Why I Have Compassion Towards Shea Moisture As a Black Woman


By Bri’Ann Stephens

Do you all remember when Shea Moisture released a controversial ad for their "Hair Hate" campaign? Well, I want to talk about a point of view that was quietly ignored.

The ad featured mostly white women even though the majority of Shea Moisture’s supporters and customers are black women. Immediately following the ad, the company received a lot of backlash from their black supporters.

Black women were mad because they felt as though Shea Moisture didn't represent them as black women. I, myself, even agree that the ad could have featured so many more black faces. I remember seeing only two black women and even still, neither one of those girls represented me. For the ad to promote loving all hair types and textures, it did not do that.

Although the ad could have done a better job at representing all women, I have a little compassion towards the founders.

Hear me out.

I am a black entrepreneur who owns a women empowerment company. I am a black woman who strives to appeal to all races. There are many struggles we face as black female entrepreneurs.

One being the line between what's too black and what isn't black enough. If we are too black, we lose our "white" audience and if we aren't "black" enough we are considered sell outs.

In this case, Shea Moisture was considered a sell out.

Again, the ad could have been better, but do they not deserve a little compassion?

It's hard being a black women entrepreneur in America striving to break down the barriers. Like Shea Moisture, I strive for diversity. Though the ad had a poor choice of models, I get what they were trying to do. The execution just sucked.

Let's not burn their products to the ground. They had the right idea in mind. Diversity in every area is a key component to peace.

In America today, we need peace more than ever. I am a firm believer in being the change you want to see. The ad however, just wasn't diverse enough. That doesn't mean we should not support Shea Moisture. They made a mistake. We all make mistakes. Let's give them another chance to get it right.

Want more of Bri? Follow her on Instagram, @briann.stephens.