SheaMoisture, a black-owned personal care business, has caused an uproar on social media after rolling out ads marketed towards white women.
For over 25 years, black women with natural hair have loyally purchased SheaMoisture’s shampoo, conditioner and body wash. So it came as no surprise when some of these same women accused them of whitewashing.
SheaMoisture sent out the following apology on all of their social media platforms:
“Wow, okay – so guys, listen, we really f-ed this one up. Please know that our intention was not – and would never be – to disrespect our community, and as such, we are pulling this piece immediately because it does not represent what we intended to communicate. You guys know that we have always stood for inclusion in beauty and have always fought for our community and given them credit for not just building our business but for shifting the beauty landscape. So, the feedback we are seeing here brings to light a very important point. While this campaign included several different videos showing different ethnicities and hair types to demonstrate the breadth and depth of each individual’s hair journey, we must absolutely ensure moving forward that our community is well-represented in each one so that the women who have led this movement never feel that their hair journey is minimized in any way. We are keenly aware of the journey that WOC face – and our work will continue to serve as the inspiration for work like the Perception Institute’s Good Hair Study/Implicit Association Test that suggests that a majority of people, regardless of race and gender, hold some bias towards women of color based on their textured or natural hair. So, you’re right. We are different – and we should know better.
Thank you all, as always, for the honest and candid feedback. We hear you. We’re listening. We appreciate you. We count on you. And we’re always here for you. Thank you, #SheaFam, for being there for us, even when we make mistakes. Here’s to growing and building together…”
The apology only made things worse because tweeters began to tweet about SheaMoisture changing the formula for their products that specialized in black natural hair. Check out some of the tweets…
This isn’t the first time SheaMoisture has attempted to crossover and received backlash. In 2015, they tweeted a picture of a white baby along with their logo.
In response to the backlash, SheaMoisture issued the following statement:
“We came across an image of a little girl with a puzzled expression that we imagine our #SheaFamily has when they run out of product, so we shared it with you. No ad. No agenda. As a certified minority-owned business, we are so proud of our heritage, our community and how far we’ve come — from a village market in Sierra Leone, to the streets of Harlem, to retailers throughout the U.S. With your support, we’ve been able to bring change, diversity and variety to retail. We hope you continue to join us in celebrating how the versatility of our products can help people everywhere.”
If it wasn’t an ad and they didn’t have an agenda, why include their logo? Hmmm……
SheaMoisture went on to release a commercial in 2016 during BET’s annual “Black Girls Rock!” award show bringing attention to the segregation of beauty products with the hashtag #BreakTheWalls.
Unlike the picture of the white baby and SheaMoisture’s latest ad campaign, this particular commercial was well received because it actually resonated with their main consumers… black women.