Shea Moisture is a black owned beauty company that sells products for hair, skin, and body. When they came out a few years ago black women were ecstatic. Finally a brand that had a vast array of options, and products that worked for 3a hair all the way to 4c. Despite their rather high prices black women jumped on the wagon and pulled the company all the way to the top. Black women basically built the company. Shea Moisture seemed to be a company that we could pick up and settle down it. For years they advertised about the discrimination that black women faced when buying products for their hair. They claimed that they wanted to break the barriers. For us, by us right?
Earlier this week Shea Moisture decided to drop an ad. The ad featured 3 women, a mixed race black girl, a blonde, and a redhead. The ad started off with each women talking about the “hair hate” that they “experienced”, they spoke about the insecurities they had about their hair until *GASP* they discovered Shea Moisture. According to each woman, Shea Moisture allowed them to love their natural locks. The ad then ended with each women yelling that “Everybody gets love.”
My Reaction: 10 seconds into the ad and I was nothing short of confused. Why are there white women in this? I kept asking myself. I waited and hoped that somewhere, someplace they were hiding a dark-skin black woman with tight 4c curls to save their disaster of an ad, but she never came. By the end of the ad I was a combination of confused, angry, and betrayed. What kind of all lives matter bullshit was Shea Moisture trying to pull here? After watching the ad I was curious about the reaction of other people, in my heart I knew that my reaction was valid, but I still didn’t want to be the only one. I logged into Twitter and the issue was already trending, turns out I was one of MANY black women angered by the ad.
Black women and men all over the USA decided that they wouldn’t put up with this. Just like they brought Shea Moisture up, they damn sure could bring it down. A call for a boycott of the products quickly became circulating on social media as women looked to find alternatives for their hair.
Soon after seeing the reactions to their ad, Shea Moisture released a apology on Facebook. But the damage had already been done, and nobody really cared about what they had to say.
What Shea Moisture did was wrong. Rather than feature the women that helped bring their company to the level that they are on, they decided to white-wash their brand to reach a new, more important audience, white women. The whole mission of the company when they first started was to make products that would work for all ranges of WOC hair. They claimed to recognize that there was a problem with companies like Pantene and Garnier, that only made products that worked on loose hair. This was supposed to be our thing. It’s hard enough that black women have to struggle to find mainstream products that will work on their hair. We don’t even get a full aisle in stores, we’ve been cast away to the “multicultural aisle”. But now one of our own has done the same to thing us. Since they achieved some sort of success Shea Moisture decided to dump their target audience, change the formula so it will fit the hair of non- black women and refuse to include us in their ad.
I don’t know about you, but I’m on the lookout for other WOC friendly hair brands.