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Black Twitter Called Out This Hair Company After Its Campaign With White Women

The CEO told BuzzFeed that black women "didn't see themselves as represented in this post as they should have, as we should have featured them."

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Hair care brand Shea Moisture recently released this new campaign in an attempt to stop the "hair hate."

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A few days after the video surfaced, a lot of the brand's supporters took to Twitter to express how the message was tone deaf for multiple reasons, one being that the campaign should have included more black women who make up the brand's core consumer.

To clarify, one woman explained that the disappointment was not because Shea Moisture included white women, but because they had excluded black women whose spending power has largely benefited the brand.

And one person pointed out how even that was a fail on the representation front.

Twitter: @ItsMary_Monroe

Often when brands need to check the "diversity box," they employ a very specific person of color whose look is more racially ambiguous and reflective of European beauty standards.

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After all the backlash, Shea Moisture took to Facebook to apologize, admitting that it had "really f-ed this one up" and that moving forward, Shea Moisture would better represent "our community... so that the women who have led this movement never feel that their hair journey is minimized in any way."

Facebook: SheaMoisture

"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…"

And because there's never a dull moment on the Internet, people also used the moment to crack a few jokes.

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Like how other black hair care brands were probably taking notes on what NOT to do.

All other black hair companies looking in the #sheamoisture tag like

And the running joke that when some black people "make it," they conveniently forget the people who helped put them on.

BuzzFeed reached out to Richelieu Dennis, Founder and CEO of Sundial Brands, Shea Moisture's parent company, for comment regarding the backlash. He said black women "didn't see themselves as represented in this post as they should have, as we should have featured them."

"What this really shows is the love and passion people have for Shea Moisture, and them wanting to make sure that we deliver and serve them in the way that no one else has served them before," the CEO said. "As we grow, what this has sparked, is a conversation about how women of color have been leading this cultural revolution around beauty and owning their identity and beauty and wanting to make sure the brand that came with them is not leaving them."

Dennis said that "the comments show people want to make sure that we are not growing business at their expense," reassuring Shea Moisture customers that 80% of the brand's innovation in the past year and a half has been for women with coarse hair.

"The work we do in the community that we serve continues to lead the way in how we are driving growth, so we're not going to leave this audience to go to another.

"It's difficult to imagine that people would think we don't want to serve them. We will continue to focus on them, but are also growing and servicing people who have challenges around hair.

"We have to be cognizant of the fact that the cultural challenges our core base experiences should not be ignored and should continue to be uplifted. The backlash was painful because we know what it is what we stand for and try to do, standing for black women and also humanity."

In the meantime, it seems as if a large group of Shea Moisture's core market won't be supporting the brand until it better represents them on all fronts.

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