dirty Talk, Lap Girl, but it’s their choice of shade name for the darkest polish in their collection that’s attracting criticism. Forbes reports that Italian beauty vlogger Loretta Grace was one of the first to call out the brand for the polish’s name.
As a result, an Instagram post from Wycon promoting their new gel polish was flooded with comments from people vowing to boycott the brand. Wycon responded by defending the names, calling their choices of shade names ‘a bit crazy’, before explaining that many of their polishes have names inspired by hip hop, such as Bootylicious and Candy Shop.
‘Thick as a N***a’, says Wycon, is inspired by a DBangz song called ‘Thick N****s and Anime Tiddies’. It’s interesting to note that the brand altered the reference, adding ‘as a’ – which raises questions about what the name is intended to suggest. Is Wycon suggesting that their polish is thick in terms of describing a person’s body as ‘thicc’? And why have they chosen to use racially charged language to get any messaging across? It’s worth pointing out, too, that despite the references to hip hop culture and race, a scroll through Wycon’s Instagram and website suggests it’s entirely failing to cater to people of colour in other ways.
Wycon’s darkest shade of foundation is ‘Bronze’, a light brown, and on their Instagram there are few faces that aren’t white. To feel entitled to take wording from hip hop culture and appropriate the N word without next to zero evidence to suggest the brand values customers with darker skin tones feels especially jarring. A screengrab of Wycon’s Instagram.
Wycon has not issued an official apology, instead writing in their Instagram comments: ‘We’re sorry that this post has triggered these types of reactions: every colour from our Gel On collection is inspired, with a cheerful attitude and a pinch of naivety, by famous song titles, many of which derive from the landscape of hip hop.
‘For example “Drop it like it’s hot” by Snoop Dogg, “Bootilicious” (sic) by Beyoncé (sic), “Candy Shop” by 50 Cent, Lollipop, Lady Marmalade etc… MORE: BEAUTY OK, enough with making fun of women’s big feet Everything you need to know about earlobe fillers MAC Cosmetic’s brushes are now cruelty-free ‘The reference here is “Thick N***a” by DBangz.
Wycon is the brand for everybody #nobodyexcluded is our motto and we didn’t mean to offend anybody!’ You’ll note that there’s no apology for selecting this name. Wycon has, however, removed all of their shade names for their Gel On polishes from their website, instead simply showing colour numbers. (Picture: Wycon) We’ve reached out to Wycon to see if they have any further comment on the choice of shade name, and the lack of diversity in their products and advertising, and will update this article if we hear back.