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With a Black Customer Base, Did Shea Moisture Need to Apologise for Featuring Mostly White Women in an Ad?

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Shea Moisture is a hair care company with a black clientele base. Two days ago, the company released an ad that features mostly white women and the Internet was not having the betrayal. The internet felt that the company was sidelining its core customer base in an effort to include white women.

Shea Moisture has apologised for releasing the ‘hurtful’ commercial that features a majority of white women. They admitted they had ‘f***** up’ with the advert, which shows three white women and one black woman talking about ‘hair hate’ while promoting sale products. They said in an Instagram statement:

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…

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…

A post shared by SheaMoisture (@sheamoisture) on

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The Ad has been pulled down. Do you think Shea Moisture needed to apologise for their Ad?

37 Comments

  1. keke driver

    April 26, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    Black people tho… Our wahala too much

    • AMAA

      April 27, 2017 at 1:01 pm

      If you saw the horrors of slavery you won’t be speaking like this and the 42 likes won’t be here . It’s some thing you will never under just like war so don’t try to brush off some people who are still feeling the ripples of what slavery did to the black race in USA

  2. Simi

    April 26, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    Now, if only you could send it to me rather than throw it in the trash.

    I’m just about to start my journey and had chosen Shea Moisture (with some Cantu) based on great reviews. This hasn’t changed my mind, but I do think that the problem lies in representation in the coy’s boardroom and the ad agency.

    • Belle

      April 26, 2017 at 1:35 pm

      The product itself is good, but it is overhyped and to be honest, ridiculously priced. They’re better products that are effective and less expensive. Just letting you know since you want to start your journey. I had shea moisture and cantu, tbh I had lots of products when I started my journey cause I was a hopeless product junkie, I buy anything I’m told is good or what I see online; that was then anyway. In the end, I gave some out; they were too much. I now use African Pride, Organics, Estella’s Pride and/or Namaste. Very affordable and works well. My point: know what works for your hair. Some of these products on social media are overly hyped and not as effective.

    • Mrs. T

      April 26, 2017 at 2:11 pm

      ?? I was like you. You know BGLH? I’ll go there and bookmark the style icons, order all the products featured. I wasn’t even a product junkie per say, even though I bought lots of products; I just wanted my hair very healthy. I guess that’s why I bought what I saw online, especially when the girls had great hair and they’ll say I use this and that. Again, I agree, I use Organics, as well as Estella’s Pride now recommended by Mom; I agree with you. Know what works. The money I wasted on products when I started my journey, right now I think about it and cringe. My Mom was like natural hair has been in existence since forever and it was never expensive to maintain. Like she doesn’t understand these new school naturalistas. You don’t have to break the bank to have healthy natural or relaxed hair.

    • person

      April 26, 2017 at 5:02 pm

      true talk. I use cantu, much cheaper and better

    • Simi

      April 26, 2017 at 8:27 pm

      Thanks, everyone. I never liked the Organics range but might try Estella’s Pride if I find it

  3. Mamamode

    April 26, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    YES!!!!!

  4. john

    April 26, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    The fact that yall care more about “representation” than ownership is why you will die broke and disenfranchised…………..this is the main problem I have with all this pro blacks and feminists,..always begging and wailing and trying to shame people into liking and giving them something…

  5. Lliki

    April 26, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    If you’re selling products that 95% of the buyers are black, it will be nice to use blacks to promote the products!

    • Rainbow

      April 26, 2017 at 4:53 pm

      Agreed.

    • lilo

      April 26, 2017 at 10:44 pm

      But then when products geared toward Caucasians put more people in their commercials, you guys jubilate and feel accomplished and brainwashed .if you are not begging to be catered to by a brand that could careless about your existence, you are throwing a fit about a brand that tries to cater to non-black clientele. Until we start viewing life through a bilateral lens and understand half the crap we beef about is psuedo racist, we won’t learn to live and let live. God forbids the day Paul Mitchell puts 3 black chics 1 Caucasian on a billboard and white people launch a boycottt! You will scream black lives matter. Black people are too damn sensitive. Yes I’m black and I’m proud to say we overhype basic shiggidy. Trivial tantrums like these make it difficult for people to take real racism seriously…

    • Jade

      April 26, 2017 at 11:14 pm

      Simple logic. Shea moisture is wrong. But it shows you once again it’s time for black people to look into catering to themselves instead of expecting others to do that. Let’s look into ownership instead of high expectation of others to include us.

      Shea moisture is overrated, just like carols daughter. Their products changed big time. I don’t understand why they couldn’t just include another line for white women instead of changing the whole thing to solely cater to white women.
      I use natural oils instead and shea butter. That’s all.

  6. Fifi

    April 26, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    I understand the message they were trying to convey that their product can be used by all hair types, maybe if they added 2 natural hair and one or two relaxed hair black babes (as in dudu black and chocolate babes)then the ad would have be recieved gladly

  7. jinkelele

    April 26, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    Of course they do.
    What nonsense
    Hair types and textures vary and you care for them differently.
    Who approved this stupid ad?
    Like their target audience shouldn’t have been in the ad

    The minute I see an ad about hair…I look to see if my hair type is on that model. If not I shift shikena .
    They should just have said they were expanding their customer base with a new campaign.
    Load of rubbish

  8. Poesy

    April 26, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    No. In the video I watched, they featured 2 black women (1 mixed race/loose curls, 1 dark-skinned/kinky curls), 1 Asian (dark-skinned/thick voluminous hair) and 1 white woman (androgynous/short-haired blonde). Their core audience was represented and they were also reaching out to a wider audience. Nothing wrong with that. It’s business.

  9. Confuzzled

    April 26, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Carol’s daughter tried the same tactic, and last I recall they filed for bankruptcy back in 2014. Shea Moisture needs to be careful. Don’t alienate your customer base, carry them along as you grow!

  10. DontAskNigerians

    April 26, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    Nigerians should just KEEP SHUT at all times when it comes to African American issues. Most are too ignorant to put themselves in African American people’s shoes. The two weeks you spend in Houston after sweating for a visa does not represent what it means to be black in America. Most people who will comment saying ‘it’s not a big deal’ don’t even have fuel for their gen or are currently drinking pure water so of course they won’t be able to see why this should be an issue. Peace.

    • Manny

      April 26, 2017 at 4:51 pm

      what is this one feeling like???

    • Manny

      April 26, 2017 at 4:58 pm

      Your comment is quite condescending, you know?

    • aa

      April 26, 2017 at 5:13 pm

      if you think being told that you dont understand AA relations is an insult, then you suffer inferiority complex because you’re assuming that knowing about something American is a sign of intelligence. If you don’t know, you don’t know. Many Nigerians do not know, even the ones living abroad, and that is the truth.

    • Manny

      April 26, 2017 at 11:10 pm

      Then I wear my so-called inferiority complex badge proudly.
      FYI, she did not say that Nigerians do not understand AA relations. She said and I quote “Nigerians should just KEEP SHUT at all times when it comes to African American issues. Most are too ignorant to put themselves in African American people’s shoes.”
      BIG DIFFERENCE. She then proceeded to say some unrelated elitist crap about Houston, visas, drinking pure water, not having electricity. And you open your mouth to call me inferior for finding that totally condescending.
      My friend, go and sit down somewhere.

    • Benny

      April 27, 2017 at 7:19 am

      You are so silly, it is amazing.
      Thank you @manny for putting this thing in its place. ?

  11. marlee

    April 26, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    i think its about time companies realize that there is a BIG BIG difference between Chimamanda’s hair and Alicia Keys hair. if you are talking about a black woman’s hair you are talking Chimamanda’s. thats the majority of black woman’s hair type. please mix race hair is definitely different.

    • Sunshiney

      April 26, 2017 at 6:38 pm

      There are mixed race people (with one black parent) who have nappy hair and are non-mixed race black people with loose curls. Just because you’ve never seen them doesn’t mean they don’t exist. I’m from the Caribbean and there are many people with a looser curl pattern and we are black especially Afro-Latinas.

  12. If Only

    April 26, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    If only we used this energy in making something of ourselves, succeeding and smashing records, pushing each other to do well. We won’t need to seek recognition and always get angry.

    What they did was wrong, but it speaks to a deeper challenge, the black community worldwide isn’t respected probably because while we have individual successes, as a group we aren’t the most successful both on home soil (Africa) and as immigrants.

    We don’t have power to change some things but we can take positive daily decisions and do better. Before the African Americans start screaming about not being given opportunities, how about striving to get the best and then coming to Africa to represent American companies. That;’s what most of these Asians are doing.

    Respect isn’t given or forced, it is earned.

  13. Ese

    April 26, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    You call something a “NATURAL HAIR PRODUCT” and feature 99% white girls and one half black girl in your ad? ?????how smart. It’s hard enough growing and maintaining black kinky hair, then now you show me that truly our hair is unmanageable by featuring Caucasian girls, you are saying to me their texture is better. If they had featured ALLLL HAIR TYPES MAYBE. I suspect the same FOOL who wrote the Pepsi gaffe is the same one who wrote this one. As an advertising professional, i score this an F. They just lost one GOOOOOOD CUSTOMER

    • Manny

      April 26, 2017 at 4:53 pm

      White people have natural hair too. Just clearing that up. When did natural become synonymous with black?

    • Jen

      April 26, 2017 at 5:10 pm

      If you read her comment well, you’ll also see where she specified by saying “black kinky hair”. White people have natural hair, some of them use chemical treatments too but I guess her point was, their texture is certainly different than that of black people.

  14. Cocolette

    April 26, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    Nothing wrong with the ad in my opinion, I guess they are trying to show that their products can be used by other hair textures apart from the kinky hair associated with them. Any small thing, blacks will be crying, it has become irritating to be honest!!!

    • Shandi

      April 26, 2017 at 5:13 pm

      For the company to apologize, that means they definitely saw something wrong. I don’t use the products but it’s mainly black people and African Americans who use the products; that how and why it became known to African countries in the 1st place. This isn’t about “blacks crying”. Very irrational remark by the way.

    • Shandi

      April 26, 2017 at 5:13 pm

      That’s how*

    • Cocolette

      April 26, 2017 at 6:16 pm

      Did you see where I said ‘kinky hair associated with them’? Everyone knows shea moisture to be associated with the black hair community and I see the advert as trying to expand their customer base which isn’t a bad thing. People apologize for the sake of peace too, not necessarily because they did something wrong

    • Bola

      April 26, 2017 at 7:51 pm

      Cocolette, is it that you cannot read? They apologized and are accepting that they’re wrong. If they’re “not necessarily wrong”, why are they then apologizing? For The fun of it. Enough already, I’m not sure the point you’re trying to make.

  15. Blueberry

    April 26, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    Hm na wa o! So according to them the half-cast best represented the black woman with correct nappy hair shebi? who are they fooling?!

  16. Joke

    April 26, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    Thank you Blueberry. All the women in that video are white as far as I’m concerned. Miss “Barely Black” is biracial at best, half black, which isn’t fully black. Forget their stupid one drop rule… To the one talking about ownership, that’s good, but how many people do the research to know who owns a brand? It is the marketing they see and are often inspired by. Don’t mind them. Awon oniranu. That’s one thing I hate about African Americans in general. When it’s something good with out little resources, we are one, give white Americans who don’t look our way equal opportunity. But when it’s them with far greater resources they use us as tokens. So we end up being tokens with our own and with the majority white run America and we wonder why we are where we are. Continue…It is well.

  17. Just asking

    April 27, 2017 at 1:24 am

    I thought it was in the works for Shea Moisture to be bought by Loreal. Did the sale not happen last year or so? Perhaps that is the reason for the commercial.

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