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Racist Shampoo Advertisement Depicting African Hair as 'Damaged' Sparks Protests in SA

EFF party members have protested against several Clicks stores across the country to shut down. Credits: Twitter

EFF party members have protested against several Clicks stores across the country to shut down. Credits: Twitter

The 'Clicks' advertisement had pictures of African hair labeled dry, dull and damaged, while an example of white hair was described as fine and flat.

Protests have erupted in South Africa outside Clicks pharmacy stores against a shampoo advertisement that has caused massive outrage for its racist portrayal of Afro hair.

The protests were called by the political party Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). People rallied to protest outside Clicks pharmacy stores. The advertisement was posted on the website of Clicks and was commissioned by the hair care brand, TRESemme.

The advertisement, which many have found offensive, compared two photos of black women with two photos of white women. Hair of the black women was called “dry, damaged, frizzy and dull,” while those of the white women were defined as “fine, flat and normal,” reported Al Jazeera.

Taking to Twitter, the EFF party urged people to participate in the protest and said, “All Clicks outlets must be closed.”

The call has been made by the party leader, Julius Malema. His party has called the advertisement dehumanizing and racist, reported the BBC.

In a statement, EFF said that the implication of this advertisement would be that black identity exists as inferior to white identity. The statement read, “It is an assertion that white standards of beauty are to be aspired to and features of black represent damage, decay, and abnormality.”

Clicks have now pulled the advertisement that was posted last week on its website.

The CEO of the Clicks group, Vikesh Ramsunder has written an open letter to apologize for the racist advertisement.

The letter says, “As Group CEO of Clicks, I am deeply disappointed that we allowed insensitive and offensive images to be published on our website. I apologize unreservedly for the hurt and anger these images have caused.”

Vikesh also said that the negligent employees were suspended and that the company will ‘audit’ all of its promotional work to check for any explicit or implicit bias.

He also added that the company will now implement its diversity and inclusion program with more urgency and focus.

In 2017, beauty care company Dove was also accused of racism for an advertisement on body lotion. In the Dove advertisement, the black woman was shown turning into a white one.