Black Women Are Expressing Outrage About The New Shea Moisture Ad

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Watch the new Shea Moisture Ad:

Sigh! I was honestly disappointed with the ad because I watched Richelieu Dennis the CEO of Sundial Brands on Facebook live just a week ago reaffirm his commitment to the roots of Shea Moisture and black women in particular. So color me surprised at this latest ad that did not include one woman with afro textured hair.

Like most of you I was there when Shea Moisture gained momentum on the backs of black women on youtube and social media and I continued to support the brand even when they decided to sell a portion of the company to Bain Captial.

Now don’t get me wrong I get it, at the end of the day in order for a small business to grow there are certain decisions that have to be made that might involve an investor in your business or reaching other markets.

The question is can you grow and at the same time stay true to your core customer? If Shea Moisture wanted to capture other demographics including white women would that now mean that they would be represented in their language, in their formulas, and in their media content?

Here is what twitter had to say about the ad:

After the outrage, Shea Moisture released a pretty candid statement on their facebook page:

Wow, okay – so guys, listen, we really f-ed this one up. Please know that our intention was not – and would never be – to disrespect our community, and as such, we are pulling this piece immediately because it does not represent what we intended to communicate.

You guys know that we have always stood for inclusion in beauty and have always fought for our community and given them credit for not just building our business but for shifting the beauty landscape. So, the feedback we are seeing here brings to light a very important point. While this campaign included several different videos showing different ethnicities and hair types to demonstrate the breadth and depth of each individual’s hair journey, we must absolutely ensure moving forward that our community is well-represented in each one so that the women who have led this movement never feel that their hair journey is minimized in any way.

We are keenly aware of the journey that WOC face – and our work will continue to serve as the inspiration for work like the Perception Institute’s Good Hair Study/Implicit Association Test that suggests that a majority of people, regardless of race and gender, hold some bias towards women of color based on their textured or natural hair. So, you’re right. We are different – and we should know better.
Thank you all, as always, for the honest and candid feedback. We hear you. We’re listening. We appreciate you. We count on you. And we’re always here for you. Thank you, #SheaFam, for being there for us, even when we make mistakes. Here’s to growing and building together…

Even with the apology, black women were not satisfied and on facebook, they told Shea Moisture just that:

Wow, at least your apology and commerical are consistent in their lack of mention or sight of black women. Maybe your PR department and your marketing team need some of the “erasure” you seem insistent on perpetrating on your core customers? BLACK WOMEN

Then there was this one:

GTFOH…don’t try to issue damage control now! And to try to swear when your trying to issue a public apology like your trying to go out of your way to show your “down with the blacks” is even more offensive

And this one:

This is calculated marketing. Not a careless mistake. Good luck pandering to an over-served demographic, saturated with copious brands to choose from. The under-served niche market that made you millions will take our money elsewhere.

Transparency in business is not easy because not every decision will be liked by every single customer but Shea Moisture needs to be a little bit more understanding of the demographic they claim to serve.

Black women already get erased in media even when the subject matter of the content was created and made popular by them so to see a commercial that erased black women with kinky hair was understandably hurtful.

If you are interested in what Richelieu Dennis of Shea moisture said on Hellobeautiful Live just a week ago, watch below.

How do you feel about this whole thing? Would representation of a black woman with kinky hair have been enough to avoid outrage? Comment below!

109 COMMENTS

    • But why? We should be applauding a Black company that’s poised to become a billion dollar global business. They’re just expanding and taking over the entire hair care market! I think that’s incredible. In a market that used to be dominated by white owned companies who made products with horrible by-product ingredients for black women, they have gained a foothold and are making incredible advances. And they are STILL giving back to the African communities that are their suppliers.

    • For me, it’s saddening because there isn’t much representation for my hair type (4C). What I loved about the brand is that I personally have my favorites that works well. Just like other products, if I don’t someone like me represented, I tend not to buy that brand. I do applaud the company for branching out however; they really missed the mark on how to do so with this commercial. I’m still using the products because my hair is more important than their miss on this marketing spot.

    • I’m with you Lashawnda… not many willing to rep thick course tight coils 4c hair… just like with everything else… marketing matters. Now is it worth boycotting for me. No. But for future naturalist who don’t identify with the marketing how will you know to try Shea??? You purchase what you identify and thinks will work. According to this marketing I would never try the product… because it doesn’t profile my hair type. Which is why they show another culture of women.

      Oh well… one day people will be real and know that what works for sally does not work for me or my … that’s just being real.

  1. I’m not mad at #sheamoisture for their new commercial. It’s just marketing, just like all of the other brands out there. They’re trying to appeal to a different demographic. I don’t feel that they have forgotten their roots or take it as a personal diss against Black women. Why shouldn’t they want to market to all ethnicities? No one said a peep when Pantene created a line for naturals. Why should we be mad that they are creating a market for other ethnicities? I still applaud them for what they have created and for making quality products that has allowed millions of natural women like myself to love and embrace our perfect hair.

  2. Blah I use what works for me. I’m not card carrying member ‍♀️‍♀️‍♀️. It would make more sense if only naturally curly haired women of different ethnicities were in the commercial.

  3. Yes they where wrong for not using women black women. But I think there trying to market to mixed women and white women. So they can get more profit. I don’t think black people should boycott them we need to keep supporting black business.

  4. The Shea Moisture company was founded on providing hair care products specifically for women of color.

    Selling a share of their company and diversifying is one thing.

    But to create an ad based on “HAIR HATE” and NOT include the largest demographic of women who receive hair hate and who are also denied opportunities because of their hair is a complete oxymoron.

    Further, since when have white women with blonde hair and blue eyes and white women with red hair receive backlash women of color do? Is that really a thing?

    The brand decided to diversify but didn’t include the very audience that made the brand a multimillion dollar success….

    Picture that!!!

  5. I don’t like half truths or misinformation. There are 2 commercials: one has Black women with varying hair types in it. Then there is this one. Both are a part of a marketing campaign. The company should have had one commercial not 2. That is their mistake. An apology with a vow to diversify their marketing department is a great first step. I don’t care where you go (unless to someone’s house), the companies in mass production are connected to non-minorities: in other words people who are not Black. If we suddenly want to boycott all who we helped build but “seems” to have dumped us, we would buy almost nothing. Finally, may we learn to research and get all facts before jumping on social media campaigns calling for boycotts. Many people had already pledged not to buy SM anymore, but a few seconds later wanted to know what happened. May we be critical thinkers. I am not mad at any company stepping out of the box, esp one owned by a Black man. They may have faltered in this campaign, but businesses exist to make money. Diversification is the best way. Coca Cola doesn’t make it by only selling to one race. May we be mindful of how businesses operate. Again, there are 2 VIDEOS.

  6. The commercial is literally about loving and embracing your natural hair and y’all are mad because they are becoming diverse. Don’t white pole have natural hair too. This kinda thinking is what keeps us as a community down……Hate

    • An ad about hair hate that doesn’t include women of color? From a company whose largest customer base is women of color? From a company that was built on the purchases of Black women? Nahhhh sis! It’s ok for a company to want to diversify their customer base, but why exclude the women of color from your ad? Who experience hair hate more than women with coarse, kinky, tightly coiled hair ? C’mon son

    • Yes she does seem to be a fair skinned black woman with loose curls….the type that people would say has “good hair”. I have a hard time believing that those were the people who got teased about their hair and struggled to get acceptance.

    • its a commercial about diversity but only has light shades in it.

      i get it but why make a commercual that excludes you prior target group, knowin that exclusion is a primary issue for them?

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