At this point in history, we’ve had a Black president, a bomb ass beautiful brown sister as the only first lady I’ll over love and now we have Nkechi Amare Diallo scamming her way into Blackness and landing a role as the head of marketing at Shea Moisture.
So this Shea Moisture karfunkel happened and everyone and they mama on YouTube and the blogesphere done put themselves in the echo chamber of “oh my how could they.” And I am absolutely tickled by certain folks accusing Shea Moisture of gentrifying like they wasn’t on that tip first, remember when Becky or was it Beth took down her ponytail and felt all that freedom of being a white woman heralded into the natural hair movement. I laughed, I even got my coins up and wrote an article for The Root.com highlighting natural hair care companies that are Black women owned, and mentioning how truly ignorant it was for Shea Moisture to tweet their support to the purveyor of misogynistic ahistorical Black history Tariq Nasheed.
@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
Tariq who is supposedly in Haiti, must of got a Google alert about his name being mentioned and assumed my article was about him then scrolled through two years worth of tweets to say that I am anti-Black man, I am not Black, I date white men…like sis, I had to block all his fake me out accounts, like a clean 100 of them. Accounts that literally have no more than 50 followers only tweet Nasheed and harass Black women. Oh and I am bedwench, how in vogue it is to refer to a Black woman by a term that was used by white slave masters to endorse rape. Real cute.
Not only did Shea Moisture put out the most tone deaf of tone deaf ads, that I have from verifiable sources no Black woman was in a decision making role as Shea Moisture pursued a “poly ethnic” advertising campaign. Then the founder Rich Dennis, after offending a legion of Black women hops on the Breakfast Club morning show, where no identifiably Black women are hosts are the show. Sure, there is Black adjacent Angela Yee. But there is also notorious daft Charlamegne who looks up to Tariq Nasheeds and published a book about Black Privilege because yay for respectability politics. Rich Dennis stammered through the interview, and Shea Moisture has issued an apology.
I’m not calling for a boycott. I believe that educating consumers does the best here. And there is several things to think about when considering how to view Shea Moisture.
Overall there is never little transparency in the beauty and hair industry. Companies can pass as “Black owned” without ever hiring a Black woman in executive and senior-management suites. Companies pass by, by hiring Black women in executive and senior-management suites while hiding that they are not Black owned. What does it mean when clap and applaud the major brands like Pantene, Dove, and Cantu do front-facing marketing pointed at Black women, as they expand into the Black market. And then we clap back at independently owned brands like Shea Moisture and Carol’s Daughter that seek to compete by expanding their market?
For me personally how you speak and market to Black woman in order to collect that Black woman coin matters on more than just one level. It’s not a singular answer here. Black women need to be hired in leadership roles, it’s just about one or two Black people owning the company and profiting. Black women need to be hired and need to be included in the advertising. Fortunately the same way that Shea Moisture came up, is the same way we are able to support the more transparent brands that are headed up by Black women and invest greatly in their community of Black women consumers.
With Shea Moisture it’s always been a question mark about their lack of Black women (outside of the HR department) in senior roles. On the flip, Shea Moisture does invest a lot in the Black community. They’re one of the only natural hair brands that would pay and equitable and fair rate for sponsorships early on. I do believe the natural hair girls on the interwebs are so undervalued compared to all the dough cosmetic companies through into their influencers. But Shea Moisture did and does good in that arena. When none of our YouTube networks were bothering with Essence Festival, Shea Moisture was the one that brought influencers out. My time in the natural hair scene, they were very accessible and supportive when I was consistently getting snubbed by other companies. Girl I could do a whole anti-haul and it would be nothing short of messy. All that to say I’m not mad or looking sideways at Mr. Dennis when he makes that claim that Shea Moisture has invested a lot in the community. I might look at him sideways tho when he claims transparency about how they treat the communities in Ghana they get shea butter from, but then I would have to hang ethical globalization over EVERYONE’s head, ain’t got time for that today.
Shea Moisture has definitely invested a lot, but they are also the top performing brand on the shelves, blowing folks out the water by large large large margins. Their brand identity largely hinges on the support and advocacy that Black women have done for them. They’ve been very smart in how they respond in kind, until they went to diversify and expand their reach. After all this time, there should absolutely be a Black woman executive in the marketing/advertising department. For all the investment Shea Moisture has done they are not past being criticized and called out for side stepping.
This story about viewing all the pieces but not viewing them as stand alones. That just doesn’t make sense in accord with how the review process goes, especially when social media is such a big deal and that reduces clips to 30-60 seconds, as standalone pieces. That you thought to throw a narrative in about a white woman hating her blonde hair?!? Shea Moisture has been expanding for a minute now, especially within the Latina audience, and they’ve been doing it fine like this move from the ethnic to the general beauty aisle, they were real slick last year with their advertising. This year they want full out, WE WANT YOU BECKY and I just don’t understand why wasn’t a Black woman included in this process? That needs to be fixed asapitly.
Honestly I thought if they fixed that they wouldn’t be hurt, and I still don’t think Shea Moisture will be hurt in the long run. Now supporting a Black woman hater, not offering to apologize for that, means that Shea Moisture supports that ideology of Tariq Nasheed and I cannot get down that with that. The amount of homophobia and Black woman blaming that man perpetuates is damning to the whole of Shea Moisture’s core audience. I can’t mess with them as long as they’re slurping up that kool-aid. I’ll leave to decide what type of consumer you want to be. You’re dollar matters, decide where to place it.
The author Jouelzy
Jouelzy is a #SmartBrownGirl, Author, Vlogger & Writer, addressing lifestyle issues that impact women of color from beauty, culture to technology. With 162k+ subscribers she’s reshaping the image of women of color, who honor their right to revel in their diversity.