Shea Moisture Showdown

Shea Moisture, previously of natural hair care fame, has come under fire and drawn the ire of the black community writ large, due to a recent commercial that supposedly promotes “hair love” and diversity.

The commercial itself can be viewed here. If you’re opting to skip the commercial, it can be summed up as the following: one black woman and four white women discuss how they were never able to appreciate their natural hair before Shea Moisture came along, and now the white woman who’s always dyed her hair blonde can embrace her natural red, just like the black woman who doesn’t have to worry about people throwing paper balls in her hair anymore.

It’s not so much that Shea Moisture is advertising to white people. It’s that this commercial is advertising almost entirely to white people, and trivializing the experience of black people who have been harassed for their kinky, curly textures. Shea Moisture, feeling the clapback from literally every black person ever, sent CEO Rich Dennis in to interview at The Breakfast Club to do some damage control, which can be viewed here. According to Dennis, the commercial was part of a larger campaign, “Everyone Gets Love.” Which, yes, is laudable. But white women who don’t like their hair color are not the same as black women who don’t get jobs sometimes because their hair is the wrong texture, or their office doesn’t think they look professional. This is a thing, and as is pointed out in the above interview, they are very, very different struggles. He claims that they weren’t looking to necessarily bring up the struggle of black women, and that the entire thing got dropped out of context. Which I can see, possibly. I understand that now, more than ever, it is important to focus more on what unites us than what differentiates us. But come on, Shea Moisture. That was tone deaf af. How could you not know everyone was going to react like this? Shea Moisture is a black owned company, that primarily sells products to black women. You go filming a commercial with one black woman and a bunch of white women, with some black people stuck on the end like a clear afterthought, and yes, people are going to get pissed. It’s a shame that the rest of the campaign is probably not going to be released, but if the rest of the advertising was going to be as tone-deaf as this, then maybe it’s for the best.

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