In recent brands-making-tone-deaf-advertisement news, a new Shea Moisture commercial has caused an upset among many consumers.
Here’s the deal: The ad starts off with an African-American woman sharing how she had always been self-conscious about her natural hair, and had even been teased in school about her hair’s natural curls and texture. The ad then features a white, blonde woman explaining that she hated how her hair lacked volume, and then an (also white) red-haired woman said she used to hate her natural hair color. The common thread? All three women used to dislike their hair, and now had learned to love it.
And it was this tone-deaf comparison which (understandably) has people upset.
Because in an attempt to seem inclusive to all hair types, Shea inadvertently compared not liking one’s hair because it “lacks volume” to being teased and ostracized for your race and ethnicity. Come on, Shea.
Here’s the ad if you haven’t seen it yet:
And here are some reactions from unhappy customers.
Shea Moisture issued this apology via Instagram as soon as they received feedback.
“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.”
They went on to discuss how they had intended to explore different hair journeys, but clearly missed the mark.
“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.”
At the end of the day, even major companies make mistakes sometimes, and we’re super glad Shea has recognized where they went wrong and issued a (seemingly genuine) apology. We hope the company uses the feedback and criticism to craft something more sensitive and socially conscious the next time around.