Shea Moisture - We Not Finna Do This.

Shea Moisture White Women

Dear Shea Moisture,

As a blogger, writer, influencer, consumer, and most importantly Black woman - I need to let you know something, straight up.

We ain't finna do this.

Shea Moisture White Women
Nope. Image: Shea Moisture
Not today, Shea Moisture. Not tomorrow, either. In fact, you can pretty much X out any day on the calendar before Jesus comes back.

There is no way in hell I'm going to sit back and let you so cavalierly equate "hair hate" to what Black women have endured in this country since 1619.

You probably thought you were sending a message of unity, love, and "breaking down walls" with your newest little video featuring a mixed-ethnicity looking woman (I'm pretty sure she's an Instagram influencer - I've seen her face before, but the name escapes me), alongside three other white women.

The natural girl (we'll claim her in the name of the diaspora) shared stories about picking spitballs out of her hair, and having to learn how to fully embrace her texture and volume.

I'll save my side eyes, because the fact that your representation of Blackness came only in the form of mainstream acceptability is secondary only to the gross overrepresentation of white women and the equation of their "I don't know what to do with my hair today" lamentations to being told that what grows out of our scalp isn't professional, clean, or acceptable.

Shea Moisture White Women
Image: Shea Moisture
Mixed girl aside, we've got some bigger fish to fry, Shea Moisture.

When I first reported on your investment relationship with Bain Capital, I tried to remain optimistic. And in some ways, I've seen the fruits of that partnership in your R&D, and the proliferation of so many new lines and products, I've given up keeping count.

But since then, you've been sliding down a slippery slope on social media - and I'm not the first person to notice. The first time we saw a shift in your marketing, it was jarring - but in some ways, we tried to be understanding of your desire to grow. We gave you a little leeway (but still a strong side eye), with the Breaking the Walls campaign. Besides, we all love Mahogany Curls and Nap85.

Perhaps instead of seeing your shift as a desire to grow and supporting you tacitly, we should have sounded the alarm. Because it's looking a little less like you're trying to say "everybody gets love" - and more like you're abandoning the demographic that put you on the map, aka Black women.

Shea Moisture White Women
How does one have "hair hate" when you are the literal standard of beauty in this country? HOW? Image: Shea Moisture
Trust me when I say this, Shea Moisture. We've seen it before, and we don't take too kindly to the shenanigans and disrespect. Just ask Carol's Daughter.

Other bloggers may laugh and ki-ki with you, tag you in their pics to try and get chose, or altogether ignore this issue for fear of polarizing their followers.

I. Ain't. Them.

I'm going to tell you straight up, because my loyalties lie with the women you've begun to distance yourself from. My allegiance is to my darker-skinned, kinky-haired sistas who are constantly overlooked and disrespected after being milked for support by companies. And my coins to go the brands that consistently uplift, support, encourage, and prioritize Black women unashamedly.

As much as I want to believe that you've got the best interests of Black women at heart - I'm finding it increasingly difficult to understand how a self-proclaimed minority-owned and family-operated company with a Black man as CEO could be so abhorrently tone deaf and willfully blind.

At this point, it's not a misstep because you don't have Black people in the room to pull your coattails.

It's an intentional diss of Remy Ma proportions.

Shea Moisture White Women
Hair hate is NOT the same as discrimination. Don't get it twisted. Image: Shea Moisture
Like seriously, Shea Moisture - as a brand, how in the HELL do you story map, script, film, edit, and publish a video and:
  • Overrepresent white women
  • Completely omit darker skin and kinky hair
  • Equate one woman's insecurity over her red hair (and subsequently dyeing it blonde)
  • Exaggerate another woman's confusion over how to style her hair
...And not nobody, not one soul at Sundial raised a concern, or gave a side-eye in the creative briefing meeting?

Because we just gonna ignore the fact that the the army gave natural hair the full-blown "nah". And that it's fully legal to discriminate against natural hair in the workplace. I guess we should just forget about the little girls being threatened with expulsions, being assaulted by students and teachers - over wearing their natural hair.

Because everybody gets love, right?

Assault, discrimination, verbal abuse, and the psychological trauma of constantly having our images reinforced as the antithesis of beauty - that's the same as "hair hate", right Shea Moisture?

I'm sure you know this based on your own market research, but the natural hair community (and your brand if we're honest) was built on the backs of Black women seeking out a space for self love, education, and sharing information about caring for afro-textured hair.

And by the way, #TeamNatural will ALWAYS be for Black women. #makenomistakes #noteverybodygetslove #andthatsok

But back to the matter at hand. I'm not mad that you want to appeal to more people. Get your coins. Hell, I'm not even mad about white women buying your products. I really don't care. Honestly, truly I don't. The problem comes when you begin to prioritize white women who (let's be honest) have entire stores, magazines, commercials, and billboards dedicated to meeting their beauty needs. Getting a section in Target, CVS, or Sally's dedicated to natural hair for Black women is only a fairly recent phenomenon.

Shea Moisture White Women
Not a stock image. A screenshot from the video. Image: Shea Moisture
And to add a mountain of insult to injury, you attempted to align our very real struggles to embrace our hair and the discrimination we face for having the audacity to wear our hair naturally - to white women with insecurities over hair color and styling decisions.


We ain't doing this. I tried to warn you before.

And because I'm about that proactive-speak-with-my-dollars-and-my-words life, I'm going to share with my followers a few brands that are:
  • Outspoken about issues affecting the Black community domestically and globally
  • Unashamed in their prioritization and valuing of Black women
  • Committed to not changing their formulas to accommodate a wider diversity of hair types
Because everybody (else) getting love shouldn't come at my expense.

Someone Who Ain't With Your (White) Nonsense


I wouldn't be thorough if I didn't mention that since the time of this post, Shea Moisture has issued an apology via social media:
"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…


Somebody, somewhere might be cool with this apology (but from the looks of the comment section, y'all ain't having it). Personally, I'm not at all. Let's break down a few of the more salient points, shall we?

Wow, okay – so guys, listen, we really f-ed this one up
The interjection "wow" connotes an element of surprise - as though they were genuinely shocked at the amount of backlash they received. Like, really? I refuse to believe that again, a "proudly minority-owned and family operated" beauty brand with a Black CEO couldn't see this coming. Don't play. You knew the risk, and took it - betting that reaching more white women would offset the potential backlash from Black women. Pro Tip: Never bet against Black.

...we are pulling this piece immediately because it does not represent what we intended to communicate.
Yes it did. You just didn't expect the backlash to be so swift and so powerful.

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...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. 
Two points here, and I'm done. One, why didn't you ensure, double-check, or cross-reference during any of the fifty-leven steps involved from concept to final cut, that Black women were represented? And two, how are you apologizing to Black women but you can't use the term BLACK WOMEN explicitly? The women who have led this movement are Black. Like damn, you gotta erase us in the apology, too?

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...
The copywriter in me is itching to edit this run-on sentence. Syntax aside, I take issue with whoever decided that Black women aren't deserving enough to be addressed directly. Today wasn't the day to lump us into the "WOC" category. This was Shea Moisture's one opportunity to address their affront to Black women explicitly. The Black women who built your brand. The Black women who became evangelists of your products. The Black women who made countless YouTube videos, blog posts, shared pictures on Instagram, and recommended your products on the aisles of Target stores - all without seeing a dime from you. The absolute, bottom barrel, very least Shea Moisture could have done was address the women they wronged by name.

Oh - and an apology is not the time to brag about your accomplishments and previous good deeds. Stick to the script.

Thank you, #SheaFam, for being there for us, even when we make mistakes. Here’s to growing and building together…
Don't count your chickens before they hatch. The demographic of your #SheaFam is changing faster than you can organize that apology BOGO sale at Walgreens.

And lastly, this was no mistake. It was calculated and intentional. A mistake is an error in calculation or judgement caused by poor reasoning or insufficient knowledge - neither of which Shea Moisture can claim. They believed the grass would be greener...

Looking for Black owned brands to support? You're in the RIGHT PLACE! The Mane Objective has a loooooong history of supporting Black owned brands - before it became trendy or cool. Here's the 411:

The sales are off, but this is a DEEEEEP list of Black owned brands!

Let chat in the comment section about this one, fam. I welcome all sides and all opinions but I have one rule - keep it respectful. Leggoooooo!


  1. Thank you for writing this. I have followed you for the past couple years on this blog. I just told my sister yesterday I wasn't using Sheamoisture products anymore. The first being that their prices keep going up and the second being my hair doesn't respond as well to their products as it used.Thanks for introducing me to other brands to use.

    1. I totally agree. Great article!!! I too have noticed a shift in the effectiveness of their products. Technically I had moved on by trying other product lines but now I'm more motivated to stop giving them ANY of my money.

    2. I've noticed the price increase a few months ago. The hair products never was in my favor, but I love the lotion & soap (SM Hibiscus & Coconut). I only buy it when it's on sale bogo/ b1g1.

  2. You hit it right on the nose with ALL OF THIS!

  3. I applaud you 100% and I will not stand for SM shenanigans. Those unnecessary, stupid long product names we're already getting on my nerves.

  4. This post is EVERYTHING. You nailed it. I mean nailed it, especially your points about the historical narrative of black women and their hair.

  5. I agree with this 100%. I'm 21, but started using SheaMoisture when it was first shelved in Target probably in middle school. (I used Carol's Daughter back in the the day too)The fact that they want to call themselves a multicultural brand is fine, but they can't deny that the reason they are well known is because of the natural hair community is just wrong. They also used this whole Sofi Tucker backstory to get us on board to support black excellence in a sense. With this ad SheaMoisture might as well promote their skincare line comparing irritation of having acne to a brown girl hating her skin because of the hardship it affords her. Its utterly disrespectful to ignore the fact that black women have been and in some cases still are treated as the opposite of beautiful. I also have had issues with larger brands not saying anything about the murder of black men and women by police over the past couple of years especially last summer. This is why I support black business that are pro black and support more than black dollars. It may be pricey, but its worth it to me. They will NOT be receiving my money and I will not accept any of their insincere apologies. This ad was only another nail in their coffin for me.

  6. Your post summed up my issues with this whole debacle. Don't equate my Black natural hair issues with a white woman's need to color her hair blonde.

  7. Thanks for keeping it real. Its been a slow but steady slope most of us saw coming like you said, heading like Carol's daughter despite the claims it wasn't but the proof is in the obvious marketing. They can do what they want but to shaft black women is disrespectful. They can have international/white money.
    In the year 2017 there are just too many brands for me to act hurt. I take joy in my ability to buy FUBU when I want so nothing lost Shea Bain its been real.

  8. My OH my! You kept it all the way 100% REAL! I was too excited reading this when my girl shared the link.... Done with them (SheaMoisture), There is no coming back from this for me. Your response was EVERYFREAKINGTHING love.

    1. Yesssssssss that clap back

  9. Shame on SheaMoisture... I can't believe they would even think that that video was something to be excited about. Who ever is in charge of their marketing should be fired. If they wanted to do something multi-cultural.. they should take notes from the United Colors of Benneton ads from back in the day. How dare they bring up "ohh whoa is me. what should I do with my hair today?" WTF is that??? Shea Moisture... your products are good... well.. actually.. I don't like Shea Butter... so I never really cared for it... but NOW... this.. your marketing sucks... when companies start to smell themselves and think that they are much bigger than what they are is when they start to heading downward....So Shea Moisture.. you better rethink your branding strategies.. stop being greedy and be loyal to who put you azz on the map. Thanks for this post... keep up your awesome work!

  10. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! All the side-eye i get in corporate America, my natural hair ain't going no where!!!

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  12. After all of these years of being called nappy head. Now this. I have a whole company who supposedly designed hair products for us kinky curlies to turn around and slap me in the face for not loving my hair. I would like to see the hand of one white girl who has endured such hate. Bye Shea Moisture. We're done.

  13. This post is everything that needed to be said, plus some extra. Thank You. There was a time, before social media and the ability of black women to band together, when this kind of thing would have been swept under the rug. The one or two black voices that would have expressed dissent loudly enough to be heard would have been tacitly dismissed. But when we express ourselves as a collective like this, it can't be dismissed or swept under. It's powerful and effective. #sayourname I'm so proud!

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  16. I was so offended by that! She decided that her red hair wasn't pretty and thought that blondes had more fun.

    What did that have to do with anything?

  17. Thank you for this. Well said. I would really love to know how can a woman that's not of color understand the struggles of natural hair when WE are taught that our hair isn't beautiful enough.

  18. The need to be dragged to hell. 😈

  19. Great article!You are definitely right! A company should never neglect their main consumer group to try and appeal to another group. Their is not one product that a white women would use of shea moisture. So they must be about to change their ingredients or something bc i doubt a white woman would put jbco on her hair.

  20. Gurrrrrrl! You ain't never lied about them knowing full dern well what they were doing from "any of the fifty-leven steps from concept to final cut." Preach! I'm a professional actress in Hollywood and have been so for over a decade. I say that because I go to commercial and industrial castings with regularity and they knew who they were looking for well before the casting session. The breakdowns (casting notices), would be very clear in type, race, hair color, hair length, hair texture and every and anything else physical about the talent they were looking for. The company wanted certain "types" so that they could appeal to certain "types." So for them to act all "whuuuuuut?" and wide-eyed after they got caught is a joke. #bye

  21. Thank you for writing such a perfect response. Just everything!

  22. First time reader, new subscriber. Thank you for expressing what I didn't have time to do.

  23. So Shea Moisture couldn't just say Women of Color but instead used the acronym WOC? Bye������

    1. Yes, I agree. They could not say Women of Color. smh!!! I stop using their Shea Moisture products a long time ago. My hair wasn't responding to the products like it used to.

    2. LMAO @ "WOC"... because like, Chinese and Indian women also have kinky hair, right? We're totally not the only race of people whose default hair type is tightly coiled so it was totally important to include other WOC in that statement instead of addressing Black women directly. *eyeroll*

  24. I felt every emotion reading this. I was so outraged by this garbage ass stunt they tried to pull. Black woman and their bair have been through too much for this. They better put some respect on that. Love your article well said!

  25. I couldn't have said it better myself. I'm done with shea Moisture. I'd just found a product of theirs that I loved, but you know what? I can find a replacement!


    But there are other videos that a lot of people aren't even aware off. I totally get that the one that's blown up with the white women and the mixed girl in no way represent the majority of SM users but that's not the only video....

  27. Girl! You put it so beautifully I could not have said it better myself. The part that irked me more than anything is trying to equate 'I'm having a bad hair day" from someone who is the standard of beauty to YEARS of hair hate - being told that your natural, God-given hair is not socially acceptable. For several black women, myself included Shea Moisture didn't represent just a product - they represented a brand that lifted up a demographic that has always been grossly under represented in mainstream media.

    Who the hell reviewed that ad and thought it would be a good idea?

  28. Thank you for very expertly breaking down this ridiculousness lol. I mean real talk don't they have the story of why they started making products on the products? I think it goes a little something like this...."we couldn't find anything for our black hair so we created shea moisture"....and then they come out with that ad....wowwww #staywoke

  29. I feel so bad for the disenfranchised who were producing this product. Now because of this they may feel the effects of this protest against thought process that produced this ad

  30. I was wondering why Sally's, of all places, had a sale on their whole line. I bought up a couple of them on Monday morning. Wish I would've seen this before I went but my head has been stuck in books lately and not online. Oh the time I run out I should be able to find another brand...just as I did with Carol's Daughter

  31. Whoa, shame, shame, shame on SM! I enjoyed their Products, but after this stunt I cannot support them. Thank you for setting them straight. Don't bite the hand that feed/fed you SM! We are a force to be reckoned with; power to the black sista! Much love, stay woke!

  32. Much like you (and tons of other people), I stopped fooling with Shea Moisture a while ago. I only had a couple of products that REALLY worked well on my hair, but I could live without them. They're too quick to come out with new products, all while changing the formulas of their most popular products. The 1 or 2 products of theirs I have in my closet will be the last time I purchase anything from them. I had a feeling something in the milk wasn't clean last year, when I started spotting the "diversified" ads. This so-called "campaign" was a joke. I didn't get too worked up over it because I stopped buying their products a while ago, but there are still people who have been loyal to the brand from the beginning and it's not fair to them. The fact that we're just finding out that everybody in the boardroom is white explains all of this Tom Foolery. At first, I thought the apology might've been sincere until I read your post. LOL!

    Black people spends TONS of money on haircare and our dollars matter. There are tons of smaller brands who have the same price point and are better for my hair quality-wise (Curls, Camille Rose Naturals, Mielle Organics, The Mane Chance, etc.). New brands with better products are popping up fast and a BOGO sale at the drugstore isn't gonna change that.

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  34. Shea moisture is good to use. It is important to use good products for the skin. Good moisture skin is the sign of healthy skin.

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