For every step forward for Black women being better represented in the beauty industry (embracing natural hair, desegregating the beauty aisle, expanding foundation shade ranges), there always seems to be two steps back. Today's came in the form of a product listing on Walmart's website. A wig cap, allegedly sold by Jagazi Naturals, was being sold with the description "n*****-brown" in the headline. (It was even in the meta title and basename, too.) Twitter was the first to notice, including Questlove, who captioned the screenshot of the now-deleted page with a simple crestfallen emoji.
Of course, Walmart took down the post and apologized for the misstep immediately. “We are very sorry and appalled that this third party seller listed their item with this description on our online marketplace,” the store said in a statement, released Monday. “It is a clear violation of our policy and has been removed, and we are investigating the seller to determine how this could have happened.”
But, understandably, that wasn't enough for many who are challenging Walmart to enforce stricter third-party rules — since this sadly isn't the first time something like this has happened. In October, the company had to pull a "Thug Life Mask with Bandana" that resembled Tupac from its shelves. And later, in December, they caught heat for more offensive products — mugs printed with phrases like "Got Hitler?" "Got Pepe?" and "Got Retard?" Those were all removed, too.
But, here's the thing, despite shifting blame to the third party, it wasn't Jagazi Naturals who posted the offensive slur, either. The brand plastered a statement across its website saying that it has nothing to do with the Walmart listing — their products aren't even sold there. "We woke up this morning to the news that someone has used our name Jagazi to list an item," a statement on the site reads. "Please beware that we are reporting this to as many people as we can and trying to get all the listings pulled down. The real Jagazi is a 100% black company for black people. People have often used our brand name to try and sell their fake products. Please be aware. Very sorry for all the distress this has caused. We are feeling the pain here as well. Most shocking!"
Chizo Onuh, the owner of Jagazi Naturals, offered a further explanation to the Huffington Post saying, “I am a proud black woman focused on the ethnic hair products for my fellow black women." So, that leaves one question: Who did list it?
Rollback prices and cheap beauty products are well and wonderful, but something we'd love to see from Walmart is a little consideration from its behind-the-scenes team to keep things like this from happening again. It's 2017, for crying out loud. We should be able to add-to-cart in peace.
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