Clicks under fire for labelling Afro hair as ‘dry and damaged’

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By Thobile Mazibuko Time of article publishedSep 4, 2020

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It’s heritage month, yet there are some retailers that still don’t understand that all hair types can be celebrated without dragging another.

For many black girls, hair is a sensitive issue because, in previous years, their hair was perceived as “unprofessional” because of a naturally curly and coarse state.

Although many of them finally found the courage to wear their hair with pride, they still have to deal with retailers and brands that haven’t learned that stubborn hair is beautiful.

Local beauty franchise Clicks received a lot of flak on Friday morning after pictures of black hair emerged on their website. They posted pictures of afro- natural hair and labelled it as “dry and damaged” and compared it to blonde-straight hair, which was labelled as “fine and flat”.

A screen shot from Clicks’ website.

They also had another picture of black hair labelled as “frizzy and dull” while the blonde was celebrated as “normal hair”.

Clicks labelled black hair as “frizzy and dull”.

Of course, tweeps wouldn’t let them get away with it. They dragged Clicks for not knowing better.

“Racism makes people believe we have “hard, strong unruly” hair when we have delicate, fragile, sensitive Afro hair that needs to be babied. So sensitive we have to wrap it in silk at night and leave it untouched for it to grow. Black hair is political,” said Sne Khumalo.

Local supermodel Tshepiso Ralehlathe also weighed in on the matter. She said: “I’m so tired of brands using our Blackness as a publicity stunt or advertising tool. I’m so tired of educating corporates about Black hair, Black skin, Black lives.This is blatant racism @Clicks_SA.”

Seeing how furious social media users were, Clicks then issued an apology statement.

They said: “We would like to issue an unequivocal apology. We have removed the images which go against everything we believe in. We do not condone racism and we are strong advocates of natural hair. We are deeply sorry and will put in place stricter measures on our website.”

“As a brand we recognise that we have a responsibility to use whatever influence we have to remove implicit and explicit prejudice from society, the workplace and our advertising,” said Rachel Wrigglesworth, Clicks Chief Commercial Officer.

“We recognise that we have a role to play in how we represent our diverse customer base in our own and supplier advertising and we sincerely apologise for failing you. We know that we need to do better and commit to making sure that our content reflects the diverse voices and experiences of our customers,” concluded Wrigglesworth.

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