So many companies have recently fallen into the PR pit of hell for marginalizing the experience of blacks! Shea Moisture is the latest! I am a fan of the brand, but natural girls all over the world took the internet by storm on Monday when a new commercial was unveiled that basically gentrifies the hair struggle. Watch the clip below:
I completely understand a brand being ready and needing to transition itself to a broader audience, however this was a terrible way to introduce it. Why are WOC so mad many ask? Well, Shea Moisture was established on the fact that it was a natural product intended to ensure WOC could have products specifically designed to care for their hair; seeing that we have different textures we have different hair needs.
The commercial’s biggest failure was insinuating that WOC & White women face the same hair struggles! #EPICFAIL WE DO NOT!
Different textures = different hair needs = different products
The struggle of having to tame natural hair to look “presentable” VS. the struggle of having to chose red or blond hair essentially minimizes the natural hair journey WOC face on a daily basis. You can not capitalize on the spending power of WOC, yet fail to properly represent their journey & struggle in an effective and appropriate manner.
In an apology statement Shea Moisture themselves acknowledged that the “Majority of people, regardless of race and gender, hold some bias towards women of color based on their textured or natural hair – and we should know better.” (see entire apology below)
They are right, they should! With that knowledge alone, and access to a plethora of market research this video should’ve been viewed by consumers first and rated. That way the company would’ve been made aware that there was an issue before it became a public witch hunt of the brand.
The biggest issue I see is the amount of diversity at the corporate level. At least one woman of color had to raise or see an issue here. Inclusion was the point, however it should not marginalize the experience of one to include all.
Shea Moisture, now that you’ve been called out and the whistle is blown, go back to the drawing board. Provide some diversity training, and create a new line of products because ya’ll know we are not using the same products!
You tried it though!
Company’s apology posted on Facebook:
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…