Nivea is running an ad that shows a clean-shaven black man with close-cropped hair who looks like he's about to go bowling with a decapitated head. He's holding the head by its Afro. Tag-line: RE-CIVILIZE YOURSELF. Ah, yes, the enlightened and highly appropriate association of black hair (and, by extension, black people) with the lack of civilization. Truly groundbreaking stuff, Nivea. But I gotta say, your original idea — making the tag-line "Ooga Booga! Black People Are Scary!" — was way edgier.
?uestlove has already Tweeted his disapproval, calling Nivea a "lotion with a 38-yr-old Atlanta stripper's name." Point to ?uestlove.
This is far from the first time that advertising (or the fashion industry more broadly) has sent the message that natural, non-relaxed black hair in general and the Afro hairstyle in particular are unruly, frightening marks of savagery. In 2007, a Glamour editor later identified as Ashley Baker told a room full of lawyers that an Afro was an office Don't. "'No offense,' she sniffed, but those 'political' hairstyles really have to go," wrote American Lawyer.