Last Tuesday, at least 31 people were killed and hundreds injured in the Brussels explosions, which were claimed by the Islamic State. Many people across the world rushed to express their condolences on social media and other outlets. Businesses also shared their sympathy, including SheaMoisture, which shared it to Facebook. However, many of the company’s customers were not too happy with the post and went in on SheaMoisture for ignoring similar terrorist attacks in Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and other black nations.
It all started on Wednesday when SheaMoisture posted the following to its Facebook fan page: “Our hearts are with those affected by this terrible tragedy in Brussels.”
Responses from customers immediately flooded the page scolding SheaMoisture for ignoring atrocities in the black community. Some customers even expressed boycotting the company:
Sorry, but I will now be unfollowing this page. For this this to be a black run black, own company it burdens my heart to see this but not a flag for Ivory Coast or Nigeria… I mean wasn’t this company started in an African country?
There was just a terrorist attack in the Ivory Coast. Where is their flag? Where’s the support? Smh ?
Where was this sympathy for Cameroon, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Kenya. All these 4 countries suffered from terrorist attacks last year and this year just like Brussels and Paris. But why pick and choose who to sympathize with especially coming from a supposedly black owned company. I have been using y’alls products for 2 years now, since I’ve gone natural. But now I will be moving on to another line. Sorry not sorry… But this was disgraceful
I buy shea moisture products often, but I will now look for another company to support. You all post to show support to a country that robbed Africa blind and have not posted anything in support of Flint Michigan, Ivory Coast nor have you all posted support for Nigeria. SMDH. I will also let all my natural friends know to withdraw their support for this company. Mixed chicks, curls please remember this isn’t the only natural hair product line.
I’m sorry that I’m not sorry…we have enough going on here with our own race, I don’t have time to be worried about a race of people that ain’t thinking about me or my peoples situation…
To be fair, there have been at least three attacks in West Africa in the past few months that have not received the level of attention as the most recent one in Belgium. On March 13, al-Qaeda opened fired on beachgoers in Ivory Coast, leaving 22 dead — Ivorians and foreigners — at the Grand Bassam beach resort. In January, terrorists killed at least 23 people in Burkina Faso. Lastly, this past November, 27 hostages were killed in Mali by an al-Qaeda affiliate. But was SheaMoisture in the wrong for expressing sympathy for the Belgian attacks?
Yesterday, SheaMoisture responded with the following to its Facebook fans:
Many things happening in the world are tragic — and a social media post or commentary about any of them in no way minimizes the others. My childhood was marked by tragedies similar to this one and I understand it first-hand, which is why we invest to build out our communities, especially in Africa. As a family from Sierra Leone and Liberia, we have lost many loved ones to the civil wars and, more recently, the Ebola crisis. In the recent attack in Ivory Coast, our family members have been impacted. Brussels has been one of only two transit points to Liberia for the last 25 years while the country was in crisis. At the time of the attack, people on their way to Liberia including friends and family were — and remain — stranded. None of these tragedies — wherever they occur in the world — are times or situations to assign levels of importance of one over the other (especially when human suffering is involved) nor are they times to be judgmental towards those expressing condolences, compassion or commitment to trying to help to bring about positive change, and certainly not those who have publicly dedicated their lives to fighting these injustices, whether through commerce or otherwise. If you feel compelled to do that, then I support your decision to not follow SheaMoisture and wish you the best in finding a brand to support that you feel works for you, stands more aligned with your interests and that invests in your community. While unfortunately there are too many tragedies around the world for one person, brand or company alone to ever be able to post about or impact all of them, that does not mean that we will cease to raise our voice, make a difference where we can, or quite simply, extend our heartfelt thoughts and compassion in a world that is certainly in need of more. We encourage everyone to do the same. If you really care to fight injustice, now more than ever is the time to support the one business that comes from and stands for community and stands to fight these injustices not just with words and social media posts but with millions of dollars, time, effort and love! Richelieu Dennis, Founder & CEO Sundial Brands (SheaMoisture, Nubian Heritage, Madam CJ Walker Beauty Culture).
Check out the original Facebook post here.