Photo: Getty
  /  09.18.2022

Popular clothing and accessories brand SHEIN is facing an onslaught of criticism over the way it marketed an afro-textured bun. People began calling out the company on Friday (Sept. 16) when Jessie Woo tweeted screenshots of a white woman modeling the afro buns in burgundy and black.  

Woo sarcastically wrote, “It’s in their ‘period aah period ugh’ section.” The drawstring hair accessory is listed as a short curly synthetic bun that retails for $5. By Sunday (Sept. 17) afternoon, the site was scrubbed of any images using the white model to show off the bun. But, several other screen shots and comments were already rampant online.

Several other wigs on the site that mimic African American hair textures are either modeled by Black people or a mannequin head. It is not clear if the other hair pieces were previously modeled by white women whose images were removed. View some of the reactions below.

One person questioned if the problematic marketing was in retaliation to Disney releasing its first-glance video of the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid starring Halle Bailey. Since news of the reimagining went public three years ago, critics have blasted the film with racist attacks. Bailey’s casting as Ariel marks the second time the mass media and entertainment conglomerate has chosen a Black actress to portray a princess. The first was in 2009 when The Princess and the Frog debuted starring actress Anika Noni Rose.

The “Ungodly Hour” singer previously said she did not pay much attention to naysayers who have taken issue with seeing a Black mermaid. Instead, she is focused on the positive impact the film will have on Black children. “I want the little girl in me and the little girls just like me who are watching to know that they’re special, and that they should be a princess in every single way. There’s no reason that they shouldn’t be. That reassurance was something that I needed,” she told Variety in August.


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