Shea Moisture Really Tried To Gentrify The Natural Hair Community



Earlier today, Shea Moisture released a new ad and they completely missed the mark. They turned their backs on the core community that the brand was built on. Black women.

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The one-minute advertisement featured three white women and a lighter-skinned woman of color. And while I'm all for diversity in advertisement, this is the part that really set it off for me. The tagline, "Embrace hair love in every form." Not only did the ad not feature any  darker skinned Black women for the first 57 seconds of the ad, they tried to squeeze in their core audience in the last 3 seconds of the commercial.

The natural hair community was started because of women like Nikki who weren't allowed to "embrace" their natural hair based on societal standards of beauty, hair, culture, etc.

This erasure of culture in exchange for inclusivity is what has continuously happened with Black and Brown communities all across the country. It's the perfect example of gentrification. Inclusivity does not have to mean selling out. What this video does is reinforce White privilege, all while telling Black women and Black culture that their natural state simply isn't good enough. You know, beautiful women like this below.  The audience which Shea Moisture recently posted a whole album of on their Facebook page, made the brand who it is today, and was completely abandoned.


But this isn't the first time people have had issues with the brand. There's been claims of a switch in their ingredients, something that many long time users have noticed, although the brand has denied it.
And not that I need to reiterate this anymore, but I'll end with this. You can't have it both ways. You can't promote to and pimp a culture at events like the World Natural Hair Show in Atlanta, setting up demos, and then the next day completely erase that same community after you've taken their money. If you're gonna sell out, just own it.

"The shit is disrespectful and Rich knows better. I don't think you have to apologize for trying to sell hair product to white people. However, I don't understand why inclusive campaigns aimed at white women necessarily exclude dark skinned Black women. #IDoUnderstandWhy #AndIDontLikeIt."
—Curly Nikki.

What was your reaction after watching the video? Share in the comments.
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Mike "Orie" Mosley is the managing editor for CurlyNikki.com and a cultural advocate from St. Louis. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Arts, Entertainment & Media Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Masters in Higher Education Administration from LSU. He is also the founder of www.afrotrak.com. In his spare time, he's probably listening to hip hop & neo soul music, hitting up brunch or caught up in deep conversations about Black music. You can follow him on Twitter @mike_orie or on Instagram @mikeorie

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