Some expectations have been shattered for people who advocate supporting Black-owned businesses after social media revealed certain brands aren’t wholly owned by Black people.
SheaMoisture was one of the first to start trending on Twitter when it was revealed that the personal care brand was no longer Black-owned. The brand was initially started in Harlem in the early 1990s by Richelieu Dennis and Nyema Tubman, who are Black.
The product is apart of a larger company, Sundial Brands which include SheaMoisture, Nubian Heritage, Madam C.J. Walker, and nyakio — all co-founded by Dennis.
However, in 2017 the British-Dutch consumer goods company Unilever acquired Sundial Brands.
“Sundial Brands will operate as a standalone unit within Unilever,” read Unilever’s initial press release. “Sundial’s founder, Richelieu Dennis, will continue to lead the business as CEO and Executive Chairman. As part of the agreement, Unilever and Sundial are creating the New Voices Fund with an unprecedented initial investment of US$50 million to empower women of color entrepreneurs. The intention is to scale the Fund to US$100 million by attracting investments from other interested parties.”
Despite the entrepreneurs of color development initiative accompanying the acquisition, people today were still shocked that SheaMoisture wasn’t completely Black-owned.
Soon, other brands started being questioned and called out.
Another brand that hit people hard when they found out it wasn’t Black-owned was Carol’s Daughter. This brand was also founded by a Black person, Lisa Price. She started her brand in the early 1990s as well in New York — Brooklyn to be exact. However, in 2014 she sold her brand to the cosmetics giant L’Oréal, according to NBC News. During this time, her line was valued at $27 million.
Despite some of these products not being Black-owned, many customers were not about to give up their allegiance.
“Listen… i’m not about to abandon carol’s daughter,” one Twitter user wrote. “She may be white-owned now (l’oreal), but she was made by a black woman. And she got this black woman’s hair looking like magic after a wash day. I’ll give up everything else, but my carol’s daughter shit stays.”
Either way, side-by-sides started popping up with the caption “the owner vs. the brand” just so people could be in the know.
As always, it’s now left to the consumer to decide who they’ll support.