Are Black Brands Above Being Canceled?

"Cancel Culture" has become a dominant force in today's society. Twitter, along with other social media platforms have provided its users with the unique superpower of either jumpstarting or destroying one's livelihood.  When considering the growing intensity of this phenomenon, I began to wonder if Black-Owned Brands were above becoming another casualty of said cancel culture.  

What is Cancel Culture?

According to, "Cancel culture refers to the popular practice of withdrawing support for (canceling) public figures and companies after they have done or said something considered objectionable or offensive. Cancel culture is generally discussed as being performed on social media in the form of group shaming."

Although Cancel Culture can have a negative impact on one's financial, social, and/or emotional state, there have been plenty of documented cases in which the intended cancelation backfired. 

Do Black Brands Have Immunity?

I am an avid supporter of brands owned and operated by people of color. In recent times, it has become increasingly important to show support for Black businesses as the momentum for the Black Lives Matter Movement continues to grow.  Buying Black, empowers the brand to hopefully pour back into the community that has supported them. 

While the support is much needed, there is a question that lingers in my mind.  Should we blindly support these brands? Should we ignore any and all indiscretions made by these Black-owned brands? When, if ever, is it okay to cancel a Black-owned company?

Recently, a Black-owned hair care brand that I have supported and frequently discussed has been at the center of some controversy.  Many social media influencers have come out and canceled this growing brand.  Monique Rodriguez, Founder and CEO of Mielle Organics found herself entangled in an internet feud with Youtuber Linda Lynn.  Linda Lynn was reviewing products from the Mielle Organics Rice Water collection and the review was not favorable, to say the least. The CEO decided to give her input on the Lynn's review in the Youtube comments section:

The comment sparked a back-and-forth between the two; with the Youtuber claiming that Monique's husband even called and harassed her (allegedly).  For full details of the incident, you can watch Linda Lynn's video here.  The feud between the two, caused an uproar among the natural hair community, prompting top influencers to declare Mielle Organics canceled. Mielle Organics issued the following statement in an effort to reduce the backlash:

This incident comes a year after another notable feud between Chiche Eburu, the owner of cosmetics company, Juvia's Place and Youtube Stars, Jackie Aina and Alissa Ashley.  The Youtube stars spoke out against the company for allegedly turning their back on the influencers and customers that helped the brand reach their acclaim from its infancy.  The brand appeared to opt for non-melanated influencers such as Nikkietutorials and Jeffree Star.

Both of these examples resulted in the brands being canceled momentarily, but just has been the case with other canceled celebrities and brands, these black-owned companies have managed to survive. 

Should brands that have allegedly attacked and alienated their core customer base (black women) be canceled, or is their place in society so important that they are above cancel culture?

Final Thoughts

In my humble opinion, Cancel Culture tends to be ineffective at best.  It tends to bring more attention to the brand; and some companies still live by the mantra that "All publicity is good publicity".  It also seems that for many brands, all it takes is a brief hiatus and an apology to make a comeback.  My question becomes, did the "canceled" brand actually learn a lesson?  Are they now more aware of their responsibility to the community-at-large?  In most cases, the answer would likely be "NO". 

When it comes to black brands committing cardinal sins against the black community, I think we need to be more constructive in our efforts to educate these brands on cultural responsibility. Yes, pulling monetary support from problematic black brands is one way of having your voice be heard... but as more and more Black Americans make the leap into entrepreneurship, we are bound to encounter owners without the knowledge, aptitude, or resources to properly navigate the ins and outs of sudden or instant success.  There are bound to be missteps; should those missteps be unforgivable? I don't think so.  Finding ways to educate and influence Black Brands is something that we should all focus on.  

...Of course, brands that are NOT receptive to learning, growing, and evolving should feel the financial and social impact of their actions or lack thereof. 

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