On April 21, SheaMositure launched an ad captioned “ Break free from hair HATE.”
When shared on the brand’s Facebook page, the advertisement featuring a diverse group of women received 467,000 views within five days. However, the company is now being criticized for turning its back on black women.
For years, SheaMoisture has been the go-to brand for tens of thousands of black women with natural hair. Its ads even have mostly featured women from the African-American community. But of late, the company has been producing commercials featuring non-black women, making many black women feel like the brand, to which they’ve been giving their dollars for years, is now trying to change its customer base to white women.
Many people took to Twitter to express their dislike for the new ad and call out the brand for turning its back on the very same people that brought it to where it is today. They even kicked off a #BoycottSheaMoisture hashtag.
I get #SheaMoisture wanting to diversify the product line. But fam, if a core, high-spending demographic made you, develop an adjacent line.— You're Welcome (@meredithclark) April 24, 2017
When I get home all of my #sheamoisture products are going in the trash. Y'all are gonna learn the value of the black womans dollar today— Shiann (@shimizzle) April 24, 2017
#boycottsheamoisture BOYCOTT! Tired of these freaking companies taking Black people for granted!— bluesunshine (@bluesunshine6) April 25, 2017
Upon receiving the backlash, SheaMoisture soon issued an apology statement, in attempts to clarify its stance and calm enraged customers.
“We don’t take any of our community for granted and are a certified minority, black-owned, family-held business that has taken pride in serving our community for 25 years — when large conglomerates ignored women of color and simply marketed products to them vs. making products for them. We were there then — serving women who had historically been undeserved in the beauty industry — and that will never change (did we mention that we’re still in control of our company?)” part of the statement read.
“As for the 'rebranding' claim, there’s not much to say there other than it’s inaccurate. We’re proud of who we are, how we got here — and most importantly, who got us here. For a long time, we said that the only place in America where segregation was still legal was the beauty aisle. So we waited 16 years to bring our products to retail because we refused to operate within a system where our community was not served well with choice, access or inclusion. Let’s be clear. Separate but equal has never worked in any arena, including beauty. So, we were proud with 'Break the Walls' to tell the stories of so many women who ever experienced being underserved by the beauty industry — and we will continue to tell those stories,” it went on.
The company got even more blunt on Facebook, declaring, "We really f-d this one up" and vowing to pull the ads.
Despite the statement, social media users and black SheaMoisture loyal customers don’t seem to buy the story, as tweets full of hate and promises to boycott the brand continue to come in.
You can read the full statement here.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Creative Commons, Alanthebox