SheaMoisture followed a pattern of brand behavior, says Yvette Nicole Brown

The "Community" actress cited companies like Fox and UPN for building their brands "on the backs of black people" then tossing them aside.

On Wednesday, actress Yvette Nicole Brown called out SheaMoisture for following a familiar pattern of building its brand "on the backs of black people" and then tossing them aside when it went mainstream. Her comments were made on "The Karen Hunter Show," which airs on Sirius XM’s Urban View channel.

"Back in the day, the first shows [Fox] had were a lot of black shows, and they built their entire brand on the backs of shows like ‘Living Single’ and ‘In Living Color,’" said Brown, who’s known for her roles in NBC’s "Community" and CBS's "The Odd Couple." "It’s a model that they follow in network television. [They] will build the brand on the backs of black people because there’s not a lot of entertainment for us, and then once they get their numbers up, they throw us aside, and then they make it a white network."

Brown noted that Fox isn’t the only network to follow this pattern, citing UPN, the WB and the CW as other examples. She then suggested that SheaMoisture, a brand she has long admired, was following the same pattern.

"And so I’m just saying that that’s the model," Brown said. "We’re always the last ones that they cater to. They use us to build, build, build, and then they just toss us aside."

Just two days prior, African-American women voiced their displeasure on social media when SheaMoisture, a manufacturer of ethnic beauty products that’s looking to expand its appeal, aired an ad with three white women and one woman of color that much of its customer base found alienating. The message was for women to ignore "hair hate" and to accept their natural hair. "Embrace hair love in every form," the one-minute film said. 

Vayner Media produced the ad for Sundial Brands, which owns SheaMoisture.

On the same day that Brown made her remarks, the marketer issued a public apology, saying "we really f-ed this one up." But the actress still stood by her comments. Brown went on to say that she loved SheaMoisture’s products so much that she wanted to be a brand spokesperson, but no one ever replied to her.

Update: Shortly after this article was published on Friday, April 27, Yvette Nicole Brown used her Twitter feed to express her dissatisfaction with our choice of words to describe her comments. As a result, we have altered the headline.  

We have asked Ms. Brown to speak with us by phone, but she has declined. Below, we have embedded Ms. Brown’s Twitter comments about this article to provide context for our readers.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly characterized the means by which Yvette Nicole Brown wrote to SheaMoisture. It has been updated, and we regret the error.

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