Pharmacy chain “Clicks” headquartered in Cape Town South Africa has found itself in some hot water after an advertisement commissioned by TRESemme hair company is slammed as “racist”.
The ad has sparked demonstrations and calls for the pharmacy chain of stores to close down.
Read below via Aljazeera:
Protesters have gathered outside several pharmacy chain stores in South Africa in reaction to a shampoo advertisement slammed by the critics as “racist”.
The advertisement, commissioned by the TRESemme hair company and carried on the Clicks pharmacies’ website, compared two photos of Black women’s hair with two photos of white women’s hair, labeling the natural hair “dry and damaged” and “frizzy and dull”, while the white women’s hair was “fine and flat” and “normal”.
The opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party on Monday called for demonstrations over the issue and rallied people to protest outside the company’s outlets.
“We will not permit the unrepentant and perverse racism of Clicks to go on in South Africa. #clicksmustfall,” the EFF posted on Twitter.
CIC @Julius_S_Malema at Cycad Clicks shutting it down.
— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) September 7, 2020
Local website TimesLive reported that at least one store had been petrol-bombed early in the morning, causing minor damage.
Videos on the EFF’s social media pages and in local media showed small groups of protesters – clad in the party’s red berets – dancing and singing protest songs in several malls.
Many on social media also expressed their outrage over the advertisement, with Black women posting photos of their hair with hashtags #RacismMustFall and #BlackHairIsNormal.
“Not only is this disrespectful to black lives, it is also evidence of an absence of representation and diversity within the organisation,” tweeted Zozibini Tunzi, who wears short natural hair and was crowned Miss Universe in December.
“And we are talking about a South Africa with a population of about 80 percent black people… No ways.”
Not only is this disrespectful to black lives, it is also evidence of an absence of representation and diversity within the organization. And we are talking about a South Africa with a population of about 80% black people (stand to be corrected). No ways? @Clicks_SA https://t.co/HWtfH40HCY
— Zozibini Tunzi (@zozitunzi) September 4, 2020
South Africa Clicks Apology
As anger over the advertisement grew, Clicks Pharmacy, one of the two largest retailers in the country with more than 500 stores, issued “an unequivocal apology” and pulled down the images.
“We are strong advocates of natural hair and are deeply sorry we have offended our natural hair community,” it said in a statement on its Twitter account on Friday.
“We have made a mistake and sincerely apologize for letting you down.”
They also apologized directly to commentors who have expressed disappointment with the following message:
Hi we are deeply sorry we have offended our natural hair community. We have removed the images, which go against everything we believe in at Clicks.
We do not condone racism and are strong advocates of natural hair. We will put in place stricter measures on our website.
Unilever SA, TRESemme’s parent company, published an apology on its website that read: “We are very sorry that images used in a TRESemme South Africa marketing campaign on the Clicks website promote racist stereotypes about hair.
“The campaign set out to celebrate the beauty of all hair types and the range of solutions that TRESemmé offers, but we got it wrong.”
Hair is a sensitive issue in many parts of Africa.
South African students have had to campaign in the past to be allowed to wear natural hairstyles – like dreadlocks, afros, and cornrows – at school.
Who in the world approved that ad? It’s 2020 we aren’t tolerating any foolishness.
Comment your thoughts below!