When it comes to media entertainment, I typically opt for binge-watching shows on streaming platforms; however, there’s one time a year when I’m glued to live TV: awards season. I start tuning in well before the official program begins to watch celebrities walk the red carpet, my guilty pleasure. Knowing what attire and which beauty products they wore to this special event is as important to me as learning who won. While in many cases the motivation behind choosing a particular dress or certain makeup is geared towards making the best, or most memorable, visual appearance, there are times when those choices have a broader, underlying meaning.

Tracy Chapman performed at this year’s Grammys, reprising her well known song “Fast Car” to leading status on the charts. Chapman won a CMA in November 2023 and became the first Black woman to win a Country Music Award. According to Shadara Holmes, the makeup artist behind Chapman’s glowing complexion at this year’s Grammy’s, she used only female Black-owned beauty brands in the spirit of Black History Month.

From a beauty sales perspective, Black-founded brands have outperformed the rest of the U.S. prestige beauty market throughout the month of February for the past two years. Looking at February 2023 growth compared to the month prior, Black-founded brands saw a stronger lift in every beauty category (makeup, skin care, fragrance, and hair). Overall, this brand segment increased at nearly twice the rate of the total prestige beauty market in February 2023, with dollar sales growing 19% versus January. Year-over-year growth is impressive, too: Black-founded brands outperformed their counterparts in February 2022, with 2023 increasing between one and a half and three times the rate.

The additional level of awareness and support these brands receive during Black History Month could be playing a part in their sales performance. Coupled with the actual sales data, Circana’s 2023 beauty consumer studies show that social values have become more important to makeup and skin care wearers when it comes to their beauty purchase decision-making.

Following the Grammys, Tracy Chapman’s 1988 song “Fast Car” claimed the number-one spot on iTunes in the U.S. The singer’s performance at the awards ceremony not only led viewers to talk about and download her music, but it was another outlet to celebrate Black History Month. Furthermore, her makeup choices played a role in this recognition of achievement, as well.