“Dull, dry and damaged” is how a now pulled ad in the rainbow nation depicted African hair compared to “normal White hair”. It wasn’t just racist but disrespectful too. It’s not the first nor will it be the last. With Halloween and Christmas approaching, we should expect more.
I happen to be one of those who’ve always struggled to make their hair look presentable, but even I was offended by an advert which attempted to brush all African hair with the same comb! Millions of African women and indeed men actually have good hair and I don’t know if the brand in question and others like it need luscious strands of hair mailed in as proof or something! It’s one thing to try to market your product but the idea that all White people have perfect locks is just ridiculous. Not that I’m hating on White people because what benefit would that be to my hair? It’s not like putting others down would give me length or body, and yet that’s exactly what all these brands that prey on our insecurities do.
As with weight, skincare and beauty products, the insensitivity is unbelievable. You can’t tell me their misconstrued campaigns aren’t deliberate. First, they have us fighting to even get products made for our various skin tones, shapes and sizes because some brands simply don’t care, while others assume Africans can’t afford the products anyway. Then we have to deal with the prejudices that everything White is good but anything Black is bad.
It’s draining and I for one totally support the boycott approach aka cancel culture. If these brands are determined to keep denigrating us, we might as well fight back the best way we can. Hitting their bottom line means they wouldn’t have any products to peddle their racial biases with. Big name ads aren’t conceptualised by a one-man or woman team. Ad agencies are paid good money to craft promos which can’t be rolled out without the brand’s approval. Are you telling me that none of the people who sit in on those meetings has the good sense to point out the underlying racial connotations? If we’re really serious about ending racism, then these companies need to be held accountable.
We need to know the people behind some of these skewed campaigns. Just like many employees wear nametags in the workplace, I don’t see why these agencies can’t run credits for every advert they put out. Idea conceived by so and so and backed by so and so. If they profit off it, they should stand by it. Like I said, they know exactly what they’re doing. To echo a famous expression, put some
‘respeck’ on our hair however we choose to wear it; afro, kinky, short, long, tinted...