Exclusive: What JT’s Kiss Colors & Care Endorsement Deal Means For Black Women In Beauty Campaigns
Exclusive Interviews

Exclusive: What JT’s Kiss Colors & Care Endorsement Deal Means For Black Women In Beauty Campaigns

Like most of us, Jatavia Shakara Johnson, better known to the world as JT, grew up with KISS Colors as a household name. From press-on nails and lashes to professional hair straightening tools, KISS Products have proudly been part of every Black woman’s beauty must-haves in their bathrooms and bedrooms for years, and now the Miami native has become their latest brand ambassador while being one of half of the chart-topping femcee duo known as City Girls.

“I'm a big fan of KISS. I think we all are and we grew up [on it]. It was always in a beauty supply store or Walgreens. It was always a quick go-to. You always see it. It's always there for you. KISS, even now with your nails, it's just there for you. So when I heard about them doing partnerships and stuff, I was interested in doing it,” JT excitedly told xoNecole correspondent Sha Ravine during her official New York Fashion Week launch event.

Decked in Acne Studios while sporting a Hermes Kelly bag and fresh jumbo braids, the “Act Up” rapper revealed that the girls can expect “a whole lot of motherfucking laid edges” from this forthcoming collaboration, which was made possible thanks to the brilliant minds of Harp Media & Creatives.

“I just felt like she'd be a perfect fit. It was around the time that [she] and Yung Miami had started to venture off and do their own solo projects, and I just wanted to have the opportunity of trying to get JT her first major brand deal - and we did,” Whitney Harper, founder of Harp Media & Creatives, exclusively told xoNecole. The multifaceted Beauty and Style Creative Director’s style concierge and agency work has expanded across the entertainment industry from Glorilla and Yung Bleu to Coi Leray and her very own niece Saweetie, who also had her own KISS Colors & Care collaboration.

Whitney Harp.

Photo courtesy of Harp Media & Creatives.

But now, with a goal to level the playing field between Black and brown women and mainstream beauty and fashion campaigns, she is securing a top spot for the “Pussy Talk” raptress with a major beauty retailer while dismantling the notion that all representation in the beauty industry equates to diversity.

“JT being the face of Kiss Colors & Care is a big deal. It's bigger than any of us - it’s the beginning of so much more,” Abesi Manyando, owner of Abesi PR and public relations expert for Harp Media and Creatives, told xoNecole. In an effort to put more women who “look like us” at the forefront of endorsements and securing branding dollars, Harper and Manyando are passionate about the monetization of personal brands and social media leverage to translate representation into streamlined income for Black and brown women.

Manyando continued, “Oftentimes, Black women set beauty and fashion trends but get erased from profiting from that or being the face of major campaigns. Many times [marketing executives and brands] fulfill the diversity box by inserting what they call 'ambiguous' models who can appeal to all audiences. This is erasure. Whitney and I are trying to dismantle this in media, beauty, and marketing.”

And Whitney's partnership between JT and Kiss Colors & Care is one of the first steps. Included in the launch with JT’s ambassador debut are products such as the KISS Colors & Care Braiding Gel Maximum Hold and Braiding Gel ($8.99), KISS Colors & Care Locking Gel Regular Hold and Locking Wax ($8.99), KISS Colors & Care Twist Curl Gel ($8.99), KISS Colors & Care Foam Mousse ($7.99), Care Edge Fixer Wax Stick ($9.99), and the Reversible Premium Crepe Satin Bonnet ($8.49).

When asked what inspired JT to expand her portfolio outside of music and entertainment and into the chaotic world of fashion and beauty, she promptly responded, “I’m pretty.”

She followed with a light laugh and added to her initial answer. “No, I’m just joking. I want to be more into beauty because I'm obsessed with beauty. Like my make-up artist will tell you, my hair stylist will tell you, I'm very hands-on with them. God knows, they know I know how I want my make-up to look [and] I know exactly how I want my hair to look.”

Attesting to her passion for creativity and beauty, Harper chimed in on how hands-on her client was during the process from ideation to product placement. “JT is a very hands-on person. I don't care who you are; she's hands-on. She's a creative in her own right. She knows what she wants. She knows what looks good, and you really can't blame her.”

While JT’s undeniable stage presence and effortless beauty, as demonstrated through her viral Paris Fashion Week runway slay, would make her the obvious choice as the face of any beauty brand, there was something uniquely special about this partnership that embodied empowerment, self-expression, and trendsetting individuality in its entirety.

“Fighting with brands to give the talent what they want is extremely hard. But my company makes it happen,” Harper said about the deliverables and approvals that go into a brand endorsement deal. “KISS is a brand, JT is a brand, and for me, it's important that it is an equal amount of representation for each person. I don't mind because my main goal is to make sure all of my clients are happy.”

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Feature image courtesy of Harp Media & Creatives.

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