The national salon chain, Hair Cuttery, sent people of the natural hair community into an uproar last month with a brow‐raising advertisement. As a part of their Look Smart campaign, they included the “Straighten Up Package,” which apparently was created for those of ethnic decent.
Just as the package title suggests, this service is for those who prefer to wear their hair straight. It includes a relaxer, shampoo, some fancy treatment, blow dry and flat iron…everything you need to have a head of silky, straight hair! Considering the fact that there are many women who still relax, you probably are wondering why the natural hair community was so offended by this deal. I’ll be honest; I was in between feeling like it was inappropriate and that people were simply overreacting. However, before I flood you with my opinion, I want us to go through the details together so you can, insightfully, choose a stance.
Let’s look at the actual ad first:
At the top it says “Look Smart”. That in itself is an attention grabber. On the surface it looks as if it’s saying, “the featured product or service on this poster is something will help the customer appear to be more intelligent.” Next, you see this smiling girl with straight hair with a caption underneath that says “with our straighten up package.” Okay! There’s the message. If I straighten my hair with Hair Cuttery’s straighten up package, I can appear to be smart. Needless to say, that didn’t rest well with me.
Now, I’m very aware of how things can be misconstrued, so I took it upon myself to visit Hair Cuttery’s website in an attempt to get clarity on this particular advertisement. I found that the “Look Smart” campaign wasn’t talking about intelligence or mental capacity, instead it was promoting their affordable prices: Look good for a smart price, pretty much. Could they and should they have worded it differently? Yes, Absolutely. But because they did expound on its meaning, I decided I would give them a pass on that one.
Next on my agenda was to search for the straighten up package on their site…here’s what I found:
There’s that girl again! This time it’s called the “Straight “A” Style”. The first sentence reads: “start off the school year right with a straighten up package.” I could interpret this in a couple of ways…this is the style that straight A students wear OR the style, itself, is perfect (considering that straight A’s are a reflection of perfection) for the beginning of the school year. I went with the latter.
Alright, that’s pretty much it for the details of the ad, but what exactly were people saying in regards to Hair Cuttery’s promotion?
In a nutshell, people believed this ad was selling the idea that Black women looked most presentable and intelligent when their hair is straight and the closer to European the Black woman appears the better. They also inferred that “straighten up” was actually saying “get your act together” and not straighten your hair. In fact, such a revolt began that Hair Cuttery decided to take down the ad (not the package, you can still straighten up if you wish).
Along with them removing the ad, Hair Cuttery was respectful and gave a formal apology…but was it really that serious?
If you ask me, I say this is just another example of the natural hair community being far too defensive. Now, I do believe they should look into hiring a new advertisement team for sure. Certain things were a little too hard to decipher; an ad’s message should always be clear. I felt some type of way when they referred to the style as the “Straight A Look”. But that’s it. Honestly, I don’t believe they meant harm to any woman who has abandoned the creamy crack.
Like I said before, there are women who still relax and who believe they look great with their straight hair and that’s who they were targeting with the ad. Hair Cuttery was simply putting it out there, “if you want a relaxer girl, you want that bone straight, we gotcha.” Simple as that.
How do you feel about Hair Cuttery’s ad? Are people overreacting or not reacting enough? Let’s discuss it in the comments below!
About Alondra: Joke telling, hair pick toting, life‐living Southern Bell by way of Memphis, Tennessee. I’m a young,educated black woman pursuing dreams by day and a super hero by night; my powers reside in my mind. To state it simply, I plan to save the world one conversation at a time. @Color_Me_Diva @MyManeThang