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Tracee Ellis Ross on Diversity and Products With Purpose at the 2021 Beauty Inc Awards

Ross joined a slew of industry executives at the 2021 Beauty Inc Awards breakfast on Dec. 9.

For the first in-person Beauty Inc Awards in two years, brand founders and industry executives showed up in their morning glory.

The ceremony, with its famously early 7 a.m. start time, took place on Thursday at The Rainbow Room in Manhattan. It was the first in-person awards event since 2019, given 2020’s virtual iteration.

Attendees included Tracee Ellis Ross; Jonathan Van Ness; William P. Lauder, executive chairman, the Estée Lauder Cos.; Andrew Stanleick, executive vice president, North America, Coty Inc.; Artemis Patrick, global chief merchandising officer, Sephora; Doug Howe, chief merchandising officer, Kohls; Angela Guy, chief diversity and inclusion officer, L’Oréal USA; Nyakio Grieco, cofounder and co-chief executive officer, Thirteen Lune, and many more.

Ross, who took home the award of Changemaker of the Year, described the motivating factors behind her decisions.

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“Pattern was born out of the desire to make change, and I created Pattern to meet the unmet needs of the curly, the coily and the tight-textured community to celebrate Black hair and change the way that people of color are marketing to,” she said.

The founder’s responsibilities have since extended beyond helming her own business to its first retail partner, as well. Earlier this year, Ross was also named a diversity and inclusion adviser for Ulta Beauty, which said it would double the number of Black-owned brands it sells in 2021.

“I think a vital part of being a changemaker is merging a business strategy with a love of humanity. Pattern is a vehicle that carries my larger mission of creating fundamental change that allows safety, equity and freedom for everyone, with a particular emphasis on supporting and uplifting Black women and girls,” she said.

Part of her purpose, though, was to set the record straight.

“I will continue to call out blind spots, push for the products on retail shelves, employees on retail floors, middle managers and executive leadership to reflect the beautiful tapestry of the world that we live in. I intend to dispel the myth that Black hair care is a niche market. ‘Niche’ does not account for the $1.2 trillion purchasing power of the Black consumer,” Ross said.

“So, I accept this award on behalf of the change makers, particularly those who never get named, the disruptors who are reframing assumptions, and changing the data and the view of the beauty industry,” she continued.

Click here for a full list of awards recipients.

For more from, see:

Tracee Ellis Ross, Misty Copeland and Megan Rapinoe to Speak at Forbes Power Women Summit

The 2021 Beauty Inc Power Brands

How Jonathan Van Ness Centers Inclusivity, Sustainability With JVN Hair