Shea Moisture Nixes Ad After Huge Backlash

"It does not represent what we intended to communicate," says the company.

SheaMoisture is CANCELLED

— 𝕹𝕵 ᥫ᭡ (@girlswithtoys) April 24, 2017

It seems like Pepsi has some competition in the field of airing, and then quickly pulling, ill-advised ads. Shea Moisture released a new ad on Monday that sparked outrage, and the company quickly issued an apology. 

The commercial, which you can see above, begins with a black woman talking about issues with her hair—a natural fit for a company started by Liberians and inspired by a woman from Sierra Leone. Shea butter, of course, has long been used for hair-related products, particularly among Africans and African-Americans. 

Where the ad raised hackles, though, was by spending the majority of its time focusing on several white women, including a blonde woman who doesn't "know what to do" with her hair.

Plenty of people took to social media to voice their discontent, and the company heard them loud and clear. Within hours, Shea Moisture had issued an apology. 

"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," the statement said. "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."

This is not the first time the company has faced public pushback for an advertising choice. Back in 2015, they shared a meme featuring a white child looking confused, with the text, "Uh...we have a problem, we ran out of Shea Moisture." The outrage was such that the company issued a statement, saying, "We came across an image of a little girl with a puzzled expression that we imagine our #SheaFamily has when they run out of product, so we shared it with you. No ad. No agenda... With your support, we've been able to bring change, diversity and variety to retail. We hope you continue to join us in celebrating how the versatility of our products can help people everywhere."

Latest in Style