Pepsi, and Shea Moisture, and White women….Oh My! Companies have really been trying something new lately in the way they’re communicating with their audience. And we are not having it! And by ‘WE’ I mean Black people. Majority of us were not at all happy with the lovely Kylie Jenner handing a smiling White cop a Pepsi to quiet a crowd of people who were protesting for an unknown reason. Now, Shea Moisture decides to play us by using White women in their commercial to advertise a product that was originally for Black people. HOW DARE THEY!? White women using our product? I don’t use Tresemmè and I know they certainly do not use the hair products that I use to untangle the nappy kitchen at the end of my neck! Since when did White people use Jamaican castor oil and coconut oils in their hair? They don’t! I know that and you know that and so do these companies that are advertising these seemingly ridiculous commercials. I think what most companies really need to address is how do we include others, but yet keep a product for who it’s actually intended for ?
See, many companies are now doing this “thing” where they want to include everyone. Thats the wave now. Inclusivity ( even for those who have dominated everything for years) ! *side eye* Its happening in our schools, communities, work places, everywhere! Everyone feels better when they are included in things. Are these companies doing it wrong? Or are we as a Black community just not ready for inclusivity? For so long we’ve desired something of our own! Now that we finally have it, we have to share it with those who it was NOT made for? Ugh! Way to influence cultural appropriation Shea Moisture!
When I was younger I would see White women on mostly every hair care commercial. I mean, they may have had the occasional light skinned Black woman; so light skinned you couldn’t even tell she was Black, but never Black women with the thick, kinky, natural hair. I wondered where I was in this commercial? I was no where. I wanted to be included in these commercials. I wanted the silky, long unnatural, non-kinky hair. So I ended up getting a relaxer! (Womp…Womp) ! When I got older, I realized that my hair is not supposed to be straight and long and I do not fit in to that group of people who use Tresemme-like hair products. Blue Magic and Pink Moisturizer were my go to’s. I wanted to see myself and people who look like me on those commercials, but thats not for me. And that’s okay, because I have hair products that are for ME with people who have my hair texture and type posted all over their shampoo and conditioner bottles.
So, dear companies inclusivity is cool, but what happens when you include other people, is that you take away from the group of people the product is actually meant for, which essentially is the essence of the product. DO NOT FORGET YOUR DAY 1’s. I’ve never seen my face in the Tresemme commercials or Garnier or Pantene…but Inclusivity is allowing White women to be shown in hair commercials with products that aren’t necessarily for them? There is a very fine line between inclusivity, and keeping whats meant to be kept for that community in that specific community; and sometimes despite the line’s almost invisible nature, it should not be crossed. This just pushes us to design a more creative way to include all people without crossing this line. Question is, how do companies do so effectively?