Photo courtesy of Ulta.com
For those of you that know… this happened in late April and I’m late to the party, but someone asked me to write about it so here I am. For those of you who don’t know… let me explain.
RECAP: On April 24, 2017, Shea Moisture released an advertisement as a part of their new “Everybody Gets Love” campaign. Shortly after it aired, Shea Moisture got dragged on social media for the exclusion of Black women in the ad. The majority of the outrage stemmed from the fact that the Shea Moisture brand has gained much of its success due to Black consumers. The idea that Shea Moisture was trying to “white wash” their brand outraged the masses. Black Twitter was flooded with memes concerning the issue, and it was a sad day in Shea Moistureville. They issued several apologies and immediately pulled the ad.
MY THOUGHTS: I don’t like to form an opinion about anything without having as much information as possible. Now that I’ve done my research, hear me out. While I’m not exonerating the lack of Black representation in the ad because I do believe a Black women should have been present for completeness, I thought of it from a slightly different perspective. I personally don’t believe that the inclusion of a group of people is the exclusion of another. I argue this point as a Black women all the time in defense of why Black people should be included. I think as Black people we experience so much exclusion from what I like to call the “gold standard” of beauty in society that it’s hard for us to imagine actually being that “gold standard.”
In this case, I believe that the intention of the ad was to say “Everyone Gets Love” by including women of other ethnicities with Black women being the “gold standard” which is why we weren’t included. However, I acknowledge that if this is the case, it was a misjudgment by Shea Moisture. When you add the historical context of how Black people have been systematically marginalized and underrepresented, a brand such as Shea Moisture, which is Black-owned, should understand this struggle and make it a priority to have Black people represented in all their ads.
Allegedly, this ad was the first of a series of ads, some of which featured Black women. This particular one did not. I honestly don’t think there would have been as much outrage if Shea Moisture hadn’t lead with this one, but that’s besides the point. In my opinion, ALL their ads should feature Black women because, as the brand claims, it was created with us in mind. While Black women are not the only women that suffer from hair hatred (the ads main message), ours stems from a completely different place historically. I personally didn’t mind the ad shining light on other women’s experiences, but the exclusion of Black women’s struggles is problematic for me.
SUMMARY: I have supported the Shea Moisture brand since day 1, and I will continue to buy their products. I love that they use quality ingredients and their products do wonders for my hair plus they’re cost effective . I’m not going to boycott a Black-owned business because of one mistake. It would be a different story if they had a history of making these mistakes. After hearing what Rich Dennis, the founder and CEO of Shea Moisture, had to say about the ad on the Breakfast Club, I genuinely believe it was a lapse in judgement. We are all human beings and we don’t always get it right. I think the public outrage was necessary to bring light to how they fell short, but instead of boycotting a brand that has made such an impact on our community, I will continue to support it knowing that my concerns were heard and addressed. We’ll see what the future holds for the Shea Moisture brand.
These are just my thoughts and opinions. Let me know what you think! To watch the ad, click here.