Y’all messed up.
I’m not going to rehash the whole debacle because other writers have already done it brilliantly and I don’t think I can top that. However, with CEO Rich Dennis’s interview this morning on the Breakfast Club, there is some additional nuance that I want to address.
You can watch the interview below. If you don’t want to watch the whole video check out minutes 12:00-18:30. There’s some direct back and forth about Mr. Dennis’s reaction to the ad.
Charlamagne (because he’s a pot stirrer) says that Shea Moisture has “built up enough cachet” to be able to have white women in the commercial. This is completely false. Team Natural is totally fine with white women being in your commercials because the additional money means you will be able to get on the shelves in new markets that, unlike Atlanta, D.C., Houston, or NYC, aren’t so saturated with Black women. HOWEVER. No company will ever build up enough cachet to stop catering to its core consumer base. That goes double for companies in the Black hair & beauty space, because there are so few brands you can buy at CVS or Target or Wal-Mart that cater to our kinks, curls, coils, and rainbow of brown hues. The problem was not that white women were in the commercial, it was that the commercial featured
At about 18:00 Mr. Dennis says, “You have to rock with us so we can continue to grow.” Actually, no, we don’t. Politics limits us to two parties, one of which is blatantly racist. So if we want any hope of representation on Capitol Hill, Black people are stuck with voting Democrat because most of their policies don’t actively harm us and some of them even help. But Black women are the top spending demographic on hair and beauty. We enjoy pampering ourselves, we enjoy looking good, and we absolutely can and will support brands which aren’t afraid to cater to us in everything they do. Oyin Handmade, Taliah Waajid, and Beija Flor Naturals are three alternatives that I will move my dollars to. At the start of my natural journey, I was a broke law student and spending more than $8 on a hair product was just unfathomable–and since Oyin and Beija Flor were both online only at the time, that kept me from being a regular user. But as a working adult, I can spend a few extra coins where I feel they’re appreciated. I still keep a bottle of Taliah Waajid Protective Mist Bodifier. It’s great for midweek detangling, keeping my hair moisturized when get braid extensions, and for easily taking down my cornrows from crochet braids. I love Shea Moisture’s black soap body wash and makeup line, but as far as hair products they’re canceled until further notice.