Lately there’s been this uproar in the natural hair community over Shea Moisture’s new online ad that in the short clip, seemed to only feature white women who claim to have “difficult hair” and have been “hair shamed” for whatever reason. The only woman of color in the ad was a young lady who looks to be of mixed race heritage with long curly hair. You can watch the video here:
Before I go on, if you’re unfamiliar with the brand Shea Moisture, it’s a brand that made natural hair products for African American hair. The CEO of Shea Moisture said the ad was an oversight and that they didn’t mean to alienate black women. Mind you, Shea Moisture was created for black women, was supported by black women, and became successful because of black women. So I understand the uproar expressed on social media regarding the message Shea Moisture sent with this new ad campaign. The execution of the ad was horribly done. In that short clip it didn’t show black women, but in the full clip, it shows black women. What’s that saying a bout first impressions?
Here’s the thing: Companies and brands expand all the time. They try to reach broader audiences because they want money from everybody’s pockets. In Shea Moisture’s case, it’s the way they went about trying to target the other dollars that left a bitter taste in many mouths. Me personally, I haven’t bought Shea Moisture products in quite some time. If I don’t catch it on sale, I don’t buy it, and that’s with all products. I find that most products on store shelves that are made for African American hair teeter on the expensive side. That in itself is a huge issue for me. Yes, I want to support black businesses, but good grief! Spending $20 and up on an 8 oz jar or smaller of a product is just too much for this sista that’s on a budget! But that’s a story for another day.
Most of you know that I’m big on DIY products. If I can save a buck or two I will do so. Every once in a blue moon I’ll try a new product, but for the most part I stick to my more reasonable products or I’ll I make my own and I rock with it until I perfect a recipe that suits my hair needs. I guess that’s why when I read about the uproar with Shea Moisture, I rolled my eyes because at the end of the day, sometimes you’re better off learning how to make your own products or going with a smaller brand that’s less expensive but still effective. Many accuse Shea Moisture of changing/watering down it’s product, and Carol’s Daughter has been accused of the same. I don’t use their products to be able to give an opinion, but both claim they have not. I can see formula change as a valid worry for naturalista’s, especially when the company has been sold as in Carol’s Daughter case.
I’m not as upset about what Shea Moisture is trying to do as others are, I’m more disappointed in the execution. At the end of the day Shea Moisture is a business, but for black women, we felt we finally had a company that made and sold products just for us and our natural hair needs. We no longer were forced to use shampoo’s and conditioners that weren’t made for our hair. Now with this new direction that Shea Moisture is going in, many loyal black Shea Moisture customers feel betrayed. Black women are the ones who were fiercely loyal and supportive of a brand that dared to bring forth a line exclusively for African American hair, and this is how we’re treated. I get it and I empathize with those feelings. But we must remember, at the end of the day it’s about dollars and cents. Nothing else matters to these companies. Not even customer loyalty.