A few weeks ago, I read an article in a high-profile fashion magazine where there was a panel of 5 women with different curl types providing tips and tricks on how to care for a variety of curly hair types. Something, better yet, someone was missing though.. there wasn't anyone on the panel representing a tight curl pattern (4a/4b/4c - this texture typically has a very tight curl, that resembles a "z" pattern, opposed to an "s" pattern.) The informative article that featured tips, tricks, product suggestions, the highs and lows of having curly hair left out a huge group of women with curly hair, myself included!
As a woman with 4c hair, who has a daughter with the same curl pattern, I frequently ask myself, why is that people with 4a, 4b or 4c hair are excluded from the "curly hair" discussions? Why is that a woman whose curl pattern is looser than mine is able to wear her curly hair freely to work, with no problems at all - yet someone like myself, with a tighter curl pattern, whose hair looks more like an afro when grown out of her head naturally, is more apt to be addressed about wearing her hair freely in its natural state? We've been told "it's too big", we've been asked at the workplace, "why do you wear your hair like that?" amongst other things...
The very popular hair care company, Shea Moisture, who originally catered to WOC with natural hair, received a great deal of backlash from customers, bloggers and naturalistas alike for a recent commercial that didn't represent anyone with 4a,b or c hair texture. While the commercial mentioned "overcoming different hair challenges while wearing your hair naturally", many of its core demographic felt forgotten. There wasn't any representation of anyone with coarse, curly hair in the commercial- a demographic who strongly believes helped Shea Moisture become as successful as they are today. Although, Shea Moisture made a public apology within minutes and the CEO of Shea Moisture, Rich Dennis, explained that they're trying to make a broader campaign where "everyone gets love" many of their customers still felt slighted... many comments under the apology on Instagram mentioned "don't forget who's brought you thus far".
I understand the importance of scaling a business and brand, I even understand catering to a broader clientele. In fact, I believe it shows growth in a business when you do so, but on behalf of the many people like myself with thick manes, we're just wondering when will we be represented and catered to in this $500 million hair industry? Will the corporate world and/or curly hair communities ever truly embrace our wooly, tight, zig-zag curls? Will we ever be represented as frequently as the other hair types?