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:
Black women built SheaMoisture. And not the “I was teased for having good hair” Black women. Black women will take it right on down too.
— Kimberly N. Foster (@KimberlyNFoster) April 24, 2017
Shea Moisture centered white women in a black woman space and that is so hurtful. Yall not getting my coins. Them white women can have yall
— busan babe™ (@melaninbarbie) April 24, 2017
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!