Oooh No, Shea Moisture -- What Is You Doing?

Photo from Geechee Anne's own bathroom.

Photo from Geechee Anne's own bathroom.

For real, y'all.  Who did this?  Was it Miss Jessie's momma, Mrs. Jessie?  Carol's other daughter?  Probably Lady Clairol, who few people know has the first name Becky.  Clearly this was some sort of industrial sabotage.  Because I cannot believe that Shea Moisture sat down and actually conceived an ad specifically targeted to decimate their demographic, large swaths of which will now be pushing their stacks of coins at other companies.

Look, I've rolled with Shea Moisture for years.  I have greater love for that coconut and hibiscus line than I do members of my own family.  And I don't care what white women use in their hair.  More Black owned companies should be getting that Caucasian coin, 'cause lord knows their companies have been marketing their products to us and to our detriment since forever.   But there's a way to do that without creating the Beckyest of ads which relegates Black women with the kinkiest of hair to literally a tiny box in the last 2 seconds of the thing.

Yes, I'm aware that they apologized.  But I can't forget that woman in that tiny box.  See, it's that Black woman, seen onscreen for just a second, and without a speaking role, that has been the champion of Shea Moisture over the years.  It's that sister that has written about the brand in countless natural hair blog posts, or done a million vlogs about the products on YouTube.  It's that woman that taught me how to cultivate my own curls when I didn't have a clue.  And like me, there are millions of other sisters that became unpaid ambassadors of the products because they not only worked, but it seemed like the company Got It and that we were important to them as a people, and not just a stack of dollars.  Until now.

Because the problem isn't just the commercial itself, it's what it says about the company behind it.  I mean, don't get me wrong -- I am powering my computer right now using the energy harvested from rolling my eyes so hard.  The ad is beyond problematic in the way that it centers women with European-approved locks whining about their hair as if Black women haven't had discrimination against their locs literally codified into law by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.  "I got fired from my job because Black hair in its natural state is deemed unprofessional."  "I have red hair and once dyed it blonde.  OMG, we're the same!  In fact, I'll be taking your spot in this commercial!"  But companies can only be so tone deaf when they have grown away from the community that they serve, and no longer value them or their opinions, not only as customers, but also as integral members of their corporate teams and structures.  You cannot convince me that if there was adequate representation of Black women at this company, that this ad wouldn't have been side-eyed out of its initial brainstorming session and never seen the light of day.  No.  These sorts of colossal blunders only occur when our voices are either excluded or marginalized to the point where they can be ignored, and that's a bigger and more insidious systemic issue of which a dumb commercial is only a symptom.