Side-eye of the week: Mixed Chicks

Sigh.

Black people, we’ve got to do better, you know? Now, I was trolling around my Goo.gle reader and I came across a bit of drama going down with commercial hair care company Mixed Chicks. Read the details here. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, Mixed Chicks joined in some stupid Twitter back and forth with this comment:

Lord have His mercy. I’m saying, the product is already called Mixed Chicks, are you know saying that I’m too dang black and nappy-headed to use them?

Now, I don’t use Mixed Chicks products for any particular reason beside my friend gave me a very poor review of their products. I’m not really biased… although I never could understand why they would divide themselves by naming the product what they did. Whatever. My mom recently purchased some Mixed Chicks products and is enjoying them. My mom is not mixed, nor is she on #teamlightskin, but she’s got some curly hair. An anomaly according to this tweet.

By the way, Twitter is evil. Any company, celebrity or singer who has a Twitter account ends up saying something stupid and gets themselves in trouble. It seems like these people are unable to conduct themselves with common sense on Twitter.

I really don’t understand why we, as Black people, have to rely on colour for worth or beauty. I cannot understand why business people, who want me – and all women of colour with curly, kinky (well, not kinky, ‘cause they want light-skinned chicks with curls using their products, obviously) to buy their products. They are in business to make money, not to alienate potential customers who may or may not be light-skinned with curly hair.

Whoever wrote tweeted the ignorant comment didn’t realize that it would be offensive to people who were on #teamwhatdoesmyskincolourhavetodowithmyhairtexture?

I say, “boo!” to Mixed Chicks and I won’t be buying their products. Not because I’m not light-skinned, but because I don’t see what sense it makes to spend oodles of money to support a company that doesn’t respect the people who buy its products.

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18 Comments Add yours

  1. Shan says:

    Oh Mixed Chicks. I have never used their products but have been offered it many times given the fact that I’m a white woman buying hair products for my daughter. I’ve never bothered because the name “Mixed Chicks” implied that it was for hair like those of their models, not the 4a hair my little mixed chick is sporting.

    It’s bad enough that in 2010 we still have to deal with these attitudes from, it’s disgusting that we have to deal with them from the companies making the hair products.

    (As a PR person, this has me laughing! Especially the comment about having light skinned, dark skinned people in the family.)

    1. urbansista says:

      Right. I don’t know what these so-called PR professionals are thinking. SMH.

  2. If it ain’t one thing it’s another! I did see this on Twitter, and I thought it was ridiculous to have #teamlightskin as a hash tag. Maybe next time someone there will use common sense and sit down and actually read what they wrote before pressing “Tweet, or Send or Publish”!

    1. urbansista says:

      Amen! But as my sister always says: “Common sense isn’t so common anymore.”

  3. Aisak says:

    I saw that on twitter too and I don’t know why I didn’t pay it much attention. I guess the overall percentage of mixed people are light skinned. I honestly dont know any dark or brown skinned mixed chicks. Maybe they thought they were appealing to their mass audience. I’ve never bought their products because it is clear they are targeting a demographic that I am not a part of. It was dumb but I guess I can follow the reasoning.

    1. urbansista says:

      I would think that they would want to appeal to anyone who uses their product because money is money. I guess that was their rationale, but I think it was a poorly thought out PR move. I’ve worked in PR before and the first rule is not to offend any potential clients. And, if you offend them, you try your best to get them back on your good side. I think it’s unfortunate that in 2011 we are still dividing ourselves best on colour and hair texture. I know quite a few people who are bi-racial and aren’t light-skinned. Not that I think anything is wrong with having products that are for bi-racial people — I don’t. I think generalizing that all bi-racial people look a certain way and all people who aren’t bi-racial look another way is silly. The people who run Mixed Chicks needs to broaden their minds.

  4. Tonya says:

    I tried mixed chicks a couple of times. After going through my 2nd bottle some months back, I have not bought it again.

    Just didnt seem to be all that. And I need something that is all that for my hair. And I have found that the “all that” stuff doesn’t cost much more that 15 bucks…aloe vera gel. knot today and olive oil.

    And after reading this, I know I won’t buy Mixed Chicks again.

    1. urbansista says:

      You know, I’m realizing that the products that cost an arm and a leg don’t do much more than the cheaper stuff. Yesterday, I did my hair using some tips from Kimmaytube and some inexpensive products: cheapie conditioner ($4.99), shampoo bar ($7.50), olive oil (from my kitchen stock), castor oil ($7), aloe vera juice ($9.99) Pantene deep conditioning treatment ($3.99) and Giovanni Direct leave-in ($8.99). Do you know that my hair looks the same or even better than it does when I use all manner of expensive products? I’m starting to believe that it truly is more about the technique than the products. Granted, I’m still staying away from crappy ingredients, but I don’t believe that I need to spend oodles of money to have my hair look good. Next cheap thing I’m going to try: flax seed gel. Thanks for commenting!

  5. jdid says:

    teamllightskin? really!! so so sad

    1. urbansista says:

      I’m shaking my head. I weep for my people.

  6. chica-boom says:

    I know I’ll get flamed for this..

    I found this to be more tounge-in-cheek humorous than offensive.
    The very name “mixed chicks” reflects the identities of the founders but I think it’s also a subversive device.

    I doubt that mixed chicks is segregating their product for a specific race or ethnicity and no one is stationed by the product aisle to verify every consumer’s background, either.

    Folks need to lighten up – Where is Dave Chappelle when you need him?

    1. urbansista says:

      You may very well get flamed, but there is nothing wrong with a dissenting opinion :). While no one’s stationed by the product aisle and they aren’t necessarily saying that if you’re darker than a paper bag you can’t buy their products, to me they are implying that as a woman who isn’t mixed, their product isn’t necessarily for me. And it very well, may not be for me, but the colour of my skin really doesn’t have anything to do with my hair texture. It comes down to making money: when there are so many other products for sale and they are competing for consumers, I’d think they’d use more common sense.

  7. ardean says:

    by creating ‘teamlightskin’, just shows that they still adhere to those ignorant and oppressive classifications. sad really.
    and i don’t like the division of ‘curly’ vs ‘kinky’. Kinky is a negative, untrue typing. ALL hair is a DEGREE of Straight to Curly. My hair happens to be SUPER curly, the tightest of coils, with the tiniest of corkscrews – i don’t mind the ‘kink’ in my hair at all – but I don’t want IT to be negatively defined as such 🙂

    hope I said that the way i meant it!
    so much can be lost in translation 🙂

  8. Niki says:

    This is my take on it:

    YOU have assumed that, in suggesting that “#teamlightskinned” use their products that they are saying that anyone who isn’t, shouldn’t. You also seem to assume that celebrating what they, the inventors, are in naming their product (and for whose hair they initially developed the product) means they are somehow demeaning those who are not mixed. When you or anyone else celebrates their beautiful, brown skin is that saying that those who don’t have beautiful, brown skin are somehow not also to be celebrated and considered beautiful?

    It seems to me that the insult lies in your assumptions… not in what they have said. You fault them for separating us, but it was you who assumed that celebrating some portion of our diaspora is demeaning the other parts. That isn’t true.

    It is certainly fair to choose not to support them if you like, but it is also fair to recognize that what they said is essentially, “hey, I hope you guys are using our products to care for your hair.” You have have read a whole lot of other motives and meanings into that statement that aren’t necessarily there.

    1. urbansista says:

      I’m the buying public – I have a right to assume based on their marketing. That’s really where the problem lies, right? How do I know what motives are there? When you see a commercial that you don’t like, you’re not just looking at it not using your personal experience and thoughts. You’re inferring something – you’re actively participating. I’m sorry, the whole ‘#teamlightskin’ is plain ignorant. I can’t rationalize it. I can’t find excuses. I’m also not down with “#teamdarkskin’. I think both hashtags need to be retired and never used again. It’s unnecessary and it can be hurtful. Personally, I’m too damned old to care enough to be hurt. But, trust me, I’ve spoken to enough young Black girls who have had the fact that they aren’t on #teamlightskin used to cut them and destroy their self-esteem. Maybe it’s the same thing for girls who aren’t dark-skinned. I don’t know – I haven’t heard that, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t affected by shadeism and colourism.

      I think that’s why it bothered me (I mean, I wrote this a LONG time ago, so I can’t really remember). I think that often times we do/say things and don’t realize how other people are affected by our actions or words.

      I don’t know if you are part of their marketing team or if you just like the products – maybe you just have a different point of view than I do. But I truly think when we separate ourselves based on attributes that have historically and traditionally been used to hurt Black people (we all know about paper bag tests, being considered more beautiful because of the lightness of your skin or texture of your hair), it’s going to cause some people to be annoyed/upset/vex. Historically, brown/black skin hasn’t been celebrated in mainstream OR Black culture. So, when someone states that they love their kinky hair or dark skin, it’s in retaliation from the mainstream culture that would make us think that those things aren’t desirable or attractive.

      I’m assuming you’re Black or biracial because you’re on a Black hair blog – I may be wrong – if I am, forgive me. I would also assume if you are Black or biracial, you would know that what I said above is fact – not just me ranting.

      What it comes down to is this: I have a right to have an opinion about Mixed Chicks. And you have a right to disagree. Maybe at some point we can find a common ground. But as I always say, do you. If you like the products and have no problem with their marketing, enjoy! I certainly won’t be fighting you for them and the beauty supply 😉 Thanks for commenting!

      1. Ardean says:

        I wrote a replay at the same time you were writing yours, so didn’t see what you wrote until after posting. But suffice to say, I agree. 🙂

    2. Ardean says:

      I think once you’ve decided to use a WELL-KNOWN, historically divisive term, you HAVE knowingly chosen to exclude certain people. “teamlightskinned” is a divisive term, therefore mixedchicks is being divisive in it’s use of it. Period.

      Whether they meant to be divisive, only they can say. But then maybe their ignorance is showing, and that would be sad.

      As much as we have progressed with our hair care knowledge, we still have SO far to go and the masses STILL believe the stereotypes and use term’s like ‘good hair’. When a company like mixedchicks uses the term “teamlightskin”, it is still putting a wall up between us. It’s perpetuating that belief that being ‘mixed’ or ‘light skinned’ is better. Again, maybe they don’t mean it that way, but for us that aren’t ‘light skin’, that’s how it’s PERCEIVED. Therefore the onus IS on them, to be inclusive of everyone, unless they really are only catering to ‘mixedchicks’. Well then more power to them. I won’t be buying their products.

      When I use the term ‘brown’ that includes ALL the shades of brown we come in – light, dark and in-between. I’m learning to love myself, my colour and my curls, coils and kinks 🙂

  9. who knew says:

    so…. does that mean that dark and lovely can only be used by dark skin people??? so me being a mixed woman should i assume that it means if im not dark then im not lovely? i always assumed it was a statement showing love for oneself and being proud to be dark…so why cant us mixed lightskin people make a statement of self love and not be judged….smh…double standards..? or is it b/c society puts a wedge between light and dark…unjustly ofcourse making it seem like light skin wins trump all the time

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