A message from Paul Mitchell Systems for #BLM

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We have long equated Jean Paul Dejoria (known as JP) and his brand, Paul Mitchell Systems, with good ethics. The brand was founded on cruelty-free formulations and JP, with his former partner Paul Mitchell, spearheaded the making of a company that shouts out for those underprivileged through birth or lifestyle. Now they are first out of the blocks with a message about what action the company is taking to address potential shortcomings when it comes to dealing with systemic racism. Bravo. 

This is their message:

We have spent the last week writing and rewriting a statement, attempting to find the words to make sure we said what we are trying to say in the most sensitive and yet impactful way we can. We were trying to get it right.

But the fact is, there are no right words you can put around how Black lives don’t have the same equity as white lives. There’s no right way to say that George Floyd was murdered by a racist police officer. We know that white privilege is very real. We know that being comfortable, and only saying things that are comfortable, is part of the problem.

So, while we want to be sensitive, while we want the world to know the thought and care that went in to creating the message that was supposed to go out —what really matters are the facts.

The facts are:

BLACK LIVES MATTER.
Period. They not only matter, they are essential, beautiful and brilliant.

WE DON’T DO ENOUGH.
Simply said, it is clear to us that we don’t. It isn’t enough to have intention, we need firm action.

WE WILL ALWAYS LEARN AS WE GO.
We aren’t here to “get it right.” We want to serve our world, and the Black population, better. We want to know when we get it wrong.

JP

WE ARE TAKING ACTION.
There is much work to be done, and elevating our Black community is officially a top priority for all the years to come. In the meantime, here are some things going into action NOW:

  • We are forming an internal committee that will represent many diverse backgrounds in our company.
    We want to know—not THINK we know— that they are being represented and their voices are being heard.
    Ads, education, employment: there is no area of our world that this sweeping addition won’t affect.
  • We have supported organizations since the beginning that serve marginalized communities. But providing aid,
    though important, isn’t going to change the cycle! We are currently vetting organizations to support that help
    give this community the opportunities they deserve.
  • Internally, we are putting together different ways to provide opportunity for Black artists and future executives.
    We need more Black voices on every level of our business, including executive. You will hear more on this as it
    unfolds, but it is being worked on around the clock and is of huge importance.

    Angus Mitchell

  • Our education program is being reexamined to create less divide, and to include all hair types as
    standard learning, not specialized.

JP & MICHAELINE DEJORIA

The fact is that some people will find this letter too harsh, some too vague. But to be the change we want to see, we are speaking to you as honestly and openly as we can in hopes that it will encourage others to do the same. Take the time to educate yourself, and speak. It doesn’t have to sound pretty, it doesn’t have to check all the boxes, and it’s okay to say that you don’t know. That is the only way to break this barrier down and start re-building, hand in hand. Just speak, and voice by voice, we can all shape our world into the one we want to leave behind. This isn’t the time to have our “company” speak—it’s a time for all of us to.

We stand with you in solidarity and with love,

JOHN PAUL DEJORIA, ANGUS MITCHELL, MICHAELINE DEJORIA

UPDATE
We have decided to focus on three areas of action: Educate, Donate and Elevate.
EDUCATE
During the past weeks, we’ve conducted candid sessions with Black employees, salon owners, educators, school owners and leaders. Based on these conversations, we have identified some areas where we can continue to improve and educate within our organization.

  • Educate ourselves and our salon community about Black history, to help us understand our past and collectively create our future. We will begin by hosting an informational webinar to celebrate the history of Juneteenth.
  • Update JPMS CORE curriculum with unconscious bias training.
  • Expand diversity within our educator team and add more Black representation.
  • Reach Black salons through relevant digital and live shows, events and programs.
  • In alignment and collaboration with Paul Mitchell Schools, we will review and modify all curriculum by expanding textured hair content, training and education to address the varying types of Black hair textures, as well as all ethnicities.
DONATE
As part of our immediate action, we are donating product and support to JPMS salons and additional out of network Black-owned hair salons and barbershops that were affected by the protests.
For our long-term commitment, we are exploring some ways we can offer ongoing support:

  • In addition to our contributions over the years to many organizations that help marginalized communities, we are making a donation to Equal Justice Initiative, in support of their urgent mission to challenge racial and economic injustice.
  • Expanding opportunities for school scholarships and grant initiatives for Black Future Professionals.
  • Creating salon business development programs to support growth and opportunity for the Black salon community.
  • Creating opportunities to effect positive change in our communities through volunteering.
ELEVATE
We have created an Equity & Opportunity Council. We feel this is an important step in our ongoing focus on diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our company. The Council includes all of our Black Paul Mitchell School owners, many of their adult children (representing our next generation of leaders), several Black Advanced Education Team members, and all of the top corporate leadership for PMAE and JPMS—about 30 leaders in all.
We were very deliberate in choosing the name. Here’s what it represents:

  • “Equity” is the systemic change outcome we are seeking
  • “Opportunity” is the catalyst for achieving equitable outcomes
  • “Council” lending permanence and intention
The Council will focus on many areas of engagement throughout the company, including:

  • Culture / Mission / Vision (Internal Alignment)
  • Education Reimagined 
    • Diversity training
    • Technical education / School curriculum
  • Economic Empowerment 
    • Partnerships with and support for Black businesses / entrepreneurs
  • Community Engagement 
    • Research and select organizations that align with our vision and mission
  • Marketing / PR & Events 
    • Marketing / Imagery / Social media
    • PR / Corporate communications plan
    • JPMS event marketing
We will also be adding sub-committees to the Council, to gain the perspective of the many diverse voices within our company.
DIGITAL & SOCIAL MEDIA
We will continue to communicate our solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement as well as our action plan onpaulmitchell.com/social-justice, a dedicated page that will include education resources and a donation center. On our social channels, we will use our platform to amplify Black voices. Our goal is to:

  • Remain actively listening
  • Provide complete transparency
  • Support the movement and promote inclusivity through our channels
  • Remain accountable for our actions and messages
  • Provide an ongoing platform for Black creators and artists to have their voices heard
  • Resume a thoughtful education and content calendar, featuring a blend of our artists, celebrating hairdressers around the world
These steps are just the beginning of our ongoing commitment. Thank you for your questions, comments and support. We are listening, learning and ready for the next evolution. Let’s do it together! 

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