Home Hair New SheaMoisture Ad Has WOC “Big Mad” & Here’s Why

New SheaMoisture Ad Has WOC “Big Mad” & Here’s Why

April 26, 2017
SheaMoisture EverybodyGetsLove
A few days ago, major hair care brand SheaMoisture released the latest in a series of videos in their #EverybodyGetsLove campaign and by Monday morning, women of color — and surprisingly enough, some White women — came down on SheaMoisture HARD!
By the time I got wind of the shenanigans on Monday afternoon, the firestorm of disapproving comments and threats of boycotting the brand were already in full swing!

{click image to read more from the thread}

I initially didn’t really think much of it… likely because I’m used to this type of advertising, devoid of any real, noticeable diversity. But then it hit me: this is SHEAMOISTURE! Even at that point, I wasn’t too mad. I thought, is it reasonable to suggest that there be a brown face in every single ad of a campaign? Maybe not. But, again…

This. Is. SheaMoisture! And truthfully, I actually forgot I was even watching a SheaMoisture commercial midway through it… no joke.

I tried to give them the benefit after coming across this video via Twitter featuring women who look more like us, reasoning that they didn’t completely forget about the kinks and darker skin that put them on. If we’re being honest, there are two major reasons why this ad was a fail.

SheaMoisture EverybodyGetsLove Still

Lack of Representation

Now, before you tell me there’s a Black girl in the video… c’mon. Look at her. Yes, she’s a beautiful girl but the fact is, representation matters. She just doesn’t look like the women (and if you’re unclear, I mean darker skin and tighter curls/kinks) who pretty much got SheaMoisture to the multi-million dollar level of greatness they’re benefiting from today… and THIS is why “they mad”!

…it seems that a major subset of Black women have taken ownership of the natural hair movement. A movement that, for once, was ALL about them. A safe space to claim. For these women, this hurts deep. The pain isn’t about a product. The pain stems from the repetitive dismissal, “erasure”, silencing and invisibility of Black women in spaces they seek to claim and to make themselves known.” – Dr. Rikesha L. Fry Brown, PhD (read full quote here)

In this era of “boxer braids” & “twisted mini buns”, WOC, especially the darker hued, kinky haired ladies, are feeling more than a little bit slighted by the lack of representation in this particular ad, albeit one of a series. But a valid point was made in one of many threads:

When you want to expand as a Black company, what does that look like? Could they ever appease their base and expand?” – C. Una Eatman

Some WOC may never truly be comfortable with “Becky” joining the party, but the issue has more to do with the exclusion of the core audience than the inclusion of three White women in this ad. And this brings me to my second point…

The Messaging

The theme of this campaign is “hair hate”. We all have something we don’t like about ourselves and white women have every right to share whatever hair struggles they have. But the fact is, they just don’t compare to the struggles of the many WOC who’ve supported the brand in droves from jump… BOGO or not! 

You can't equate hating one's own hair with one's hair being hated by society at large. #SheaMoisture Click To Tweet

As far as I know, White women aren’t losing jobs or being suspended from schools because of their hair. The centuries of hate on Afro-textured hair is real and WOC feel SheaMoisture has essentially trivialized their struggle with this ad. The general consensus is, “it’s a smack in the face!” Someone dropped the ball on the messaging big time.
they (White women) haven’t had to deal with being petted because they braided their hair, grew an afro, or cut their hair. They’re not constantly questioned about texture. – S. Boston
Welp, things got real hot real quick so SheaMoisture removed the ad and issued a public apology:



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. You guys know that we have always stood for inclusion in beauty and have always fought for our community and given them credit for not just building our business but for shifting the beauty landscape. So, the feedback we are seeing here brings to light a very important point. 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. We are keenly aware of the journey that WOC face – and our work will continue to serve as the inspiration for work like the Perception Institute’s Good Hair Study/Implicit Association Test that suggests that a majority of people, regardless of race and gender, hold some bias towards women of color based on their textured or natural hair. So, you’re right. We are different – and we should know better. Thank you all, as always, for the honest and candid feedback. We hear you. We’re listening. We appreciate you. We count on you. And we’re always here for you. Thank you, #SheaFam, for being there for us, even when we make mistakes. Here’s to growing and building together…

A post shared by SheaMoisture (@sheamoisture) on

Some had already sworn-off the brand when they brought Bain Capital on as a minority, non-controlling investor in the company in 2015 followed by their BreakTheWalls campaign last year. As of Monday, others vowed to never buy another SheaMoisture product and to throw out whatever they had. Y’all, their Facebook rating plummeted from around 4.8 to 2.0. Dag.


Being a multicultural brand is fine, but THIS SheaMoisture ad was just a bad business move.

Somebody (read, “several people”) messed up. It happens. I just hope SheaMoisture learns from this and does better going forward. While some aren’t here for their apology, I, for one, feel like it was genuine but, unfortunately, the damage has been done. In all honesty, as long as the formula remains the same, I will likely be restocking my shower with their JBCO line, tho. BOGO, of course.

What’s YOUR take on all o’ dis? Are you offended by the ad or do you feel this was just business as usual? Let’s chat below!

 Wanna read other POVs and info on the SheaMoisture ad debacle? Check out these posts from my fellow bloggers:

Shea Moisture – We Not Finna Do This. – The Mane Objective

Shea Moisture’s Pepsi-esque Ad Move – How Did it Even Happen? – The Mane Objective

Black Women Are Threatening To Boycott This Major Black-Owned Haircare Brand And Dragging Them For FILTH – Lisa a la Mode

First Pepsi, Now SheaMoisture: Are Brands Making Light of Black Struggles? – Naturally Glam

Shea Moisture’s Tone-Deaf Ad Causes A Social Media Backlash – For the Love of Curls



Sundial Brands CEO Responds to SheaMoisture Fallout - ToBNatural April 27, 2017 at 2:12 pm

[…] Read about it HERE […]

Chioma April 26, 2017 at 6:31 pm

I’m so disappointed in them. I knew they’d changed and started making tubes for white customers but now I’ve heard they are changing formulas too. Shame on them for real

LaShon Renee April 26, 2017 at 3:35 pm

Like you, I initially didn’t think it was that bad but the more I learned the more irritated I became. I do hope they learn their lesson and bring people on their marketing team who truly understand what’s going on.

Jan April 26, 2017 at 12:54 pm

Matt and I both use their products, we got half of what they sell at Walgreens in our bathroom so I am concerned they will start changing formulas and making products that don’t fit our hair needs, that being said I think the level of outrage and boycotting was justified. companies will treat its consumers like trash and not care long as they $ not affected. you affect they $ then they try harder. So hopefully they now see that’s a bad idea and they stop before they start to lose hey base and core customers

HEATHER W April 26, 2017 at 11:59 am

So Im curious as to what or how Jenell is planning to respond. Isn’t she their spokesperson?

Toia B. April 26, 2017 at 12:03 pm

Oh, I’m pretty sure she nor any of the other top influencers they work with will respond… from a business perspective, not just because they don’t want to. People have already inquired of her thoughts on her IG page and she hasn’t replied, last I saw.

Toia B. April 26, 2017 at 12:05 pm

She’s actually in the other ads within the campaign although it’s just the same thing being recycled – another point I wanted to make but omitted for the sake of length. 😁

HEATHER W April 26, 2017 at 12:23 pm

Yes, that makes sense. Since you’ve peaked my curiosity just a bit, I went to their IG page. I noticed they offered a lengthy apology to followers/customers. Longest thread I’ve ever seen. LOL

Toia B. April 26, 2017 at 12:31 pm

Lol! Yep! It’s the same as the screen shot from their Facebook page above… I should include a link. But yeah, some folks still aren’t having it.

Heather D April 26, 2017 at 11:37 am

I feel that they could have been inclusive of white people, or any other race without excluding their initial fan base. They can expand their brand without it looking like they have decided to move on from the people who got them here. This ad looked like, “now that we’ve made it big, we’re too good for you now. Thanks for getting us here, but see yourself out.” Let’s be real. There’s no shortage of beauty products for white women. They have been the target audience for decades. So shea moisture was a brand that targeted and catered to black women with natural hair. The joy of having a line for an otherwise neglected group is how they made it this far, and to make a commercial like this just seems…ungrateful, almost? Other brands treat women of color as an afterthought, so I guess they were trying to avoid doing that with white women, but all it did was alienate a huge part of their fan base. I think the new staff is a part of the problem, because they wanted it to be mainstream. Their idea of mainstream is what they are used to seeing: 3 or 4 white women and a token black girl that doesn’t look ‘too’ black. Because that marketing is what they’re used to and it caters to them, it didn’t seem weird to do that with this brand. But the commercials they’re used to are the whole reason shea moisture was a big deal. It was finally about us instead of being an afterthought. Now it’s just a regular beauty commercial where we have to be happy about the one black girl because at least there was one

Toia B. April 26, 2017 at 12:27 pm

*takes mic* yes, my thought was covered. 😂😂 Exactly ALLADIS! I may edit to include the point about the “look” of the marketing team… I was so confused when I saw that!


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

%d bloggers like this: