I never liked SheaMoisture. Their products never worked well for my hair and I didn’t care for the clunky residue that the SheaMoisture “Curl Enhancing Smoothie” left in my curly locs. The SheaMoisture “Coconut & Hisbiscus Hold & Shine Daily Moisture Mist”. And, what’s up with those long product names anyway???
I tried to use their products several times and thgere were simply an epic fail for my kinky, curly hair. SheaMoisture is a hair product line that sits in the hair section next to As I Am and many other “organic” hair brands made specifically for Black Woman. Well, they used to until their “Break the Walls” campaign. As a Black Woman, I didn’t feel that campaign was necessary. The stores can simply rename the aisles. Let’s be real here. Black Women, for the most part, have completely different hair from any other race. I’m Ok with having a “Black” section. I, honestly, never thought about my hair products being on another aisle and it doesn’t bother me. One thing I don’t care for is that our section is called “ethnic” and that our hair product section is so small compared to the hair product aisles for non-Black hair.
In case you do not know the history of Black Women’s hair, let me give you a quick lesson on our hair evolution.
Since Black Women were kidnapped and dragged to America to be the slave of White owners, Indians and other racial groups…Black Women’s hair has been a HUGE topic of discussion. Unfortunately, the discussion of Black Women’s locs have hardly ever been positive. Our hair has been considered ugly, dirty, unkempt and unprofessional to state a few demeaning descriptions of our God-given hair.
You name a negative adjective about hair and Black Women’s hair has been described as such on television, in the workplace, at schools and now on the Internet and social media.
Since coming to America on slave ships, Black Women have been degraded, belittled, abused, made to feel ugly and often told we were whores to excuse the repeated rapes forced upon our bodies.
Black Women are told our lips are ugly, our skin color is ugly, our butts are unattractive (and too big) which, apparently, means we are promiscious.
I’m not seeing that connection. My butt that grows as God created it is big so now I’m sleeping around? Just because lustful men might desire Black Women’s curvaceous bodies, does not mean we are sleeping with all of them.
And the negative, hateful list of astrocities describing Black Women and our physical traits goes on and on and on.
I have read articles upon articles of little girls being reprimanded and disciplined just for wearing their hair the way it naturally grows out of their heads.
Yet, I’ll go to Instragram or YouTube and watch non-Black women doing tutorials of how to braid their hair like cornrows or how to create afros from straight hair.
Every other race is allowed to wear their hair the way it grows naturally, but of course, since nothing is easy for Black women…we have to constantly fight against society and the government to be allowed to wear our God-given hair texture without chemicals or tightly wound into a bun to appear “more presentable” for the always threatened older generations.
Ordinarily, a lot of us, Black ladies wouldn’t give two hoots what others think about our kinky, coily curls. But, then, due to White Supremacy and racism, Black women have to go out and beg to be hired. A great deal of those companies barely want to hire a Black woman for any job. Let alone a Black woman walking into the office every day with a “pro-Black” afro. [insert eyeroll here]
“My hair was never meant to be a statement until you made it one.” — Samantha Dawson, 2017
Despite, the immense hatred spewed from non-Black folks and, sometimes, even Black people join in because we have been conditioned to hate ourselves…Black Women continuously hold our heads high and persevere which brings on the adjectives, “Strong Black Woman”.
While Black women DO have an undeniable strength like no other, we don’t want to have to be strong. And we don’t want to be men. It’s crazy that in 2017, I have to even say this.
Black Women do not wake up with hopes of trying to be as masculine as possible. That’s not our nature and never will be.
“Black Women are strong because they have to be.”
But, let’s remember that Black girls and Women weren’t brought to America to be dainty princesses and queens. We were brought to America to work, to breed, to serve the non-Black population, to build, to breastfeed White babies and to please non-Black people sexually.
Now, in 2017, Black Woman’s anger over SheaMoisture stems from CENTURIES of being told that our hair was unattractive, sometimes, people would even go as far as to tell us that our hair was “masculine”. [insert eyeroll here]
The harsh reality is that there is real and extreme hate for Black Women and their hair. And that is where the rage comes from. Black Women are consistently being forgotten, dismissed and given a narrative that is negative, unfair and often isn’t true to who we are at all.
Nevertheless, Black Women continue to push forward no matter the obstacles, determined to never allow our race to disappear. Black Women, as an overwhelmingly majority, marry Black Men and we proudly give birth to our beautiful, intelligent Black babies.
We adore, not just love, but ADORE being Black in every sense of the word. No amount of propaganda and agenda can deter us, as a whole, from the love we have of Self.
“God doesn’t make mistakes.”
The Natural Hair movement in the 1960s and now in 2017, has reared her prominently crowned head to shake up, yet, another young and excitable Black generation.
I remember going to church every Sunday and looking around at the sea of Black people, smiling to myself as I noticed the astonishing and gorgeous sight of locs, cornrows, ‘fros, kinky twists, braids, curls and a plethora of other Natural hairstyles in the 2000s.
This is a sight I never thought that I, as a Black Woman, would ever. I never imagined it possible, a movement of Black Women foregoing the weaves and hair relaxers to return to the roots of our ancestors. The entire movement and experience has been surreal and incredible, as well as, validating.
Black Women are, once again, proving our strength by staring in the face of hate and making it clear that we know who we are and we will never let anyone forget it.
“May we never forget.”
I first “went Natural” around April-May of 2003. I had some type of braid extension style in my hair and I would redo the braid extensions as my new growth came in. Eventually, I could feel my real texture of hair coming in and I use to feel it with my fingers and think to myself, “My texture doesn’t feel that bad.”
You see, I had been receiving relaxers since I was a young girl. My maternal grandmother allowed my paternal grandmother (who has only four sons) to keep my older sister and I one Summer.
We went to my paternal grandmother’s home in Ohio with long-plaits that fell down our backs and swung with pretty, colorful barrettes at the ends of our hair.
My sister and my current hair regime with my Mom’s mother was very routine. My maternal grandmother would religiously wash, “grease” then straighten our long hair every Saturday. She used this gold pressing comb that had blackened due to years of use. She would place the pressing comb on the stove and I remember aluminum foil being placed around the teeth of the pressing comb to hold in even more heat.
Awww. The memories…. 🙂
I loved my plaits but this, also, meant I never saw my real hair texture. After the visit with my paternal grandmother, I would never see my real hair texture again until I was in my early 20s.
My sister and I were taken to my paternal grandmother’s friend’s house. My grandmother never had daughters, so she had no clue how to do my sister and my hair.
I remember to this day, my grandmother’s friend’s white nurse’s uniform that she wore, signifying to me that she was not a hairdresser. I was about 6 at the time, but, I already had an idea what a hairdresser should look like and my grandmother’s friend didn’t look the part…at all.
They both took us to the bathroom and I can never forget that white bathtub. My grandmother called this woman a “beautician”, however, I doubt she was a beautician of anything, except her kitchen.
Now that I think of this traumatic hair experience, I know my grandmother did not know how to do my sister and my hair. Furthermore, I now believe that my grandmother probably thought that we did have relaxers in our hair because my maternal grandmother kept our tresses bone straight.
I know, for a fact, that my maternal grandmother had sent us to our paternal grandmother’s home with newly pressed hair and crisp, clean clothes because my Mom’s mother never had us looking a mess. We were always the neatest children in school and at our church.
My maternal grandmother did the best she could with what she had and she could work wonders with a little bit of anything. She was simple in the items she chose to purchase then worked her “Black Queen Magic” with those items. ❤
My paternal grandmother passed away when I was in 10th grade. I love her very much and I know she was also trying to do the best she could with my sister and my full heads of hair. I am not mad at her for what she did, but, I do wish my sister and I had never been given relaxers.
Once we received relaxers that first time, my Mom simply continued them because she didn’t want to cut off our relaxed hair and start over. She didn’t want us to suffer being Black girls with short hair. So, for the next 14 or so years, my sister and I were subjected to relaxers every month. Sometimes, we would get them every week or whenever we felt a crinkle at our roots.
When I was in high school, I began to wish I had curly hair like the White girls.
I didn’t necessarily want my hair to look like theirs. I simply wanted the option to have curly hair one day and straight hair the next. I thought it was the coolest thing to watch them switch from curly to straight then back to curly again.
I knew my hair curled up too and I wanted options.
As I was nearing high school graduation, I aspired to one day go back to wearing my Natural hair. I planned to enjoy my kinky, coily curls while having the option of wearing my hair straight when I felt like it…like when I was a little girl.
I guess I wanted to tell a little of my story to express how I struggled with my hair as a Black girl then later as a Black Woman. I have many more hair sagas, but I don’t have the time to write all the drama I endured with my curly hair while being Black in America.
I, basically, wanted to put a personal touch by expressing my own hair experiences. I want people to understand why Black Women are angry at SheaMoisture. Why it is not Ok to include other races when creating the Black woman’s hair story.
No one was included in our story when it was negative. Don’t come now, trying to share the spotlight, when the story about our hair has become positive.
This is also why I’ll never identify myself as a “feminist”.
Feminism does not support or protect Black Women.
Black people and Black Women, specifically, always support everyone else’s struggle. Then, when the solutions and rewards are handed out, we are swiftly…and conveniently…forgotten.
There are SO many lessons I have learned from studying my ancestors, their triumphs and their struggles. The way they endured slavery lets me know that my strength is everlasting and infinite. No race alive has ever gone through what my ancestors have gone through and survived.
I think about my ancestors daily as I go through my life as Black Woman in America. I tell myself that if they could make it through a life’s existence that had to be hell, I can be strong enough to continue all that they have fought for.
Black Women will never accept the disrespect that comes to the Black race in various forms. My race comes from a people who were Warriors in the lands of Africa. Our lives have never been easy. Our narrative goes deeper than hair cream and hairsprays will ever go.
“And still, we rise.”
I’m not sure what the future holds for SheaMoisture. I tossed out my products the day that I saw their “hair hate” commerical and I vowed to be done with them faster than you can say “Tommy HIlfiger”.
Yea, SheaMoisture. You did f*ck this one up. And, for me, there’s no coming back from this.
I just hope other companies learn from SheaMoisture’s hardfelt lesson and don’t allow this to be their cautionary tale.
What did you think about my story? Do you have any hair stories that you would like to share? Do you have questions? Post them in the comments below! We love to hear from our readers. Peace!
Samantha Dawson is a Web Designer, Graphics Designer, Freelance Writer, CEO of LocStar Revolution, NoVA 24/7 Notary Services and Web Designers and Scribes. In her free time, you can find Samantha reading biographies, watching documentaries on Netflix or spending quality time with her family. Samantha lives in Fairfax, VA with her fiancé and 3 sons.