The Real Reason Black Women Are Mad At #SheaMoisture

Jeans: GAP, Tunic: Anthropologie, Shoes: Free People

Jeans: GAP, Tunic: Anthropologie, Shoes: Free People

At this point, you have certainly heard about the ad that was released on Shea Moisture's Facebook page. I'm a little late to the party because I've been through a series of feelings about it.  If you haven't seen it not here it is:

 
 

Black women everywhere are pissed off and threatening to boycott the company. I admit, I was sent into a complete outrage when I first saw it.

I had to stop and think, though:

"I don't even use Shea Moisture...why am I mad?"

The Real Reason Black Women Are Mad At #SheaMoisture
The Real Reason Black Women Are Mad At #SheaMoisture

Initially, I took to facebook to attempt to explain the outrage that people were/are experiencing. 

I hear some people don’t understand why so many hate this commercial. #SheaMoisture is traditionally black owned and makes products for all (natural/associated with black) hair types. The concept of this commercial is “stop hair hate” but they excluded black women with Afro textured hair. This commercial is a product of whitewashing. I understand that they want to market to a wider audience, but black women are who kept this company in business. We are used to being excluded by white media, but to be excluded by a company who’s original goal was for products for black women, it’s a slap in the face.
And for those with the rebuttal that they included a black woman.... I will say that she has the most “desirable” texture. This is the type of face white media puts on “diversity” ads.

In case you were wondering what "afro textured" hair is, the photo of me below is an example. 

The Real Reason Black Women Are Mad At #SheaMoisture

Black girls with my hair type are often told we don't have good hair. Before I went natural, I relaxed my hair. I don't remember when my mom first started getting my hair chemically straightened, but I know I kept doing it until I was 18. 

I remember when I was about 9, I wanted my hair to be "naturally curly" and asked if I could stop getting relaxers. My sisters were like, "your hair will be naturally nappy." I tried to grow it out for a while but with no knowledge of how to care for it, I went back to the creamy crack.

The Real Reason Black Women Are Mad At #SheaMoisture
The Real Reason Black Women Are Mad At #SheaMoisture

In the natural hair community, we have what is called "texturism" the idea that some textures are better than others.

Generally speaking, the looser the curl pattern, the better your hair is. In my opinion, all the hair types featured on the left are beautiful. 

That brings me back to why people are mad at the Shea Moisture commercial, and it boils down to this:

Black women feel betrayed. Women with the 4c texture has relied on Shea Moisture to help except their hair as they transitioned to being natural.

Now, what I've written in the Facebook post was a knee jerk reaction. I was pissed off and wanted all to know why. After listening to the CEO talk about the ad, I was not as upset.

First of all, I already knew they wanted to expand their audience when they released their #breakthewalls commercial last year

Second, this was not a complete representation of what they intended to communicate. The #everyonegetslove campaign is more about including more hair types than excluding one type. This particular video was 1 of 28 interviews with women explaining their hair struggles. A lot of people assumed we were upset because they included white women at all. That was not it. The real problem is the way they put the interviews together excluded the "hated" hair type They should make sure each ad snippet is fully diversified. 

The Real Reason Black Women Are Mad At #SheaMoisture

At the end of the day, some black women will still be upset. Shea Moisture is a company that seemed to only be about black women. If you consider the formulas they have released, they have always been trying to include a diverse range of hair types.

Do I believe every black women should boycott Shea Moisture?

No. They are a company who want to expand and provide to more markets. They need to be careful about that though because black women buy 80% more of hair and skincare, than non-black women. 

Am I mad at those who will boycott?

No.

Armed with the knowledge of how much we purchase, I don't really see the need for them to widen their audience. Separate promotion of black women has power, and some women will only support companies and outlets who only promote black women. 

One question I will pose, is that how many of us are using only black owned and exclusively black promoted products?

What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

StyleTiffany Ima