Controversy At Shea Moisture’s New Ad. What Do Y’all Think?

Yesterday Shea Moisture released the first of an ad series to promote their products and to say black women were outraged, might be the understatement of the year.

Before I go any further, watch the ad for yourself:

I was honestly truly disappointed with the ad because last week I sat and watched for at least 30 minutes, Richelieu Dennis the CEO of Sundial Brands reaffirm his commitment to the roots of Shea Moisture and black women in particular on Facebook Live.

I agreed with everything he said because black women literally helped to give that company the momentum it needed at the very beginning so its continued commitment to our needs is only natural. (or so we thought!)

When the ad was released Twitter went nuts, here is a snip:

After the outrage, Shea Moisture released a statement on their facebook page:

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…

But women were still upset and did not buy the apology either:

Wow, at least your apology and commerical are consistent in their lack of mention or sight of black women. Maybe your PR department and your marketing team need some of the “erasure” you seem insistent on perpetrating on your core customers? BLACK WOMEN

Then there was this one:

GTFOH…don’t try to issue damage control now! And to try to swear when your trying to issue a public apology like your trying to go out of your way to show your “down with the blacks” is even more offensive

If we were to look at this from a business stand point we understand that Shea Moisture needs to grow and expand and to do that they have to include other demographics including white women. The question we have is can Shea Moisture expand and still be inclusive of their core base?

In my opinion they should have had one comercial with all the women they represent, represented in the video! Let me know your thoughts below.

By the way if you are interested in what Richelieu Dennis of Shea moisture said on Hellobeautiful Live just a week ago, watch below.

How do you feel about this whole thing? Would representation of a black woman with kinky hair have been enough to avoid outrage? Comment below!

About Petra

Hi I'm Petra Lomax , a staff writer and editor for . I am Jamaican born and raised and moved to the United States in my early 20's. I have a BA in Political Science and International relations as well as an MBA and a Masters In Project Management. I love travel, culture and anything that has to do with creative media and business.

About Petra

Hi I'm Petra Lomax , a staff writer and editor for . I am Jamaican born and raised and moved to the United States in my early 20's. I have a BA in Political Science and International relations as well as an MBA and a Masters In Project Management. I love travel, culture and anything that has to do with creative media and business.


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Lorraine Hillhouse

Never used these products.

Sophronia Sang

I laughed. Shea Moisture been tripping. I found that head and shoulders detangles my child’s hair just as well. I’d rather spend my money with them than this fake brand. Like one commenter on Twitter said, we built it up, we can take it right down.

Nellie Buckner

Very Sad

Dabney Ross Jones

I can’t say I didn’t expect this. When they did that break the aisle campaign it was only a matter of time before they wanted to break the connection with the very demographic that put them in the map. However, most products geared to the natural movement begin to shift their focus from women with tightly coiled hair to Loosely coiled hair. When the bloggers on YouTube begin to shift their focus to being sponsored it also assured a change and how products were being marketed to black women. This is disappointing but it’s not surprising. And we are all to blame for it with our desire for curly hair instead of moisturized hair or healthy hair with curl products begin to be more important than products that helped us Foster healthier strands. So I will not be using their products not because of the formula change but because I don’t want to support a business that started with my money and shifted to another idea that doesn’t involve helping my strand Be Healthy.

Genell Smith


Daphne Dantzler

The company was partially bought by L’Oreal about two years ago. The original owner still hold 51% of the company. However, they should have done better on that ad.

Laura Marie

These people are in the business of making money period. That means appealing to a broad base of customers in order to increase their market share. And really I feel like we have bigger issues to worry about but that’s just me so

Sélène Brn

Thank God i dont get offended that easily… u would think they insulted someone by the responses.

Marian R. Quarles

Yes black women…they had one “sista” when that product was meant for natural sistas yes it’s cool adding more minority women for a bigger audience but don’t forget where you started from

Shelly-Ann Stephenson

They should have run it by a focus group before putting it out in public

January Johnson

I will still use their products and I’m glad they issued a statement about it. However I don’t think it’s about getting offended but more that a company that built itself off of women with different hair types …(4b,4c etc)are now airing ads that don’t include those women. Their main customer base isn’t stupid. You can expand your brand without pandering ‍♀️

Deborah Graves

It’s hair care if it makes them feel better about themselves them whatsoever it doesn’t change anything .

Gary Gill

Too many people getting up in their emotions now days.. They did nothing wrong..Did he or any of the actors say anything derogatory about black women..? all of those complaining are complaining why..? Bcuz it was made to seem not exclusively like a black product..? Was it off in its wording or description..possibly..but there was no malice intended..people need to focus on real issues

Riannah Gayle

It is a real issue. Exclusion is a form of oppression. Black women are tired of being ignored by the mainstream media. It is black women (their primary customer) that made this brand the success that it is. Yet when they have the opportunity to present an image of their brand through this ad campaign, the image does not look like us. So to you, don’t ignore real issues.

Gary Gill

So they aren’t supposed to better sales and their overall by promoting it as a color or raceless product..?

Gary Gill

On a purely business aspect..they have to also look at people and situations such as mine..I am a white man with a beautiful ebony queen..the love of my life..we have 3 beautiful wife uses products from this will my children as they grow my question is..why can’t this company gear an ad towards me and my race too..?

Gary Gill

And as for the black actress in the ad..her part and words speak to me and mine on a truth level..not on a daughters have that same hair style

Bineyta Lemama

Riannah Gayle black women use tresseme products too but it is mainly designed for “white people” hair so what do u say about that? At the end of the day, they are marketing their products the best way they know.

Riannah Gayle

Gary marketing products as raceless usually just means the exclusion of women of colour from the picture, it’s the opposite of progressive, ‘let’s just pretend they (black women) don’t exist’. Bineyta- Tresemme’s core customer base is white women… So your point?

Riannah Gayle

Bineyta just to add, the best way they know how isn’t good enough because they’ve alienated their primary customer. They’ve admitted they have f’ d up and pulled the add. You may be happy to roll over and accept their mistake but their customers are not, acquiesence never solves anything.

Bineyta Lemama

My point is stop using the race card at every turn.. Enough already. Black people always wanting to be seen as victims is sad actually. This is a company advertising their products for a broad audience. Be it black or white. If you don’t like it, don’t buy their products simple

Océane Chl

Riannah Gayle WOC are not excluded since there is another video with WOC only in the same campaign but black people only care about this because their feelings have been hurt. Shea Moisture is know to be a brand for black people, so they want white people to know that they can buy their products too. I don’t see what’s wrong with that.

Gary Gill

Riannah Gayle you keep saying exclusion..yet there is a beautiful black actress in the well as stated above there are ads with exclusively only WOC…My point is is this offends you..How about I get offended bcuz there is no dumb white dad instructions for doing his bi-racial children’s hair on any products..? Sounds petty right..? That’s how it sounds for many of us hearing you essentially say they did something in a racially biased way..

Gary Gill

And for the record Tressemme would be better off to add WOC to their ads more also

Riannah Gayle

Gary I appreciate the black model they’ve included in their advert though note that usually this is the the most black most women see in beauty campaigns these days (those being the closest to white as posaible, ith the fairest of skin and curly hair). Don’t quite understand how not having instructions on a bottle compares to the exclusion of a demographic from the ad campaign of a product primarily consumed by that excluded demographic…Don’t try and make it petty because it’s not and it’s especially important for yourself having biracial daughters to understand my perspective so please try to keep an open mind. P.s. I use Tresemme too and I agree.

Gary Gill

The leaving off instructions was a joke…but as for the was unintentional and honestly hurt no one..if was unintentional and hurt someone or intentional and hurt someone or degraded someone then I would be upset too..but in this case it was just a company trying to cross barriers

Tammie Matthews

I was an loyal user of Shea Moisture products as well as my daughter and most of my Afro texture haired friends. WE meaning black women and Afro textured haired women are always “left out” of the narrative. Black women spend billions of dollars annually on our hair and hair care products. So for us to build a company, that catered to us when most companies ignored, and have that company essentially slap us in the face. It more than hurts. To ignore us in the media and also change the formula?!?!
The one black girl they had does not represent me AT ALL. My hair doesn’t look like that…AT ALL. As much money as I’ve spent with that company…where’s my representation. I’m not saying don’t get your “diversity dollars” but don’t step on the folks that put you on…ie the kinky, nappy, tightly coiled, textured, black ass women that told their girlfriends, shouted you out oN FB, IG, YouTube, etc.

Gary Gill

My daughter’s have different hair very tight (kinky) other a looser curl type..very silky…so I careless …we gonna continue to use the product..and as stated and mine will NOT be petty over something like this that’s all enclusive…

Sharon Pace

All teenage girls need to see someone who resembles them in beauty ads. Smh on people ignoring this truth.

Everything is not always about you.

ladee neenah
ladee neenah

Teenage girls need to see representatives of them selves being successful in real life. We need to rep our beauty in the real world and stop expecting advertisers to do it for us.

Alice Hawkins

It’s business. They have African American consumers, but want other nationalities know it’s for them also. It’s call wisdom.

Gary Gill

Exactly..they meant no harm or to offend no one…

Gary Gill

And honestly went above and beyond to apologize fast and in a direct way accepted any mistakes they could be blamed for

Alice Hawkins

Yes, I saw the apology. I didn’t feel they needed to…but again it’s business. We live in America a melting pot of people. Why make a product for only one Nationality…it should be for everyone. That’s just me.

Olympia Ortega

I’ve noticed once “black” companies start diversifying with hair care products they start changing the formulas and the products no longer work as well for black hair, especially natural black hair.

Alice Hawkins

I actually saw that some have said…just that, the formula has changed.???????? They should’ve created a separate line…if that’s the case.

Olympia Ortega

Which is a shame, seeing as we have so few products as it is that cater to our hair.

Pykaso Favela Wright

That’s exactly what happened Olympia

Alice Hawkins

Actually there are plenty of products on the market geared to us. We are the reason they created them. This isn’t my choice, too much money for my pockets….even though…they are in the middle with regard to price….because I seen a lot higher than them. But, they didn’t work on mine.

Petey Walker

I personally felt they changed their product. I don’t have the same results as i once did years before, i started mixing my products from Shea with out products to get decent results. Now i see why.

Cheryl Foster

Thank you so much for saying this. I have been defending myself all day for speaking out. it’s business!

Sharon Caurthens

Maintaining their core clients should be their primary business decision. Because it will bankrupt the company if they lose their core customer base.

Sharon Pace

It’s a bad business decision if the company loses more customers than they gain. ????

Olympia Ortega

That’s a shame. This is why a lot of women in my natural haircare group start making their own shampoo, conditioners and moisturizers with natural products.

Alice Hawkins

There are so many wonderful cheap products that can be purchase. I use Mango Butter from Elasta QP for my daughter. She has waist length hair. I use Cream of Nature, Eco Styles Gel and Grapeseed oil….all affordable.


I am not easily offended and feel there are times we as black women are overly sensitive. However, I thought the Shea Moisture commercial was ridiculous. I understand wanting to expand your brand; but, you had NO ONE in the commercial that looked like me. No thank you – I will stick to other brands that TRULY cater to me. In fact, I am ready to toss out anything I have with Shea Moisture…it’s not like I can’t make my own.

Ebony Frank

I don’t care so I am still using their products.

Alise Jay

#neverAgain… at least now I know why their products don’t work from my hair anymore..

Tamika Wallace

yall are missing the point, this company came out on the notion that they were making products for people of color specifically…the whole breaking down barriers commercials and now they are selling out like all the other ethnic companies being greedy and trying to get the white dollar

Jennifer Lyric Lindsay

I tried their product about a year ago, but it was to loose for my textured hair. If they are selling more to people with looser textured hair then the commercial is geared towards them. They are on the main shelves now, so their demographic definitely changed. They knew what the commercial was going to do, now everyone is talking about it.

Sélène Brn

I’m 4C and use their coconut & hibiscus products. My curls be popping out.

Nay JG

Her we go again, we buy black owned products in non black owned stores, we do not own enough of our businesses to empower us.. we call each other the n word and go off on other races that do.. we are racist too

Michele Williams

Dnt like it.

Jeannea Nesquik Darthard

I don’t use the products no way…. but business is business

Janet Edwards

I believe the advertisement should have featured various shades of women of color including Hispanic and Asian. As always, when someone thinks they have garnered enough sales, they forget about the real women that Is responsible for their sales success, and it does not look like the women featured in their latest advertisement. Just shameful.

A L Gabryelle Agst

Lool. I was never a fan of their bran so I don’t care. Next.

Lonnette Kelley

But did they pay black women to promote their products so heavily on all these hair sites? I don’t remember them panning exclusively to black women.

Jonathan Wright

This is what people are upset about? Ya’ll got way too much time on your hands

Sheryl Stokley

All teen age girls need to see women who look like them in beauty ads.

That is only a minor issue for families who always see their phenotypes positively reflected by the cosmetic companies.

Jonathan Wright

Sheryl Stokley gimme a break – this was one commercial out of how many? And it was a new foray into new markets … ya’ll acting like they put a bunch of white girls in black face an ribbon curls and had them eatin fried chicken on film … the ad WAS inclusive as I see someone of each race but I dont hear ya’ll yelling cause there is no asian models or mexican models so explain that

Ebony De La Cruz


Gary Gill

as for the was unintentional and honestly hurt no one..if was unintentional and hurt someone or intentional and hurt someone or degraded someone then I would be upset too..but in this case it was just a company trying to cross barriers

Kai Chi Yu

I get everybody upset but seeing this is a commercial series look at the whole thing then form opinions….not sure about the blonde women fits here but I do know that being a redhead was not okay. My friend would get picked on because she was redhead with freckles. I was shamed of my natural hair and being a left handed since I was the only one. My mom would perm my hair, that would be the only time I was semi accepted, then it was a different type of hair hate because I had mid-long hair that was naturally light golden brown from the chemicals. The overall point was about how one was nurtured to hate something natural about them and how they grew to love and embrace it.

ShiShi Maze

heard they are no longer black owned so on to the next black owned brand. why beg for recognition from them when we can showcase ourselves, I love alikay but not enough product for the price, as well as kinky curly and a few more. keep trying we’ll get there.

Natalia Brennan

I’m done with them

Tyra Williams-Owens

Why can’t we have something for ourselves?

Ebonie Andrews

I could care less…. We love to relish in negativity. I’m wondering does half the people so upset even use Shea Moisture…

Starr Taylor

Thanks Kira. I finally get to see it. They did have a pic of a brown girl at the very end tho. I guess people thought it was a black Only product. I didn’t think it was just for us. I thought Shea Moisture was for anyone. Wow!! It’s probably not black owned.

Starr Taylor

Donahue Ase Fields here’s the ad our people are mad over

Donahue Ase Fields

But they chick on the left is black

Starr Taylor

Yesss. Our people always want something to complain about. And there’s a brown woman at the end also. I don’t see a problem. I thought Shea Moisture was for everyone. I didn’t think it was black owned. Well I hope they stay in business because I need my body wash ????

Filona Flamengo

The product didn’t work on my daughters hair. They have naturally curly hair I’ve try a heap of products but guess what works in their hair…. Garnier. I’m black and so is their dad. Shea Moisture’s did nothing for them. I’m just saying it’s a business and if they plan to grow they have to advertise to a wide audience not just black women. Don’t be mad at them for making money. JMO

Dawn Mariano

Happy I stopped using them

Rhonda Appleby

I have been using this product for years. Now I’m afraid their formula will change. WOC have different hair textures & needs. Can anyone recommend other hair care products that are for us by us?

Savanna Imtrying Millsap

But why can’t we just have something for black people, just something of our own. Damn we can’t even have hair products. It’s already 200+ hair products for other ethnicities let black people have their own products for our texture hair without having to share.

Sélène Brn

Don’t wait for it then, create it.

Savanna Imtrying Millsap

Your absolutely right ????

Abrilla Robinson

Clear people steal everything Black, music, religion, culture, hair style, hair products. This is not new, they just thought they could get away with it…Just like Black Women made Shea Moisture a million dollar company, now take your Black dollars somewhere else! They only thing clear folks understand is the almighty dollar…..slap them back with boycotting thier products forever!

Akeya Womble

I believe the ad should have shown the women that has made this company what it is.

Tatiana Cooper

No problem with expanding your customer base but you shouldn’t forget about those who helped you build your brand.

Iann Williams

It’s sad that they chose this format, but it is geting a LOT of attention.

Pati Ramirez


Debbie Aguillera

I think that all races should have been shown. But I don’t use their product just coconut oil is fine for me…

ladee neenah
ladee neenah

That particular ad wasn’t directed at dark brown, kinky haired women. They had other ads for that. They’ve had other ads in the past that were marketed towards us. As a person who would only buy SM products when they were on sale or otherwise discounted, I have no issues at all with them creating and marketing products towards other demographics. Nor do I feel slighted because they made an ad that didn’t have many women that looked like me in it. I checked my emotions until I researched the situation further and discovered that ad was one in a series of ads. We as black women have got to learn how to check our emotions and operate more on logic and facts.


Look I’m Caucasian and I loved the ad. As a result, I will now be buying Shea Moisture products! Now isn’t that more important? That a Black owned business receives even more business? Who cares who’s in the ad? What’s important is that the Black owned company flourishes. Get over yourselves. And technically, there were no Black females in the ad. There was a Light-skinned (Mixed/Multi-Racial) and 2 Caucasian Females BTW.