Dear Dove:
I was just minding my own business. Living my hectic ‘single mom + business owner’ life when I caught wind of what you had done.

You, the same company who had us all duped. Who arrived on the scene back in 2004 with your Real Beauty campaign, with ads featuring women with thick thighs, wrinkles and belly rolls — something many of us had never seen before.

You followed up in 2015 with your ‘Love Your Curls’ campaign.

And to her credit, our own writer Elle was suspicious of you for this. She wrote way back in March 2015 that the whole thing reeked of opportunism.

“…the skeptic in me was a little confused – why would Dove release this video? I mean, at the end of the day, they sell beauty products and most brands won’t release a video without it being tied to sales. Sure enough, maybe a week later, I started seeing ads for Dove’s new Quench Absolute line, which targets curly hair. Although I expected it, this kind of muddied the meaning of the video for me. While I appreciate “love yourself” campaigns, we wouldn’t really be in search of beauty products if we were all perfect just the way we are.”

And then you went ahead and showed your ass. You got too comfortable. You were like that white friend who’s had a black friend for years, and they are all dignified and all ‘Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman in Shawshank Redemption’, but then she gets drunk one night and admits she voted for Trump.

I don’t know what possessed you to do this soap ad. For centuries black woman have been resisting this idea that our melanin is dirty, something to be scrubbed away.

Dove’s fuckery

I remember in college innocently telling a roommate of mine that my skin took longer to clean because it was dark. Yes, me: Leila Noelliste the patron saint of online naturalness. I believed that and I said it without blinking. Because that’s how deep this black girl skin hate can go.

So anyway, you went ahead and did your thing and then this post, referencing my business, started to circulate on Facebook and Instagram.

Support NuCulture! @bglhmarketplace #blackownedbusiness #blackbusiness #supportblackbusiness

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Here on BGLH, a 2016 post highlighting black-owned skincare companies was resurrected from our archives and is trending.

So I just want to say thank you. Because the truth is, when it comes to skincare, haircare and general beauty, a lot of black women are realizing a couple things:

1. We can do for ourselves. There are more than enough of us creating quality beauty brands that strongly embrace black women (Black is beautiful is the literal tagline of my business. And I’ve had not a one non-black customer complain about it.)

2. Black women do the best job of catering to other black women. From how we formulate our products, to how we market them, to our messaging, it’s better coming from us. I started formulating shea, mango and cocoa butter concoctions not because I have a chemistry background or wanted to ‘get in’ on the natural beauty money grab. It was because I know how fucking frustrating it is to get that hunk of shea butter from the African festival, and know that it’s great for your skin, but dread trying to spread the hard chunks on your body, or microwave it and get this greasy, liquidy mess. It was black girls who taught me that whipping is the way to make nut butters spreadable.

So anyway, I just want to say thanks. I’m doing pretty good on my own. Got my storefront up and running and shipping out a few hundred orders a month — which is, like, nothing compared to a behemoth like you. So when you fuck up like this, and send customers my way, I really do appreciate it.

With thanks,

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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6 Comments on "Dear Dove: Thank You For Driving Traffic To My Black-Owned Skin and Haircare Brand"

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Jenny - Support Your Beauty

Black is beautiful. I think the ad is making a big deal about, they just want money. And with regards to having a black skin, it’s a perfect skin for me. And it’s my responsibility to take good care of it and choose the right products for it.


Yeah. We don’t need those hypocrit mainstream white-owned brands who come way too late to the party to take care of our beauty. We know, time and time again, that they will fuck up, because it’s just a money grab for them. It’s not in their – *chuckle*- skin. I like my businesses with authenticity, thank you very much.


You are not using the entire commercial. The screenshot of just the black and white girl are completely misleading. SMH watch the actual commercial. I do not think there was anything racially wrong with the ad..and I am black,


It’s a great opportunity for the community to shift the trajectory of what’s possible in creating the economic foundation upon which to own our destiny.


Some people lighten with fade creams for various reasons,but some also use tanning products to darken their skin. It should be okay to do either. Beauty products are all about helping you to get the look you think is best for you. The ad was insensitive, but in this culture not surprising. Thanks Lelia for making products that cater to us.


Where is the picture of the 3rd model?