Is It Time To Gatekeep Black-Owned Beauty Brands?
Every day, a new TikTok-related beauty drama seems to take the app by storm.
A social media influencer’s promotion of a popular Black hair product on TikTok recently sparked a heated debate across various platforms about white women homogenizing Black beauty products. In a video that has since been deleted but was reshared on Twitter, TikToker Danielle Athena revealed the secret to maintaining her glossy locks.
Titled ‘Episode 12 | Hair oiling day is the best day,’ Danielle parted her hair in the center, applied the Mielle hair oil with a dropper, and then massaged her scalp. In the clip, a voiceover could be heard saying, “One dropperful of the Mielle Rosemary Hair Growth Oil.”
The attention has sparked intense debate online, with some Black consumers expressing concerns the brand could decide to neglect its customer base for the sake of white customers. Others retorted that the positive publicity is good for Black-owned beauty businesses.
@AprettyPR, who uploaded Danielle Athena’s clip to Twitter, wrote, “White women steal from black women and just be doing shit. and of course, she turned those comments off.”
White women steal from black women and just be doing shit. and of course she turned those comments off pic.twitter.com/BBlrpFUyrJ— Gojo's baby mama (@aprettyPR) January 2, 2023
@AprettyPR’s tweet has since received more than nine million views.
In response to the backlash, Mielle Organics owner Monique Rodriguez addressed customers’ fears on the company’s Twitter account on January 3, saying, “We have no plans to change the formula for Rosemary Mint Oil or any of our products.”
“There have been a few recent comments posted on this topic, but I can personally guarantee you that we are not making any ingredient changes. Please know that we would always inform you in full transparency if any adjustments are made to the products you love and trust.”
January 3, 2023
Many took issue with more than just white people using Black hair products. They argued that when products made for Black individuals are used by white consumers, they can become less available to Black people, who are already discriminated against over their hair. Other Black social media users voiced their concerns about product shortage and profiteering.
A Twitter user wrote, “1 white woman on TikTok put the other white women on game with the mielle rosemary drops, and now I see black ppl saying they're sold out in target. We have to gate keep n start convincing them to keep relaxer in their hair overnight again.”
On the other hand, some Black social media users are in favor of Mielle’s growth with a wider audience, arguing that it’s good for business. Black creators like @prettycrtical said that as long as Black-owned businesses don’t neglect their demographic, it might not be bad for a company to be expanding.