When Champ sent me the link to Clutch Magazine’s article entitled Carol’s Daughter Inks Major Promo Deal with Cassie, Solange Knowles and Selita Ebanks, I actually laughed for a solid five minutes. Not at the article, but I began predicting the responses that would most certainly exist in the comments section.
But let’s start at the top with this. I don’t know much about Carol’s Daughter products. There’s a store here in Washington, DC (well Arlington, VA) , in Pentagon City Mall that seems earth-toned out and I’m pretty sure people that work there are required to wear linen. A lot of linen. What else do I know? I know Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, and Jay-Z (and Beyoncé too?) are either co-owners or bought into the company. Kind of like they did with the Fela Kuti Broadway show in NYC. I know that many Black women love Carol’s Daughter products because they are apparently making products for us (with us being women…of which I’m not one, but you get my point. Pencil).
Now here’s my perception of Carol’s Daughter. I view it as a company that intended to cater to the Black women as a whole, and one that our sisters could support, laud and appreciate. Basically, I view(ed) it as a company that would be more likely to create products that support the whole Black woman experience, from natural to permed to whatever else Black women do with their hair. This is my perception.
Which is why I laughed so hard when I saw Cassie (looking like she ate something REALLY sour before this photoshoot), Solange looking her worst almost ever, and Selita Ebanks aka The Bird Arse Bird from the Runaway short film. The one company that you would think would buck the trend of doing what everybody expects (hiring light skint ninjas for their promo materials for a company that’s focus is African-Americans) is just like everybody else (read: white companies). Which is sad in a way, and kind of humorous in the sense that, wow, even when we run the show, we STILL do what white people do.
I remember a long time ago I wrote a post about the show Kevin Hill (starring everybody’s favorite Taye Diggs…
too lazy to find it now liz linked it here for me) and the complaints that all of the women he dated on the show were lightskint. My argument then was that, well, at least they’re Black. We’ve got bigger fish to fry. Instead of complaining about which Black women didn’t get the call, we should be glad that any Black women are getting the call period to be on television in a positive role. But you know what? That was a white company controlling the factors of production and calling the shots. Their house, their rules.
Carol’s Daughter is a Black owned company (as far as I know) and could take the opportunity to hire some women who are more representative en masse of the Black women in our community. And that’s not to say they shouldn’t hire any light skinned women. That would be just as idiotic as the current campaign, but there are definitely women of a darker hue in a somewhat public limelight who I’m sure would be interested in representing and/using the product line. Now it’s possible they reached out to a lot of women who turned them down. Let’s be real, Cassie, Solange, and Selita Ebanks aren’t exactly the A-list of Black community women. If it wasn’t for this article, I would have forgotten that all three of them existed seeing as I rarely visit any gossip sites and haven’t watched Runaway since it debuted. So maybe they reached out to Kelly Rowland (not likely if Beyonce is involved) or Gabrielle Union (not likely since she works for Cover Girl or something) or pick your brownskinned beauty. Maybe they got shot down.
Maybe their budget was too small to get a bigger name. I don’t know. But I do find it odd.
Now, of course, Black women in the few comments I did read went off and swore off the products, etc. Which is a bit premature if you ask me. Who knows what the future holds for the company and its ad campaigns. Also admittedly, I didn’t really read the comments, moreso skimmed, but the truth is, if we were to stop supporting companies that didn’t represent us fully in their ad campaigns, we’d be naked and eating juices and berries. Hell, some companies go so far as to make mockeries of us “cough*McDonalds*cough*. But we keep going there. So we’re going to stop supporting an actual Black owned company because of the choices another Black woman made?
Again, I had to step back and realize, their house, their rules. Could she have hired India.Arie? Yes. Did she? Nope. She still makes a product a lot of us can use and benefit from, right?
I don’t know that this will cause any real ripple effect or actual loss of support or sales. And really, I think it won’t. It’s pretty much a non-starter, but it does bring up a larger point about Black social responsibility.
If you have the ability to control the images put out of Black people, do you have a responsibility to the community to make it as fully reflective of the entire community as possible? What is the Black responsibility? Does it even exist? Does Lisa Price owe it to Black women to have a fuller representation of her products consumers in her ad campaigns?
Talk to me.
-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka TANGLE JIG P aka PLYMOUTH RICO aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3