Rich Dennis, the founder and CEO of Shea Moisture, spoke to the hosts of Power 105.1’s “The Breakfast Club” on Friday (Apr. 28) about the company’s trying week. The hair and beauty corporation came under fire for airing a commercial showing lighter-skinned women with seemingly manageable tresses, leaving an entire demographic of women who buy their products unrepresented.
“We’ve always stood for black women and the black community, and we acknowledge that ad,” said Dennis. “We stand up and say ‘yeah, that’s not what we intended to do.'”
Dennis also explains that the company weighed their options with which commercial to air, as there was several “pieces of content” to choose from, many containing black women. However, he acknowledges that the message behind the commercial was misconstrued.
“All of these different women have different need states, hair issues, we weren’t trying to talk about cultural issues,” he continues. “The intent was, hey, you have these different issues, you’ve been dealing with them, let’s have a conversation about them…In this particular piece, the diversity of hair types did not include a woman with thick, curly hair…a dark-skinned woman wasn’t represented in that piece…it was just about doing your hair.”
“In hindsight, we should have spoken directly to [all consumers],” he says. “It was incomplete and it was dropped out of context…the point is that, we’re a brand that have stood for this community, and we’re gonna continue to stand for this community, and we’re gonna make mistakes, and when we make these mistakes we’re gonna own them.”
“When we stand for this community and we broaden the reach of the brand, we also can never forget what we mean to this community,” he explains. “We have to continue to stay focused on her, and represent her everywhere that we are.”