For the last few weeks, I’ve been on the receiving end of a Target advertisement championing one of the many companies available at the retailer: Honey Pot, a black-owned business that sells menstrual hygiene products. In the 30-second spot, founder Beatrice Dixon praises Target for carrying her product in stores and ends with this statement: “The reason why it’s so important for Honey Pot to do well, is so the next black girl that comes up with a great idea, she could have a better opportunity. That means a lot to me.” It’s both a sweet, effectual statement and the kind of empowerment rhetoric that accompanies advertisements targeting women (pun unintended). I thought it was nice, and then after a half-dozen additional views on YouTube, paid it no mind. But apparently, a bunch of would-be consumers have decided that what Dixon said is “racist” to white people and thus, have denounced the product, per NBC.
One reviewer on the site Trustpilot wrote, “I’ve used this brand for years now and I’ve always been satisfied with the results. If they really think that only black women should be empowered and white women should be left out then that’s a huge step backward from the open and friendly society we tried to create over the last decades. I can’t support a company in good faith that is openly racist about their customers.” I would really love to know where Dixon said that only black women should be empowered. This strikes me as the same galaxy brain logic used by white women who treat being called “white” as an insult.
Other customers have opted to use the n-word to describe just how racist they seem to believe the Honey Pot ad is, which is ironic. As of publication time, Honey Pot’s Trustpilot page has been suspended while the site’s “Content Integrity team investigates an unusual influx of reviews, some of which violate Trustpilot’s guidelines,” according to the website.
“I said nothing about our product being only for black girls,” Dixon told BuzzFeed, reiterating that her company’s tagline is the inclusive “made by humans with vaginas, for humans with vaginas.” Of the hateful comments, she said, “I can’t expect them to understand the plight of what it is to be a black woman co-founder in business... When things like this happen, things change.”
A spokesperson for Target told BuzzFeed that they were made aware “some negative comments about the campaign, which aren’t in line with the overwhelmingly positive feedback we’ve received from guests who love and have been inspired by Bea’s story.” The evidence is in the sales: the ad first started airing on February 4, and in the time since, sales have increased by 20-30 percent.