Disclaimer: FYI, when I do “think pieces” I always throw in my latest fashion content, and the links to some of the items are affiliate links. The photos in this post were taken by Boston-based photographer, VLkaiser of www.vlkaiserphotography.com
First of all, I want to thank you for actually reading this post and not writing me off as a coon or a sell-out. Much appreciated. Now, back to the matter at hand.
If you’re here, it’s likely because you are already familiar with the PR disaster that was this ad, released by SheaMoisture, earlier this week:
This video was a fucking mess. No way of getting around it. To the folks who don’t understand why this video has sparked such controversy or why the brand is seemingly being targeted for wanting to reach white women, the answer is simple: SheaMoisture was built off the backs of black women’s support, therefore we should not be forgotten as the brand moves forward.
So I get it. And I completely support those who intend to boycott, which is why I published THIS LIST of 65 black-owned brands you can support instead. I also think a lot of people are boycotting because this ad appears to be a symbol of what’s to come. Folks don’t want to pour money into a brand that appears to already be making strides to “other” themselves, and I think folks are scared. They don’t want to continue to support a brand that they feel will become another Carol’s Daughter. I get that, too. We’ve seen black brands, bought out by white folks, and to see what looks like the beginnings of that very thing happening to a brand we love like no other, is hurtful. I get it.
But real talk? Sheamoisture has been heading in this direction of inclusion for some time. Their Break The Walls campaign last year told us so. And real talk? Having SheaMoisture next to the Garnier Fructis‘ and the Doves does nothing for me. I don’t mind the ethnic hair section. I feel right at home next to the Dark & Lovelys, Pink Lotions, and the Creme of Natures. So clearly the effort to move their products into the general haircare isle was to increase their visibility and get more white folks to start buying their products. Which is fine, but don’t position it as though black women are clamoring to be included in general haircare, cuz I don’t think we care. The Break The Walls campaign wasn’t and isn’t for us, and neither was this video snippet.
Still, I’m just not ready to throw in the towel on SheaMoisture and here’s why:
SheaMoisture’s CEO sat down this morning with the Breakfast Club to further address the social media blacklash and he cleared some things up. You can watch the interview HERE.
- The ad we are all mad about, wasn’t actually an ad at all. It was one part of a series of interviews created with 28 women. Of the 28 women, only two of them were white.
- The CEO admits that that snippet shouldn’t have been put together to only feature a racially ambiguous woman, and two white women, knowing that those hair types are not subject to the same hair hate as SheaMoisture’s core. He owns it. Has owned it. Continues to own. They fucked up.
- SheaMoisture has been around for 25 years, it is still black-owned, and Black folks still run the show. The women that you see featured in the picture that has been floating around social media are not a part of the department that was in charge of releasing that social media snippet. The women in the picture work for SheaMoisture and they are white. This is true. The racial climate is tense and black folks are becoming increasingly tired of White invasion. This is true, too, and I get it, but these ladies didn’t have anything to do with the video in question:
- Richellou noted that the head of Marketing is a black woman, so I googled SheaMoisture Marketing and found this name. While she doesn’t have a picture, I’m fairly confident that she is black. I don’t know any white Ashas. Do you?
- SheMoisture CEO owns that that while they approved the large video which included all 28 women, they didn’t approve the small segment that was released on social media. It slipped through the cracks. It was a mistake.
- SheaMoisture does a lot to give back to our community, and I simply have not been able to find another beauty brand that does this degree of community service and giving back to black women. Between scholarships and grants for education and entrepreneurship, to the work in Africa, Not one. Read about these initiatives HERE.
- I do not subscribe to mob mentality.
- I do not believe this single offense is enough to undo all of the work the brand has done to elevate the natural hair movement, and shit, let’s be real, help boost the confidence and self-esteem of black women all over. Prior to SheaMoisture, the only other three brands I could find that created products for natural hair were Miss Jessies, Curlz, and Kinky Curly. Several of these brands sold products that were almost triple the cost of SheaMoisture, and they didn’t really do it for my hair. The expense was enough to keep me rocking my weaves right up until two years ago. When I started wearing my natural texture more freely, guess which brand allowed me to do so happily, and frizz-free? SheaMoisture that’s who. And that has to count for something.
- If we are successful in this boycott, what’s going to happen? What will happen to the women in Africa being supported by the brand? Where will the countless black employees hired by the brand go? No doubt, right over to a white-owned brand, helping that brand to grow and flourish and take money away from our community.
- SheaMoisture is more than a name. There are people and their livelihoods that will be directly impacted this boycott. Our own people. The video is bad. It shouldn’t have ben released the way it was released. But is it bad enough that we are willing to actively endorse the undoing of a brand that has spent the last 25 years uplifting, supporting, and giving so much back to our own communities?
So SheaMoisture isn’t cancelled for me. At least not yet. I’m willing to give them another shot, and I hope you will, too.