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Shea Moisture Sparks Backlash With Hair Care Ad

Beauty products company Shea Moisture has removed and apologized for a hair care ad that some have called offensive.

The company, which is known for creating cosmetics and hair care products for black women, faced a backlash for a commercial that black women online said did not represent them, according to The Root.

The ad, which opens with a black woman talking about taking care of her natural hair, soon cuts to two white women, with red and blond hair, who also talk about the difficulties of taking care of their hair. "Break free from hair hate," the ad says, reports CNN.

"'Shea Moisture had to diversify their market for financial gain,' but [African American] black women spend 80% more on beauty," tweeted one user.

"Thanks for excluding 4c hair from your commercial, it's nice to know that even though I have been using your products the majority of my life. You talk about inclusion but ignore your majority customer base," said one incensed user on Facebook. "I won't be using your skin care, hair care, or makeup line since you don't think people who look like me and have hair like me shouldn't be featured in your commercials."

"We really f-ed this one up," said the company in an apologetic Facebook post. "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."

According to Shea Moisture founder and CEO Richelieu Dennis, women of color are still the company's primary focus.

"Our job is to make sure that they understand that we're still here for them," said Dennis. He added that black women have the "least amount of products in the marketplace for them."

In a statement sent to Hello Beautiful, the company reinforced its commitment to serving women of color:

We don’t take any of our community for granted and are a certified minority, black-owned, family-held business that has taken pride in serving our community for 25 years -- when large conglomerates ignored women of color and simply marketed products to them vs. making products for them.

We've never believed that one size fits all -- especially for hair and skin needs, and today is no different. We're proud to now self-manufacture more than 150 different hair care products to serve our community’s varying needs with specific formulations made for the individual -- not the generalization or the stereotype.

Sources: The Root, CNN, Hello Beautiful / Photo credit: Marco Alexandre/Flickr

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