Shea Moisture released a statement of apology and decided to pull their most recent ad after the company was heavily criticized for excluding their core audience and including white women instead.
“Wow, okay — so guys, listen, we really f-ed this one up,” the Harlem black-owned hair-care company wrote on its Facebook page. “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.”
The hair care company, founded in 1912 by Liberian immigrants, came under fire after releasing a new advertisement that features white women who experience “hair hate” and have come to finally love their hair thanks to Shea Moisture products.
The statement also addressed the issue brought up by most critics — that Shea Moisture is pretty much abandoning the very demographic that made the company popular all in the name of widening its market.
“You guys know that we have always stood for inclusion in beauty and have always fought for our community and given them credit for not just building our business but for shifting the beauty landscape,” the company’s message stated.
The hair care line was founded by Liberian refugees Richelieu Dennis, his mother Mary Dennis and Nyema Tubman from Harlem and has since been associated almost exclusively with black hair. The release of the new ad has caused some people to think that Shea Moisture is abandoning its original target audience and trying too hard to include white women.
Read Shea Moisture’s full apology below:
“Wow, okay – so guys, listen, 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. You guys know that we have always stood for inclusion in beauty and have always fought for our community and given them credit for not just building our business but for shifting the beauty landscape. So, the feedback we are seeing here brings to light a very important point. While this campaign included several different videos showing different ethnicities and hair types to demonstrate the breadth and depth of each individual’s hair journey, we 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. We are keenly aware of the journey that WOC face – and our work will continue to serve as the inspiration for work like the Perception Institute’s Good Hair Study/Implicit Association Test that suggests that a majority of people, regardless of race and gender, hold some bias towards women of color based on their textured or natural hair. So, you’re right. We are different – and we should know better.