Recently Shea Moisture released an ad that was supposed to highlight “hair hate” from a diverse group of women to show that different people experience similar things and we should all come together and do our hair and sing Kumbaya and all that jazz.
Something’s obviously not right here, right? The main demographic that uses Shea Moisture wasn’t pictured until the last few seconds. How many non-black people even use curly pudding, let alone even know what it is? Well, a lot of people have voiced the same concerns loud and proud.
Like everyone else I was all ready to type up what was essentially going to be a long ass rant, but after watching Shea Moisture’s CEO Rich Dennis explain and discuss the situation, my fire has been reduced to a small kindling. All of the points I was totally set to argue were replied to; it was kind of upsetting.
(This was actually one of the most fruitful discussions from The Breakfast Club that I’ve seen.)
So it turns out there actually was a plan to include those who were missing as this was supposed to be a 24-video ad series featuring 24 different women, 20 or so of them with the hair textures and skin tones that were not featured in the initial ad. I wouldn’t call the uproar an overreaction though.
We gotta call a spade a spade and recognize this was a pretty ignorant execution of Shea Moisture’s project. As a “black family owned” business that Shea Moisture still claims to be, you would think they would have enough historical education to know the long lasting trend of darker skinned people being unrepresented in practically everything and the common sense to realize how important it is that we do not perpetuate it. Although Dennis stated that the campaign really wasn’t that deep, maybe taking that extra second to examine the project a little deeper would have kept them out of this mess in the first place.
What really redeems Shea Moisture is Dennis’s apologetic responses. Shea Moisture obviously realizes what they did wrong. While they should’ve have realized the issue before releasing the ad, a company that listens to and grows with its consumers is rare, so maybe Shea Moisture doesn’t have to be cancelled as long as they truly learn from this mistake.