Shea Moisture Receives Backlash Over Controversial CommercialShea Moisture Receives Backlash Over Controversial Commercial

By Free Radical

Shea Moisture has been accused of alienating its fan base with its most recent commercial.

Shea Moisture has been accused of alienating its fan base with its most recent commercial.

Shea Moisture has been the target of intense derision over what many members of the natural hair community allege as tone deaf advertising.


A recent commercial spot featured a lighter skinned Black woman, a blonde White woman, and a White woman with red hair. All three discuss what they call “hair hate” where they were ridiculed for their hair texture.


Black Twitter, in particular, responded with a variety of critiques. Many, however, centered on the fact that Black women have served as the backbone of Shea Moisture’s customer base but are underrepresented in the commercial.


Furthermore, while brands such as Shea Moisture have grown popular due to White supremacist “hair hate,” which normalizes European hair styles and textures, darker-skinned Black women with coarse hair textures were not represented in the ad.


Shea Moisture initially released a statement with, stating “When large conglomerates ignored women of color and simply marketed products to them vs. making products for them. We were there then – serving women who had historically been underserved in the beauty industry – and that will never change.”


But given the intensity and swiftness of the social media community, Shea Moisture pulled its ad last Monday with an apology stating that they must “absolutely ensure moving forward that our community is well-represented in each one so that the women who have led this movement never feel that their hair journey is minimized in any way.”


On Friday, Shea Moisture CEO Rich Dennis addressed the controversy on “The Breakfast Club” on Power 105.1, saying that the commercial did not go through the proper approval process and admitted that the spot did not represent their base, Black women with curlier and coarser hair.


Some wonder if this gesture is too little, too late. In the midst of the controversy there were a number of social media commenters who suggested that consumers try other brands in the ultra-competitive “natural hair industry.”


The press also exposed other tidbits the company may have wanted to keep secret. Particularly, that Bain Capital, a private investment firm founded by Mitt Romney, has had a minority stake in Shea Moisture’s parent company Sundial Brands since 2015. Some argue that this revelation may be just as offensive as the ad.



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