The popular Natural Haircare brand, SheaMoisture, stepped into it big time when they released this short video ad on Monday:
As a collective, Black women were pissed, citing that the ad targeted white women, while neglecting the kinky-textured black women that put the brand on the map in the first place.
Folks felt Sheamoisture got “put on” with the Black dollar, and now that they’ve gotten their coins they are moving on to the white dollar. Tres tres Hollywood, as they say in France. Okay, they don’t but y’all get the idea. In fact, Kanye said it best:
“And when he get on he’ll leave your ass for a white girl.”
But all is not lost. As I told you on Monday, I wasn’t joining the boycott. We are sometimes too quick with the pitchforks, and I for one, want to see the brand succeed and continue to do good work in our community.
Sundial Brands co-founder and CEO Richelieu Dennis, feels the same way. He sat down with Fast Company to share his perspective and how he hopes the brand can move forward from this public relations nightmare:
“We need to make sure we spend the time engaging with that community, encouraging them, and letting them know that just because we’re growing doesn’t mean they’re less important. in fact, they become more important because they’re the ones who have always advocated for us.”
As for the ad, which discussed “hair hate” but neglected to include the hair textures that receive the most hair hate in the world, Dennis recognized the faux pas:
“To equate their struggles with hair to those of other women, is in their minds trivializing their struggles, and we can’t forget that…The people who are unhappy here aren’t necessarily saying they don’t like white women. What they are saying is, for decades they’ve been underserved and white women have plenty of products on the shelves and advertising aimed at them, and that we should keep our focus on our audience, and not lose that focus just because we’re broadening our audience.”
Here’s what Dennis says they should have done instead:
What we should’ve done is maybe a mini-documentary to tell the whole story, then take snippets from that for social posts,” says Richelieu. “We could’ve said, let’s do many more hair textures instead of just two or three. There are definitely lessons here and we’re not perfect, we’re not always going to get it right. But what we are always going to do is learn from it.”
He’s hopeful, however, that this experience, will only better the company:
“I think this is the beginning of a wonderful opportunity for us to engage with women around these issues, and we’ll take some punches for it, but in the end I think it’s well worth it to have the conversation..No one paid attention to these issues until a brand like ours comes along, and rightfully so it should be a platform for them to get their message out and they’re doing that. It just hurts today.”
Here’s a video they released last month, before Monday’s fuck up: