After a lot of thought, consideration, and a recent purchase of a large bottle of Jamaican Black Castor Oil shampoo, I’ve decided to cancel SheaMoisture. By cancel, I mean I will not be buying anymore of their products or endorsing the brand to friends, family, or my followers. Now, I don’t plan on wasting any of my money. By the time the few SheaMoisture products I do have run out, I’ll have found replacements and will make the time to kick it fully natural again when it comes to my hair and skincare.
Earlier this week the brand released a video featuring young white women sharing their hair struggles. That’s cute and all, but seriously? Take a look at SheaMoisture’s cover photo on Twitter and tell me where all those women were in this commercial. I’m a black man who grew up in a mixed black family. When it comes to hair struggle? I know it all too well.
One young lady mentioned how she just couldn’t do anything with her pin-straight hair and the other went on about how she had to bleach her hair – leaving her natural red color behind. Girls – this includes you SheaMoisture – get out of here with that nonsense!
I’m all for a brand branching out and including all ethnicities, but black women basically made SheaMoisture the natural, fair trade beast that they are in the industry. Why would you exclude the primary source of your coins and success from this commercial?
What made matters worse – because I was going to let this slide after their half-assed apology on Twitter – was thanking Tariq Nasheed. Tariq is an anti-racism strategist who got on the case of angry black SheaMoisture supporters for being upset about the flat and offbeat commercial.
“So yall don’t want 2 boycott businesses like:
*Asian nail shops that beat up BW
*Companies that support Trump
But Shea Moisture is the issue”
Excuse me, sir? Have you not been part of any post-election conversation since November 2016? We’ve got apps like Boycott Trump and a long list of known Trump supporting businesses and brands that we’re doing our best to avoid and guess what, the list of small, minority-owned businesses are just as long. Forgive us for taking our money and support to brands that support its community, and have marketing teams that are smart enough to find ways to include everyone without completely disregarding the customer base that gave you the most traffic and sales – the customers that put you in major stores like Target across the nation.
SheaMoisture responded to Tariq as follows:
“We can’t thank you enough for your loyalty and support. It’s wonderful people like you that keep us going strong, Tariq! ”
They could have left that response in the PR crisis meeting. Wow. So you’re going engage this ignorance? One could ask Tariq how he feels, after he’s had more time to think on it; about how his ancestors would feel about all of this.
I’m fully aware that white women can have just as much trouble with hair and texture as any other person from around the globe, but why cast these young ladies with the lines they had in this commercial? You’re complaining about having red hair – red hair is GORGEOUS in my opinion – and having to bleach your hair? Okay, for one, bleaching your hair isn’t the best for it, but sure, go ahead and sell those restorative products; I love rocking blonde hair. What happened to nurturing the hair you have and maintaining that hair with products like SheaMoisture?
All these ladies had to do was get a cut and color. Where was the kinky-haired white girl chopping it up with other young ladies that have actual hair struggles? The struggles you use to sell your products currently. These ladies weren’t sitting under searing hot combs or feeling the rage of a screaming scalp as your mother, aunts, or grandmother untangled tight coils from each other. You want to talk about hair struggle? Talk to all the females in my family who have gorgeous and extremely challenging hair. MY hair is extremely challenging, but I’m going to let the ladies have this one for obvious reasons.
So what good does canceling do? Well, it may not do much at first, but companies like SheaMoisture will get the picture when smaller companies, companies that started just like them, take their place at the top of the natural industry. On every bottle of SheaMoisture they share the story of how their grandmother gathered and sold shea butter and African black soap in Africa and transformed people’s spirits and changed her family’s life with her hustle. Where’s that commercial? Keep it simple, stupid. How’s that for some direction in your next marketing meeting, SheaM?
For some good discussion and reads on this topic, I recommend the following podcasts:
Gettin’ Grown, Episode “Shea Dry,” start about 14:10:00 into the show.
The Read, Episode “Plight of the Light,” start about 1:37:15 into the show.