Black women were quick to proclaim on social media earlier this year ‘SheaMoisture is Cancelled!,’ when the black-owned company made a misstep with an ad that featured two white women and a bi-racial black woman with a head of curls. Well, if that was an entry for the collective diary of a mad black woman, Dove deserves to be dragged for it’s latest major faux pas.
Back in 2015, the soap brand raised eyebrows with its ‘Summer Glow’ lotion, described on the packaging as “nourishing lotion for normal to dark skin.” So dark skin isn’t normal?
Fast forward to 2017. According to HuffPost, Dove has removed a Facebook ad that sparked outrage over the weekend for showcasing its body wash alongside a black woman who was shown pulling off her brown T-shirt to reveal a white woman wearing an ivory T-shirt.
Screenshots of the 3-second ad went viral on social media after makeup artist and model Naomi Leann Blake posted them to her Facebook page on Friday.
On Sunday, the Unilever-owned beauty brand posted statements on Twitter and Facebook saying, “We missed the mark in thoughtfully representing women of color and we deeply regret the offense that it has caused. The feedback that has been shared is important to us and we’ll use it to guide us in the future.”
Another statement from Dove offered,” The short video was intended to convey that Dove body wash is for every woman and be a celebration of diversity, but we got it wrong.”
Missed the mark? Naw, apology not accepted. As actress Gabrielle Union tweeted, “I really would like to know who exactly had a seat at the table making this decision.”
And critics, including film producer Tariq Nasheed (@tariqanasheed), were quick to point out the history of racist soap advertisements used to sell cleansing products.
“Let’s be clear, Dove knew exactly what they were doing with their racist ad. Soap companies used to do this racist theme all the time,” said Nasheed, posting an illustration of how soap was promoted as a “whitening” product.
Showrunner and writer Portia Gumede, however, offered a sobering tweet that Unilver’s reach is far wider than Dove.
“Boycotting Unilever is a good call until you realise every detergent you own & body deodorant you’ve just used is also cousin to Dove,” she tweeted.
However, with knowledge we have economic power. And we do have a choice of where we spend our hard-earned dollars. In addition to Dove, Unilever owns food and drink brands like Lipton and Hellman’s, as well as personal care products including Vaseline, Suave, Noxema and Q-Tips.
Do you plan to boycott Dove and Unilever products?