Shea Moisture Pulls Advert After Backlash For 'Whitewashing' Product For Black Women

A US-based hair company has pulled its 'natural hair' advert after it was slammed on Twitter for 'whitewashing' its products for black women.

Shea Moisture | LouisvuittonShop UK

Sometimes, it just takes one person in a brain-storming meeting to point out the obvious. Just one.

Yet, it appears there are a lot of extremely powerful, educated and prosperous business men and women nowadays who lack that skill so many of us think of as pretty basic - a dash of common sense.

In less than a month since Pepsi was forced to pull its advert featuring Kendall Jenner, which came under fire for co-opting political resistances such as the Black Lives Matter movement as something new and trendy with Kendall promoted as a 'white saviour', Shea Moisture is the latest company to face backlash over its most recent commercial.

A post shared by (@sheamoisture) on

On Monday, the hair company released a 60-second clip – which has since been pulled – with three women complaining about their hair and how Shea Moisture saved them from 'hair hate'.

The first is a black woman opening up about the difficulties of her natural hair, admitting she was bullied about it as a child.

'I hated it, because I have this and people make fun of me for it,' she reveals.

The camera then switches to two white women complaining about their blonde and red hair, respectively.

One admits: 'I don't know what to do with it', while the other complains about dyeing it.

Shea Moisture | LouisvuittonShop UK
Shea MoistureTwitter

The intended message here?

'Break free from the hair hate', according to the clip.

Unfortunately, it's message seems to be something else, according to Twitter.

You see Shea Moisture has traditionally - at least in most people's eyes - been a product line aimed specifically at black women, or those with afro and natural hair. So to use a white-blonde and a white-red-head to front the campaign, seemed to Twitter users, to be deviating from their long celebrated roots.

Shortly after the clip was released, Twitter users took to the social media platform to call out the company's for 'whitewashing,' rejecting the black clientele that has patronised the brand and made it the success that it is today.

Twitter users began employing the '#AllHairMatters' hashtag.

As a result, Shea Moisture swiftly took to Facebook to apologise to anyone offended by the clip.

The post reads: '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,' it adds.

Richelieu Dennis, the company's founder and CEO, told that women of color continue to be the company's focus.

A post shared by (@sheamoisture) on

'Our job is to make sure that they understand that we're still here for them,' Dennis said, adding the company understands black women commonly have the 'least amount of products in the marketplace for them'.

According to the company's , Shea Moisture was created to 'address skin and hair care issues traditionally ignored by mass market companies',– experiences drawn from the CEO's 'deep traditions born out of his family's roots in Africa and passed down to him from his grandmother'.

Dennis also explained the clip formed part of a wider campaign aimed to 'demonstrate the challenges that women have had and continue to have with the societal norms of beauty'.

Sadly, Shea Moisture missed the mark on this occasion.


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