• Kyia Young

SheaMoisture draws ire for controversial ad

April 26, 2017

SheaMoisture, a natural hair and skin care line, is under major scrutiny by black women because of its recent advertisements surrounding people of white or mixed ethnicities. Reason? These individuals truly don’t represent black culture or who the brand was originally founded for: people of color.

According to SheaMoisture’s official website, Sofi Tucker, founder of SheaMoisture, “started selling Shea Nuts at the village market in Bonthe, Sierra in 1912. By age 19, the widowed mother of four was selling Shea Butter, African Black Soap, and her homemade hair and skin preparations all over the countryside.”

Sofi Tucker’s grandchildren are the heirs of her business, as SheaMoisture’s official website states, “Sofi Tucker is our grandmother, and SheaMoisture is her legacy.” The company was founded in 1991 by Liberians Nyema Tubman, Richelieu Dennis and his mother, Mary Dennis.

A SheaMoisture #EverybodyGetsLove campaign video  was released on April 24 displaying three white women and a mixed black woman explaining the difficulties and microaggressions they have faced while living with their natural hair textures.

Many women of color were offended because of SheaMoisture’s inclusion of other races, while the company steadily excluded women of color and the type-four hair texture throughout all of their campaign videos. SheaMoisture released a response on their official social media platforms, blatantly apologizing to people of color and anyone else who was offended by the video.

This apology wasn’t accepted as they might’ve hoped. Many people of color took to social media to boycott SheaMoisture for their black exclusion, along with the message “SheaMoisture is CANCELED.”

The company’s recent marketing campaign, #EverybodyGetsLove, promotes inclusion and acceptance of other ethnicities so products can become more available for consumers’ usage. Considering their four pillars are: inclusively exclusive, modern wisdom, sensory solutions and cultures cultivated, these goals are meant to cater to multiple races to provide acceptance and appreciation for all nationalities.

#AllHairMatters is a small part of their #EverybodyGetsLove campaign. The wording in the #AllHairMatters hashtag is also controversial, considering that it stems from #AllLivesMatter. Not only is this topic sensitive to blacks, but continues to exclude black people from participating in the campaign.

Let’s be honest: SheaMoisture’s “controversial” advertisement didn’t offend me. Excluding other ethnicities from using a predominantly black hair and skin care brand is nearly impossible. I do understand that blacks want something for themselves. I haven’t noticed that their product ingredients have changed because I use the brand myself. However, others have the right and freedom to use whatever products they want to. I scrolled past this advertisement for the first time on my Instagram timeline, and one of my friends called it to my attention to watch it because of SheaMoisture’s ongoing backlash for it. Inclusion is something that America will get used to because not only is it good marketing, but it broadens the gap for desegregation.

The best thing black women did, in this situation, was call our exclusion to their attention. In my opinion, the Twitter users who are choosing to be fake mad or woke are going too far. The sensitivity nowadays is being geared towards things that aren’t that serious. SheaMoisture will continuously thrive off of black and overall national consumerism.


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