hair · Miscellaneous · West Indian Life

The Shea Moisture Commercial

I have exams…I shouldn’t be writing this article.

Like most naturalistas on the internet I saw Shea Moisture’s joke of a commercial last night 24/04/2017. Just to give a brief recap the ad features three women; 2 white and one bi-racial/racially ambiguous woman talking about their hair struggles. Now if you’re already confused don’t worry you should be. Shea Moisture’s core buying audience is mostly black women with kinky hair…yet there were none in sight.

IT IS HARD TO FIND NATURAL HAIR PRODUCTS THAT WORK FOR KINKY HAIR. For months people have been complaining that Shea Moisture has changed some of their core ingredients and that the products no longer work. Now we know why; Shea Moisture has been gentrified.

They are trying to make their products work for white and black hair but we all know that is impossible. Most white people have straight fine hair and on the other spectrum you have me; coarse kinky hair. Buying products at the hair supply store has always been a game of Russian roulette when you have kinky hair. Now there will be one less brand that caters to me.

Let’s talk about the red head’s “struggle”. Apparently for six years she dyed her hair platinum blond and now she can finally be a redhead. Are we seriously trying to equate that to the struggle of black women and their natural hair?

Let me illustrate real struggle. I returned natural when it was less popular in my country, the movement was just about to begin. One Monday I wore a twist out with bobby pins to pin my hair back out of my face, I felt cute. I went to work that morning and received many compliments, I was on cloud nine until my supervisor intervened. She dragged me aside to scold my hair, “why would you wear your hair like that to work? It is inappropriate for the customers to look at. They don’t want to see that!” I was dumbfounded.

Let me put this is context. I live in the Caribbean, 80% of the citizens are described as afro Caribbean. Meaning we are black with kinky hair. Yes ladies and gentlemen the slave mentality is that deep.

How was the hair that grew out of my scalp inappropriate?…She then dragged me to the other female supervisor who promptly agreed with her. I was so angry I cried. You see this is the discrimination black women face everywhere. I worked as a teller at a bank so I understand the desire for us to look “neat” but pray tell why my 3C co-worker was able to wear the same hairstyle? Apparently her hair was never inappropriate.

I am all for inclusivity with the Shea Moisture brand, I am not saying white women shouldn’t be able to buy their products. However, instead of making the few products that work for kinky hair suit straight hair, how about making a separate line? Shea Moisture for straight or wavy hair. I am happy natural hair is being more accepted but the journey is definitely not over.

Please don’t be afraid to comment and give your honest opinions. I’d love to read your thoughts.


6 thoughts on “The Shea Moisture Commercial

  1. Yeah it was tough to watch, I cringed through it all to be honest. They’ve release a statement saying the commercial was misconstrued & have been taken off & blah blah but I think the damage has already been done.

    It’s so scary to think just how deep self hate is still prevalent in the world, esp amongst us Black ppl, but I am a firm believer that though it will take some time, we will be restored to our original mindset where being Black is looked at as favor from God, Mother Nature & The Universe itself.

    Thanks for sharing xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was butt hurt, honestly. The thing that hurt the most were the comments suggesting that “a commercial” is nothing to get upset about and that it’s “just business”.
    It is MORE than just business. It was a blatant disregard of loyal customers who made them what they are today. Even when the prices sky rocketed people of colour purchased their products religiously. We didn’t have much options anyway. Now the “ethnic section” in the hair isle in foreign countries just got even smaller and we in the 3rd world countries are directly affected.
    Apparently there was a change in ownership and SM is no longer a black owned company….but that in itself is another story.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I haven’t seen the commercial, but I have seen the reaction of black women to it. Many of my friends “go natural” only to revert to straighteners and the damaging chemicals that go hand in hand with it. It is sad that they often feel feel cornered, or maybe just hopeless because there is a general struggle to find products that actually work. This is like a slap in the face though, and a reminder that we have a long way to go in terms of catering to and for our unique brand. Nontheless, I am happy for the power of the internet/social media to call out these companies on their bullshit. Small steps….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Small steps indeed. The best way to get your voice heard is to hurt them in their pockets. Black women are still their largest share of buyers…they’ll be singing a much different tune when people boycott their products.

      Liked by 1 person

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