I’m sure many of you already know about the ill-conceived “Hair Hate” commercial that SheaMoisture released a few days ago. So as to not beat a dead horse, I won’t regurgitate the details of the ad, but if you haven’t seen it or need a reminder (why, I don’t know?), you can check it out HERE.
Now it is important to mention that SheaMoisture has released a public apology and pulled the commercial. However, their actions have not deterred a large number of their core consumer market: Black women, from expressing their anger, disappointment, and feelings of betrayal towards the company. Many have stated that they are boycotting the hair care line and a number of articles have been published listing other Black-owned natural hair care lines to buy from instead. Conversely, there have proponents who believe that boycotting the company is a bit extreme and unnecessary. They point to the numerous other commercials that SheaMoisture has produced, that were more inclusive and respectful of their core consumer market, and believe that this one mistake shouldn’t deter consumers from still using their products. While I can understand the latter point of view, I find it vital to explain the power of a single mistake.
Mistakes infringe upon an extremely necessary component to any relationship: trust.
Your significant other can be the best boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife on the planet, but the moment they make a mistake that causes you to question their integrity, their intent, or your own trust in them…it casts a shadow on their previous good deeds. That’s not to say that the two of you can’t get past that mistake (depending on the severity of it); however, the mistake needs to be addressed and your feelings, which are valid, need to expressed to the offender — especially if you are to move past it and heal.
This ‘mistake vs. trust’ dynamic is not unique to personal relationships. As consumers, we develop relationships with brands. It is the burden of the brand to build a trust between themselves and their targeted consumers. And as such, they have an obligation to be held accountable at anytime that they have done something to break that trust. It is then their duty to make amends in whatever way they can. SheaMoisture has begun to do just that, however one can argue that their efforts may not be genuine as they have come after public shaming. Nonetheless, it is a personal choice for each consumer to determine if they will continue to support the brand, even after the brand has attempted to make amends.
As in romantic relationships, some people choose to stay after a mistake has been made, while others may deem it to be a deal breaker and part ways. That choice is an individual one and neither party should be made to feel guilty for their own decision. The same can be said for Black women and SheaMoisture. Whether you choose to give the company another chance or decide to part ways, know that your feelings are valid and your choose is just that: YOURS!
To my kinky, curly, coily, melanated sisters who have been feeling some type of way because of this debacle: stay beautiful, stay Black, stay magical, and never forget that we matter!
Cover photo: SheaMoisture/Getty Images