Interesting enough, I interviewed Richelieu Dennis, CEO of Sundial brands which produces Nubian Heritage and Shea Moisture, and in our interview, he didn’t seem tone-deaf to the importance of why black women and other women of color need brands that understand the importance of black hair care and textures.
Shea Moisture is having a tough week and it’s only Tuesday. Their latest ad which appeared to erase their loyal fanbase, has been the talk of the week. Even with a very lazy (
and non-PoC centered) apology, customers are looking for beauty and hair care brands that prefer to keep black women a priority in their visual marketing. They since have deleted the ad, but here is a previous ad that raised a few eyebrows as well.
“Over the last 25 years, I’ve received questions and judgments about our products and our business that I’m pretty sure few, if any, white-owned businesses have ever had to answer – like “Since you’re Black, your products are just for Black people, right?” Here’s the reality: Black beauty is at the forefront of the beauty revolution – from the mass shift to demanding natural ingredients to the natural, textured hair that we now see on runways, in advertisements and on the covers of international magazines and beyond. So, we have to be positioned to serve all consumers as other groups evolve into embracing new, more inclusive beauty standards. It is critical that we capture the market we have created and that we don’t leave it for someone else to capitalize on – which has historically been the case. The landscape is changing so quickly with more companies now trying to compete in the market, and part of what’s been missing in our community has been businesses that had access to capital, resources and market opportunities to compete at another level, grow and scale – so they end up stagnant and struggling,” Richelieu Dennis confirmed with me. Of course, this was late last summer, but what a difference a day makes, right?
“Black-owned beauty brands are often pigeon-holed – not because their products aren’t effective, but because of the assumption that they will only work for a single group of people. So, their community gets arbitrarily limited from the beginning. In addition, they often do not have the resources that allow them to compete against the large conglomerates that come in, lift their ideas & then scale them out of reach. For more than two decades, we have had the full spectrum of experiences that many minority entrepreneurs encounter, including being repeatedly denied by numerous landlords to rent office and manufacturing space, to being typecast as having products with singular market appeal, to considering how to access the necessary capital to grow and sustain our business. I have witnessed Black-owned companies – some of which stood beside me on the streets of Harlem, selling their goods and igniting global trends – who are no longer around today because larger companies, with infinitely more resources, capitalized on the trend, captured the market and put them out of business. We must continue to have these conversations and work towards the solutions that make these occurrences the exception and not the norm,” Dennis also stated. Now, after reading this again and seeing what has transpired with the brand makes me feel a bit confused. Is Shea Moisture only Black-Owned in name only?
— Dr. Avis (@SistahScholar) April 25, 2017
There are so many questions I have. I knew from the tweet replies from Shea Moisture’s account that it was from a marketing agency and it was confirmed that it was indeed Vayner Media campaign. My experience in media is an on-going love/hate relationship. I don’t understand why a black brand with a demographic of black women would not have black women on their social media team. Vayner Media not only handled their social media wrong, but they replied and complimented one of the Ashy Supremes in their standard customer service-like tweets.
@tariqnasheed We can't thank you enough for your loyalty and support. It's wonderful people like you that keep us going strong, Tariq! 😊
— SheaMoisture (@SheaMoisture) April 24, 2017
If you are looking for a black-owned beauty brand that caters to black women, here is a list I recommend. The comment section is open, so please add more to this list. People are missing the point in this conversation; Black women don’t have the luxury of going to a local or mainstream drugstore and having several options of hair care products to choose from. In fact, I’m willing to bet black hair care is still in a special section in the beauty aisle at the bottom ( I’m sure some of this has changed, but not much). I think the real anger stems from black women trying to consciously support brands that cater to their individual needs. Moisture is a big concern for a lot of naturals and I don’t think naturals, no matter what spectrum they are on the grade scale, have the same concerns that non-WoC with fair, red hair or oily, blonde hair have.
I don’t understand the #HairHate campaign either. I’ve never heard about loose curled women or women who “suffer” from straight hair being forced to assimilate. But it’s clear that Shea Moisture wants to be the next Suave. Also, men weighing in on this; shut the fuck up. Shut all the way the fuck up and let the door hit you where the good Lord split you. Shut up and have a seat at the table and listen to Solange. Men, especially black men don’t need to continue to dissect black women’s hair conversations. Unless you are asking for advice, tips and brand related questions, please, shut the fuck up.
Ok, we cool? We don’t need you guys doing ashy mental gymnastics on what products black women should or shouldn’t be buying. Thanks!
Black Hair Care Brands That Cater To Black Women
Bronner Brothers including 4 Naturals, Tropical Roots,
I didn’t forget you gentlemen! Check out Uncle Jimmy.
I’d like to give a shout-out to all the ladies and gents in My Superheroes Are Black! for helping with this list.