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Sephora closes all stores for an hour for diversity training after singer SZA tweets about racial profiling

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"Biased": Expert on how bias affects us all 06:27

Sephora said it closed all of its stores for an hour on Wednesday so employees across the country could undergo diversity training. The move comes after singer SZA said she was profiled at a Sephora in Calabasas, California.

In April, SZA tweeted that while she was shopping at the cosmetics store, security was called on her to make sure she wasn't stealing. "We had a long talk," the singer wrote in her tweet. The next day, Sephora replied to SZA, who has 2.7 million Twitter followers.

"Hi, SZA. We're sorry to hear about your experience at our Calabasas store and appreciate you bringing this to our attention," the company tweeted. "We want to let you know we take complaints like this very seriously and are actively working with our teams to address the situation immediately."

About a month later, Sephora announced that all 16,000 of its employees would take part in workshops to help them understand its values, CBS Los Angeles reports.

On the morning of 6/5, every Sephora store, distribution center, and corporate office in the US will close to host inclusion workshops for our employees. These values have always been at the heart of Sephora, and we’re excited to welcome everyone when we reopen. Join us in our commitment to a more inclusive beauty community: We Belong to Something Beautiful.

Posted by SEPHORA on Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Other companies have responded to incidents of racial profiling similarly, with Starbucks closing their doors for a day in 2018 to train 175,000 employees about racial bias.

Ahead of Sephora's nationwide closure, another celebrity, Leslie Jones, tweeted about a disappointing experience that happened at a Sephora location in New York. 

"I sent my makeup artist @LolasBeautyMark and my best friends wife to @Sephora 2103 Broadway store. she needed makeup and to learn how to apply," Jones tweeted. "My makeup artist just called in tears of how bad they treated her and my friends wife!! The salesperson and manager. SO NO MORE SEPHORA." Jones' makeup artist, Lola Okanlawon, is black.

Sephora responded to Jones, saying they were sorry and had reached out to her privately on Instagram. In a statement, the company called the incident "concerning."

"The situation she describes does not reflect our values," the company said. "We have reached out to Lola to gather more information. It is our priority to build an inclusive community and a place where all clients feel respected. Our journey has not been perfect and is by no means complete. We will continue to learn and work toward this goal."

While Jones' tweet came about two weeks after Sephora announced its workshop for employees, it certainly added fuel to the fire on social media, with several people replying to Jones with stories of negative experiences at Sephora.

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