Shea Moisture CEO defend need to expand brand share despite ad controversy on social media


— In part two of an exclusive News One Now interview, host and managing editor Roland Martin spoke with Richelieu Dennis, founder and CEO of Shea Moisture parent company Sundial Brands, about the original intent of the ad posted on Shea Moisture’s Facebook page which sparked a social media frenzy on Monday. Dennis explained that the video, which depicts white women and a fair-skinned person of color, is one in a series of 24 videos that were planned to discuss the varying needs of hair-types and the products that could solve that. Dennis maintains the need to expand the brand to reach a larger consumer pool stems from the increasing competition the company is facing from national brands seeking market share and shelf space in the ethnic hair care market.

“This is a very culturally important conversation and natural hair and Black women and hair is a very important expression of self. Anything that doesn’t show an understanding of that, I think would receive these types of responses,” said Dennis. “And for us, we’re not changing our formulas, we are not changing the consumer that we serve, even as we grow, but we are in a position that if we don’t grow, the things that people love about Shea Moisture…the millions of dollars that we invest in our community congress projects in Ghana, and the educational scholarships that we provide to folks here in America, would not be sustainable over time.”

Although the ads were approved, Dennis admitted that the sequence of distribution was missed.

“The series had been approved, but when it actually got cut up for the small snippet that goes onto social media, that was missed,” he said. “The way that it was executed… it’s very clear how this conversation would have to occur because what’s really happening is we as a community and Black women as a whole have moved this culture forward around hair. And what we’re really trying to not do is lose the momentum that we’ve gained and the accomplishments that we have around your being able to wear your hair they way that you want to wear it. We’ve been fighting that struggle with Black women for 25 years.”

Shea Moisture makes over 150 products for different hair types. To watch the entire conversation, click the links below.

Shea Moisture Pushes Back Against The Backlash Over Their Controversial Ad

(courtesy credit: TV One/News One Now)

Following the segment, Martin further discussed the Shea Moisture controversy with panelists Attorney A. Scott Bolden, Republican Strategist Rina Shah Bharara, and Dr. Gregory Carr for their take on whether the company should reach out to other ethnicities.

Stated Bolden, “Black people and people of color, we take possessory interest with no investment in Black companies, Black shows, Black everything – we do! And until we match up the possessory interest with our investment, then we can really complain. Right now we complain because we don’t like the ad and maybe the ad could’ve been done differently. But we’ve got to take ownership, not just an interest, in these companies if we want them to last as African American companies.”

Should Shea Moisture Attempt To Expand Their Market Share By Reaching Out To Other Ethnicities?

(courtesy credit: TV One/News One Now)


Emanating from the heart of Washington D.C. in a state-of-the-art studio that offers a stunning view of the Capitol building, NewsOne Now airs Monday through Friday on TV One from 7-8 a.m. ET. NewsOne Now is hosted by Roland S. Martin, the 2013 National Association of Black Journalists’ Journalist of the Year and former host of TV One’s long-running, award-winning weekly news program, Washington Watch with Roland Martin. Each morning, Martin – who also serves as the program’s managing editor – sifts through the headlines of the day to spotlight matters that greatly impact the African American community. In addition to television, NewsOne Now reaches audiences 24/7 with exclusive program content and extended editorial on and the NewsOne mobile app. NewsOne Now is an evolution of Interactive One’s award-winning digital brand that launched in 2008 and reaches millions of African Americans each month. Susan Henry is executive producer of NewsOne Now. D’Angela Proctor is TV One’s head of original programming and production.


Launched in January 2004, TV One serves more than 60 million households, offering a broad range of real-life and entertainment-focused original programming, classic series, movies and music designed to entertain and inform a diverse audience of adult black viewers. The network represents the best in black culture and entertainment with fan favorite shows Unsung, Rickey Smiley For Real, Fatal Attraction, Hollywood Divas and The NAACP Image Awards. In addition, TV One is the cable home of blockbuster drama Empire, and NewsOne Now, the only live daily news program dedicated to black viewers. In December 2008, the company launched TV One High Def, which now serves 14 million households. TV One is solely owned by Radio One [NASDAQ: ROIA and ROIAK,], the largest African-American owned multi-media company primarily targeting Black and urban audiences.