Updated: Jan 14
Mielle Rosemary Hair Oil is in high demand among black hair for its effectiveness.
The debate surrounding its use among white women highlights the importance of recognizing the unique needs and history of African-American hair and protecting them from cultural appropriation.
In the wake of the increasing popularity of Mielle Rosemary Hair Oil, white women have adopted its use for their hair. However, this has sparked controversy among black women who feel that white women are colonizing a product specifically intended for them. With this debate making waves on social media and in beauty circles, it's clear that there is no easy answer to the question of cultural appropriation and erasure. On the one hand, white women using the Mielle Rosemary Hair Oil brings attention to diversity issues in the beauty industry.
By bringing in consumers from a new demographic, more money can be generated for products specifically designed for African-American hair, allowing these items to be more available and accessible. In addition, recognizing that all hair types can benefit from specific products helps break down old stereotypes about what constitutes "good" or "bad" hair. At the same time, some black women say that having a product made specifically for them co-opted by another culture is disheartening. They feel that it reinforces the idea that black people should not hold onto their own unique culture and instead assimilate into mainstream society.
Additionally, the fear that if too many people use Mielle Rosemary Hair Oil indiscriminately without understanding how it works best with black hair specifically, it could lead to poorer results than expected when used with other textures. Given these two sides of the debate, it's important to remember how products like Mielle Rosemary Hair Oil come about in the first place – through hard work by innovators within minority communities who often lack access to resources or recognition in mainstream industries. It becomes urgent for us all to ensure that these products are protected from appropriation while also being available for everyone, regardless of race or ethnicity.
Whether it's related to Mielle Rosemary Hair Oil or any other industry – we must strive towards understanding both perspectives while finding ways to create a safe space where each person feels respected and listened to no matter their identity or interests. Considering this approach, we can move forward as a society while recognizing our differences and embracing our similarities without taking from a cultural identity ignorantly.
Mielle announced this week a partnership with P&G Beauty that would make the hair care brand available in major retailers across the country and broaden there company. Shortly after, Mielle's owner and CEO, Monique Robinson, took to Instagram Live to talk about the exciting news and discuss some of the controversy surrounding its increased popularity amongst white women. A week before, Robinson clarified that her company would not change its formula due to more white people using the product.
Many black women have applauded her insistence on staying true to Mielle's original mission of creating haircare catered explicitly to black women's needs. The decision also draws attention to why companies should continuously develop products taking into account those they are intended for - while making them accessible to everyone else. Thus, while cultural appropriation and erasure remain valid concerns within this debate, there is something positive to take away
here: companies like Mielle provide an opportunity for us all to think critically about diversity issues and how we can strive towards progress together. The company can simply expand making products for black women's hair type while also making products for other types of hair without sacrificing the formulas that work for textured hair.
Mielle is one of many hair care brands to experience such a fate. Over the years, several other black-owned hair care brands have been accused of changing after they were acquired by predominantly white-owned companies.
When Carol's Daughter products were purchased by L'Oreal in 2014, many voiced their concern that the change would lead to formula alterations that would make it harder for black women to benefit from the product. Similarly, when SheaMoisture was bought by Unilever in 2017, many feared that an influx of new consumers could mean changes in their ingredients – which had already been tailored for specific hair types – and an increase in price points.
These examples show why we must remain vigilant within industries like beauty and hair care. As we become aware of such occurrences, we must strive to understand both sides of the debate rather than resorting to quick judgments about who is right and who is wrong. By considering this approach, companies like Mielle can continue creating products tailored to minority needs while making them accessible to everyone else - without succumbing to pressures of assimilation or potential erasure on behalf of outside forces.
Even though it's difficult for companies to navigate the line between cultural appreciation and appropriation, it's important to recognize when a company genuinely strives toward inclusion. Mielle's commitment to providing affordable and quality hair care catered explicitly towards women of color has been evident since its launch - and its partnership with P&G Beauty is a testament to this dedication.
Moving forward, We should also support black-owned businesses like Mielle, committed to producing products designed with their customer base in mind and challenging the status quo when needed. By doing so, we can ensure that black women have access to the products they need without sacrificing their identity.
In my opinion:
I feel that is a great move for the company and expansion of what could be a great product line for all. As we know the less texture hair products are triple in size in any commercial stores, and yes it is disheartening to always be the butt end of things that are generally for our culture. But a win is a win. We want to see our black companies make it to the other side but we also want them to stay true to the mission at hand, black hair ! As long as the contents of the brand stays the same there should be no problem this may bring more product to the shelve to stop the massive hoard, and quiet as it is kept, Shhshhh white people love to hoard things even things they can’t use it.
Painting by Tyler Clark