I’m a black woman with an internet connection so I heard about the Shea Moisture ad debacle. In case you haven’t heard, let me give you a brief synopsis. For black women hair is the biggest of deals. Mainly of us are pressured by our families, employers and romantic partners to straighten our hair. In the last decade with the help of online communities there has been a resurgence of black women backing away from dangerous chemicals and expensive weaves and embracing their natural hair. During this movement Black owned companies have emerged to support the unique needs of natural black hair. These companies have strong cult followings. One of those companies is Shea Moisture.
With their new campaign, many black women felt that Shea Moisture was trying to act brand new. No longer reppin’ the girls that helped them build their business, the new commercials featured 2 white women and light skin black woman with bouncy ringlets. All the women were beautiful, no shade. But this reminded me of those commercials from the 90’s that made me ashamed of my tightly coiled hair. I didn’t look like the ethnically ambiguous girl in the Pantene commercial who proclaimed that her hair was so healthy it shined.
I’m grown now. I am confident and filled with self love. I like my hair in twist, afros, weaves, braids and flat ironed to Michelle Obama perfection, but I get understand the sting. Many times black women feel like we get trends poppin’ but don’t reap the benefits. Creatives and capitalists use our support as fuel to fly far away and never return. It kind of looked like Shea Moisture was doing the same.
I believe something else though. As an black entrepreneur I want Shea Moisture to win BIG. I want them battle to Unilever and Procter & Gamble. Ten years from now I want them to be a titan that can invest in their customers as they develop new ideas. I want a black owned deodorant company and a black owned contact solution company and a black owned nail polish all at Walgreen’s. We aren’t going to get there without companies like Shea Moisture. So after we snatching edges with shade on Twitter, let’s snatch some market share. I am excited to watch their beauty company grow. It helps me to my open my mind on where my company can go.