Open Thread: Is Skin Care Giant Nivea Dissing Black Men?

by Britni Danielle

Perhaps they were trying to capitalize on the popularity of the new Planet of the Apes film or maybe the just thought the ad was a good idea, but skin care company Nivea is coming under fire for a new ad targeted at men.

The ad features a well-groomed, stylishly dressed Black man holding the head of a (noticeably brown) man with a considerable afro and beard. The tagline urges men to “Re-civilize” themselves.

While I remember the old school Gillette ads that warned men that anything less than their products would be “uncivilized,” there is somethng about this image that rubs me the wrong way.

 

What do you think of the Nivea ad? Is it dissing Black men or just good marketing? 

 

Let’s discuss! 

  • edub

    Here’s where a rival black owned company could step in and sweep up a significant market share of Nivea’s product. Oh wait, there aren’t any. SMH.

  • http://thespelmandropout.wordpress.com/ The Spelman Dropout

    I must say that when I go out wearing my fro some people do look at me as if I’m uncivilized ignoring the fact that it was very fashionable.

    But all in all I just wonder how this would have been marketed with another race.

  • whilome

    Wait. Let me see the white version of this ad.

    Cuz you KNOW there is a white version of this ad…

  • DLC

    I think the author is looking to hard for something racial that is not there. I agree, Nivea could have chosen a better tagline than “Re-civilize Yourself” but am I offended, no.

    The message that I get from the ad is care about your appearance.

  • http://nesheaholic.com LaNeshe

    They’re dissing any man who doesn’t have short hair or a clean shaved face.

  • http://twitter.com/NIKKI_NICHOLS c h e l s e a

    I would really like to sit down with the folks that thought this was all right. C’mon, people!! Really?!

  • http://ophyliakilledhamlet.tumblr.com/ O’Phylia

    Aw dang it. And I just bought their honey lip balm.

    *sulks over to her purse and throws it in the trash*

    [/stupid morals]

  • http://twitter.com/Lana_Moore Lana Moore

    I kind of agree with the ad.

  • http://melindasperspective.blogspot.com Melinda

    I want to believe that they didn’t mean to offend because I L.O.V.E. their products, but this is just plain wrong.

  • caramel

    The head is that of a “caveman”, period. Nothing to read into that IMO.

  • Calidreaming86

    I interpret the ad as the head the man is holding is what he used to look like, a caveman and since he started using Nivea he looks more civilized. I am not the least bit offended by the ad, but then again I am not a fan of Black men anyway.

  • Pat

    reeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaching!! Clutch, there is a white version too.

  • http://www.reflectionandreview.com Shannon

    It’s problematic either way, but especially if there is no additional ad(s) featuring someone from another race (white, or otherwise). It’s a pretty sure bet that the folks at Nivea – is this an American company? – didn’t mean to be racist or offensive – or controversial even – but it is irresponsible.

  • guestonclutch

    the “uncivilized”/”caveman” head is a black man who has his hair in its natural state. when he shaves it off, THEN he’s civilized? THEN he gives a damn?

    they could’ve easily kept the afro and had him without the beard. i get that they’re trying to market their skincare/shaving products or whatever. unintentional or not, the message is clear: we as a people are still seen (by both white folk and ourselves) as uncivilized for keeping our hair as it NATURALLY grows out of our heads.

    *insert picture of a man with an afro and beard holding the head of clean shaven guy*
    RECIVILIZE YOURSELF
    LOOK LIKE YOU GIVE A DAMN ABOUT THE CAUSE

  • caramel

    LOL. I continue to find great amusement in people who go out of their way to find offense in just about anything. Google “caveman” and you will see the resemblance between both the white and black version and it has nothing to do with natural hair. Should I point out that the “civilized” model in the picture also has NATURAL hair?

  • ruggie

    Not surprising. Nivea also has a product line of skin whitening products they sell to men in India (tag line is “Join the Whitening Revolution.”) They came under fire for that, too, and still keep it going. No shame in their game.

  • Nne

    I know, right. Sometimes, I think they do it on purpose because any press is good press these days.

    Anyway, I understand some of you who think that it may be a bit of a reach, but the problem is that if something like this slides, you’re going to open the floodgates – you know how our society is about constantly trying to push the envelope – especially when it comes to matters and sex and race.

  • Chnyere

    WAIT!! I know this seems bad at first but think about. If this ad had a white man instead who was holding the head of another white men who was un shaved with long uncut hair, he would look like a cave man and on would be quick to say that. Therefore, the phrase “re-civilize ur self” would be in order; this ad follows the same idea.

  • Nne

    And I totally hear you, but if it is offensive to one race and not the other, that doesn’t mean that the offended party should not still be offended.
    Say for example (and this is a horrible horrible example) there was an advert for Botox A and their claim to fame is that unlike the other brands of Botox it won’t make your eyes look slanted/squinty. So they have an advert showing a black woman going from squinty slanted eyes to “normal looking,” and then repeat the same advert for say a Chinese woman. The Chinese woman has a right to be offended because you are claiming that there is an inherent defect in her ethnic features. Of course the black woman wouldn’t be upset, but my not being upset doesn’t negate the fact that it still offends someone else.

    Needless to say, issues of hair and it’s textures have been a highly charged debate among us and continue so. Why add fuel to the fire all in the name of selling some body cream?

  • http://www.roxfontaine.com Rox Fontaine

    This is nothing to get riled up about. This ad is harmless. This is the era of “metrosexuals”. The “mountain man” look is not very popular. It’s DEFINITELY not popular on Black men. Name a Black entertainer that everyone would OK walking around looking like Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp when they’re not working on films. I’ll wait….

    There are 3 components to the ad. People only focus on the visual and the “Re-civilize yourself” The most important piece is “Look like you give a damn.” Doesn’t matter what race you are; if you look wild in the streets you look wild in the streets.

  • http://afrostyle-afrostyle.blogspot.com/ AfroStylin

    So by your logic, wearing your hair in its natural state means you dont care about your appearance?

  • http://afrostyle-afrostyle.blogspot.com/ AfroStylin

    All you brain washed fools talking about cavemen…this damn head might as well be questlove…a black man with an afro and a beard if i am not mistaken. Its not dissing black men, its dissing natural black hair.

  • Chnyere

    Wait, wait, wait…”issues of hair and it’s textures have been a highly charged debate,” the guy holding the head would look the same if he didn’t keep himself groomed and shave off his hair. Although, your argument about something offending one race and not another race is valid, ur argument is more serious than this issue.

  • guestonclutch

    i find great amusement in people that are content to absorb what the uncivilized media continually projects.

    the savages behind the advertisements are telling us that “civilization” lies in the removal of the type of hair that grows from our heads. the model has a low cut, yes it’s natural but there is pretty much no hair. hence the advert is saying that black men only look “civilized” when they remove the hair on their head as it naturally grows. they are saying if you have an afro (which is the way a black man’s hair would be if he were to let it grow naturally), it looks like you do not give a damn.

    why do i even have to explain why i am offended? how are you NOT offended?! are sisters really trying to say that this sort of thing isn’t a big deal? like everything’s fine and dandy? HOW ARE WE EVER GONNA GET ANYWHERE?

  • Clnmike

    Offensive? Maybe, depending on your perspective. Effective, no, when it comes to the topic of grooming most men stick to what works. Razor bumps alone forces men not to jump on the first bright idea that pops up.

  • *lb*rollingstone

    I’m a little disappointed at the women commenting on this article trying to act like this isn’t at least a little prejudice. The main problem I have is them showing a black man, even a clean cut, put together man in a “violent” scene. Take away the Nivea brand logo. Even take away the caption re civilize yourself. It says, black man is violent, he has the head of a black man in his hand and he is tossing it. Even that can be passed on. But the caption saying re-civilize yourself really says that black men are unruly, wild animals who are bloodthirsty criminals. Its sad that some black women will state their grievances with the media but won’t even acknowledge what the media does to black men.

    On some real, the world is not against black women. The black woman has always been collateral damage. Western society is against black men, because Western society for some reason is afraid that black men will run the world, again. I don’t say this to diss black women. I say this to say look at the media for what it is. It isn’t a coincidence that this Nivea add with a black man comes out saying re-civilize yourself. Look at the riots in London, or the flash mobs in Philadelphia and Los Angeles and Wisconsin. WHITE PEOPLE-WESTERN SOCIETY is now openly saying that the problem with society is black men. Many have said it now. Black men, black culture, hip hop culture is the problem. NO the problem is racism. The problem is people who don’t work to help each other out. The problem is stupid women who care more about their sex and social lives than the plight of their own people. The media doesn’t represent black women and sh*ts on black women because this society doesn’t want black children. They don’t want black men anymore, they don’t need black men anymore. And a lot of black women are riding that same bandwagon. I have to say then that I’m happy that those who have shot confidence are insecure, because only a stupid person would look to a media that put her ancestors in chains and raped them, would believe in that media and ride for that media. If you can’t see this add for what it is, your too invested in American society. Your too caught up in living this disgusting thing so that you can succeed on your own. All the while people who look like you are DYING EVERYWHERE.

    You want to know why little black girls get raped from Sierra Leone, to Port Au Prince, to Johannesburg to Detroit? Because of this society, this media, these ideologies, that see your life as expendable. If you want things to change, focus on YOUR OWN PEOPLE. Now I will admit that black men have completely dropped the ball in the GRAND SCHEME of things for every generation back to even over a thousand years ago. We weren’t strong enough to preserve ourselves. Now we got young black men (and other races too) rioting in London, mad at the government but still looking to the government to help them, when the government put them in that predicament. All these lost black men, who don’t know that they could direct that misguided energy to bettering our plight. To all the real black women, sorry that our male ancestors let you down, I pray its not to late to change things. A lot of you women are gaining education and a decent amount of disposable income. Move in with your friends, buy cheap things and preserve your money. Create a business, meet an unselfish black man, build self esteem and awareness for Black African people from your community and vicinity outward. Then maybe we can make a change. I have faith. Sorry for the long rant.

  • http://www.roxfontaine.com Rox Fontaine

    Man, you have got to be kidding me. That was the biggest load of tripe I’ve had the displeasure of reading in a long time. I should have stopped at, “The world is not against Black women.”

    The real reason people have a problem with this ad is because they can’t accept the fact that the head he’s tossing is UNKEPT. Your natural growth argument is so transparent. If Black men were walking around completely natural (unkept) women would be talkin’ all types of trash. I’m sure you’d let your boyfriend go to a job interview with 2 years of completely natural growth. Oh, I got one….let your son go to school with 2 years of completely natural growth. GTFOH!

    Could the ad be less agitating by showing a man with a more full hairstyle? Sure. Would that appeal to the ads target demographic? No. Maybe you need to reevaluate YOUR perception of the Black man. I see a young and athletic Black man. Looks to be a professional of some sort. College graduate. Single. For him, that head’s look IS uncivilized and he is far too proud to let himself walk around looking that way. I know I wouldn’t.

  • bluebird

    Yes this ad is offensive. Let’s not act like the white mainstream media, especially cosmetic and personal care corporations don’t have an problem with natural haired blacks. Hello, how many blacks do we see in the media, on the news wearing their natural hair?

    LOL @ folks acting brand new and calling this ad unoffensive. Some of you need to learn your history.

  • ……..

    well if the little doll had no hair on it how would he hold it? you wouldn’t be able to hold it from a fade hair cut…so whats the problem again?

  • http://cupofjo-jo.blogspot.com bk chick

    @ IB…*applause* ….they have us so effed up we can’t even see it when its right in our face….the simple fact that the commenters in this section can not come to a consensus shows how deep in this shit we really are…

  • Yomi

    It’s hard for me to say whether this should be considered offensive or not. Still, I can understand from the perspective of those who might feel it is. At the same time, I agree that there had to be some hair on the head for him to hold it. Did it have to be fro’d out hair though? LOL.

  • http://www.dendoo.com char

    i’m ususally not one of those ppl that look for something in anything but i am designer, i understand marketing and advertising and while the ad is clever it’s disturbing to me. i didn’t read the points the writer made first; i looked at the ad first then read the points about it. as a natural haired woman and someone who thinks a more natural style eg: twists, afros, locs are sexy on men i think it’s a bit offensive. especially coming off as you’re only the ish if you clean cut. not only that but the tagline ‘look like you give a damn’ comes off as somewhat scolding towards men. and the tagline doesn’t even feel target toward just the nappy bros but to bros in general. i’m not crying racist but certain things about the ad make me feel a way

  • Clnmike

    Definitely not an attack on natural hair, unless people believe dude has a S-curl in his head.

  • caramel

    You are not the demographics to which this ad is aimed. Most people do prefer the clean cut, neat look, on a man. When I see the head, all I see is a caveman, something that most women and men find “uncivilized”. If someone see themselves or people they care about in the “caveman”, then the ad is disturbing or offensive to them. However, the ad itself is not racist, even if it does come across as somewhat elitist when viewed by the unintended demographics..

  • twee

    I’m convinced they are doing these type of ads on purpose at this point. Sites like Clutch, BGLH and all of the other sites I’ve visited just this morning alone has this topic posted, which further gives publicity and there are enough black people that don’t see the offense, rather this ad or others so it’s not hurting their $$ and if anything it may be helping due to those individuals tired of the topic or feel this is seeking to find racism in everything.

    Stop talking about it and it’ll go away I say.

  • kendall

    This is hilarious because blacks were never cavemen and women. We all know who were the cave people…we don’t even have to go there

  • jane

    “re-civilize yourself” Dark-hued people were the first civilization. If they were targeting ‘cave-men’ then the model and the head would have been Caucasian. Advertisers invest a lot of money for advertising. Before placing an ad, they conduct focus groups, research studies and endure long drawn out meetings over colors, text, imagery, styling etc. They had to know this would be deemed offensive by some.

  • http://ayoungblackwoman.wordpress.com Ashley

    You know, I wouldn’t have as much of an issue about it but the non-black version of the ad didn’t have “re-civilize yourself” on it.

  • http://pertheblog.blogspot.com Tracie

    Really Nivea, really?!

  • Pet

    Because ads are always based on reality…..???

  • http://www.roxfontaine.com Rox Fontaine

    Please tell me these two did NOT just say that….*smacks forehead*

    You have to TRY to be this damn ignorant. Please tell me what those savvy dark skinned original men lived in before these savage Caucasians came along stuffing themselves in caves. I’ll wait….

  • http://sweetilocks.blogspot.com Sweetilocks

    The problem with this image is that it portrays black men will fully haired faces as uncivilized. The clean-cut version is the prototype that is seen as non-threatening and acceptable by white society’s standards. To say a man is any less civilized because of the hair on his face or head is only something that happens in regards to black men. White men can walk around with full-grown beards and no one has a problem. But since our hair is curly and distinct, some of us have even been brainwashed to the point where we accept the denigration of what is natural to us: the afro. To even go as far as saying MOST people prefer clean-cut is a direct result of that brain-washing. And as a journalism student, I know that the same banal thinking goes into advertising. Nothing gets published until it’s been reviewed a million times, so this is clearly prejudice bullshit that tells black men they must assimilate to the white standard of beauty before they will be accepted or considered civilized. Some of y’all really need to think about shit and stop letting everything slide because it makes you uncomfortable. We do NOT live in a post-racial society. Wake up!

  • chuck

    Clearly this is a company with racist biases that further extend to their hiring practices based on how you naturally look. Our wooly hair is natural and god given. This just shows how pathetic their corporate ethics are and how they perceive black men as animals for being natural. Their agenda is to make black men look how they want them to look in-order to accepted in Nivea’s world of acceptance.

    It just shows lack of diversity they have in management and marketing. Furthermore, It provides discriminatory practices they might have in human resources, when you are “representing the company” as a person. I will never, ever buy the product again.

    You can file a complaint here.

    http://www.niveausa.com/about-us/beiersdorf/contact-us

    “Please check your email for a response within 3 business days. You can also speak with a representative by phone at 1-800-227-4703, Monday to Friday, 9:30 am to 4:30 pm ET.”

  • http://imsuchanafroholic.blogspot.com Maya

    I’m incredibly offended by this ad–it’s way worse than the Summer’s Eve scandal, in my opinion.

  • patsi

    so the only way you can hold a head is by the hair?

  • jane

    Rox Fontaine are you serious or are you being sarcastic. If you are serious, it is really unnerving. Surely you know of ancient civilizations. If not, enroll in a history course with a focus on Africa. May I suggest, you take a summer and tour with this group http://www.asarestorationproject.com/

    Knowing history will add to your enriched life.

  • Moran

    Is this ad even real? It probably isn’t and someone just thought it would be fun(ny) to stir up fake controversy.

  • …….

    well i did think about it more..maybe if he was holding an afro head and i looked up and he had a perm/s-curl and then i could understand? but him having a fade to me is still inherently black because its still in its natural state and not assimilation at all.. i assumed it was suppose to be a cave men head because of the full unkempt beard…maybe if it was a black woman holding an afro doll and you look up and see her with a 18″ indian remy #1 weave in i would find it offensive.

    i feel like they could replace this ad with any race and nothing would change but model and the doll skin tone(and the doll with more euro/asian/whatever race hair)

  • SAA

    what is the problem with this ad? Would it be any different if it were a white man holding the “black head” or a black man holding a “white head”. I prefer males to look how the model does. Think about who they are marketing to. This ad won’t be featured on television and if not for clutch and coco&creme writing an article about it, how many of us would really know it existed? much ado about nothing and if you’re that upset just don’t buy their products. Gawd…

  • Hope

    Nivea did the ad “look like you give a damn” ad but with non black men instead and none of the ads had the non-black men with a short hair cut throwing a non black head with curly or wavy hair and the words “re- civilized yourself” on them. This ad is clearly racist.

  • D-Chubb

    @jane I had to do a double take on Rox Fontaine’s question, too. Clearly this person needs a brush up on evolutionary history. The whole reason human beings walk upright is because our ancestors had to travel long distances to find food. Newsflash: There are no caves on savannas and plains.

  • jane

    @D-Chubb

    Yeah..I was really floored by Rox Fontaine’s statement. We have to teach our young ones about history, especially their history. This is partly why they/we are in the state we are in, still..

  • http://twitter.com/KYTOY Ky Toy

    I’m so happy that you posted that because I was about to say the same exact thing. How long has it been since they had to be TAUGHT how to walk up-right? PLEASE! lol Like, C’mon people lets seriously educate ourselves and ignore the stupidity because the way I see it, they CLEARLY weren’t talking about WHO and WHERE I come from… so why acknowledge it?

  • SM Williams

    I believe the head he is holding is meant to look more Neanderthal than like a person of African heritage. Perhaps there was a bit of “slickness” on the part of the ad execs, but to take offense is to also take the bait in feeling and believing the is something “uncivilized” about brown skin or an afro.
    Image the impact if the person throwing the head was a non-black man. Selah.

  • http://www.roxfontaine.com Rox Fontaine

    OMG! You are so smart! There are no caves in savannahs and plains? I’m SHOCKED! I can’t help but notice that you didn’t answer the question. Did the Black man start at the beginning or somewhere in the middle? Are we talking evolution or creationism? My guess is that we’re talking a jacked up glossed over irrational combination of it all.

    All these arguments about all of this trivial GARBAGE are just ridiculous. I’m embarrassed at myself for being baited by you all as you were baited by this ad. I also notice that nobody acknowledged my comment on what I see in the MAN himself. I’m certain that all of you are far too evolved and enlightened human beings to make judgments about your brothers and sisters, or any human being for that matter, based on their looks.

    How about this….How many of you bought Nivea products before this ad? I have NEVER purchased their products. Fact. It doesn’t look or sound like a product for me; I don’t care what their advertisements are. How many of you have A&F, Hollister, AE, etc. in your closets? None in mine. That stuff is not for me.

    A little ad comes out and everybody is all of sudden first in line behind Al Sharpton. What about the trash you consume every day? Trash including that produced by Black Americans. This high horse faux neo negro internet BS is for the birds.

  • http://www.roxfontaine.com Rox Fontaine

    Whaaaat? There are no caves on savannahs or plains!? I’m SHOCKED! You didn’t answer the question though. Are we talking evolution or creationism? My guess is we’re talking a glossed over version of both. Would the ad be more fitting if the head was that of Australopithecus Africanus? Then they’d be calling us monkeys, no?

    LMAO!

  • http://www.naturalhairloveaffair.com Ayo@NaturalHairLoveAffair

    If you haven’t written in, here’s a great letter to send:

    After viewing Nivea’s advertisement depicting an image of a young man of color holding a decapitated head of another man of color with natural hair, I became concerned and decided to write your company. The image and wording of this advertisement is totally inappropriate and offensive as it appears to imply that people of color, Black people, are as the ad implies “uncivilized” until one uses the Nivea product. Why would such marketing tools be used in such distasteful and racially motivated ways?
    This advertisement is uncouth and lacks sensitivity towards others by the volumes it speaks to project people of color as being barbaric with (in my opinion) or without the use of the product. Even as the young man of color is about to hurl a decapitated head (of another man of color) promotes images of violence and implies that he disdains himself as well as his own kind.

    Furthermore, the historical use of violence in the form of decapitation, castration, hanging, rape and mass murder of thousands of people of color here in the United States alone during the post-antebellum period is enough for anyone with an inkling of respect for the past and for their fellow man to deem it inappropriate to use such marketing ploys in this day and age.

    Please explain the logic of this to me.

    I hope in the future your branding and marketing people do a better job at utilizing their creative talents and abilities to develop advertising that is worthy of public attention and less scrutiny.

    Best to You,

  • pixelvixon

    Why is it that anything that represent black men or women in a ad or anything else that black people wanna get all ” I’m offended by this…bla bla bla. People you need to stop feeling so sensitive and insecure about your color. Wake up, this is a great ad, I’m black and not offended by it just happy they used some who is of color, there nothing in this ad that is offensive

    Getting fed up of hearing this excuse every time there anything that represents black skin color. I’m in my 40′s, and black and been hearing this kind of negative comments for most of my life and sick of hearing this kind of crap.

  • bluebird

    BRILLIANT!!!

  • bluebird

    thank u chuck for the link.

  • hmmm

    black people shouldn’t be included in advertisement anymore because either the company is gona mess it up or the black people will complain about it anyway.. its a no win situation

  • JUNE B.

    I believe this is great advertising. Sometimes we should take things as they are and not imagine underlying racial inequalities. Its hard enough for black models to get hired, without the company worrying about being targeted as racist. This is nonsense and I am not offended.

  • zy

    so… when the other ads come out with a white man holding a caveman-like head… will they be racist too or is it only racist because it’s a black head? people… DON’T WE HAVE BIGGER SHIT TO OBSESS ABOUT???!!!

  • Fontain

    No, this ad is not racist! Lets get over ourselves people and find us some business! If Nivea chose not to use black models we would complain …I honestly believe our communities sensitivity to minor mundane issues is why we are not able to progress or somewhat unify ourselves with society…We will always be the odd man out if we continue to make an uproar about bulls#$t. THAT IS ALL.

  • http://www.crazycoolgroovy.com CCGroovy

    @Sweetilocks @Chuck @Ayo@NaturalHairLoveAffair;

    THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

    ALL of your sentiments were most eloquently, poetically, and most importantly; culturally and historically relevant and accurate.

    @Ayo; I WILL be using your letter.

    GOD Bless Y’all!!!

    -CCG

  • Infenitee1

    WOW!. I am not reallu sure about Nivea products of any kind. The one thing that I am sure about is being natural. I found the advertisement and the tagline to be of utter distaste. Everybody who is anybody knows that being natural is being beautiful. It is being beautiful in who and what you are; without the extra additives. For those that recognized the distastefulness, keep your head up in a natural kind of way; if you have a fro, rock it, if you hair is nappy, lock it, if your hair is straight, allow it to flow with ease, and if your hair is curly, let it tangle in the breeze….. Stay NATURAL….NIVEA FREE…..

  • NaturalBro

    You know if they would have replaced the clean cut guy with a guy with a trimmed beard and a nice looking afro, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Why didn’t they do that? It seems that would have been a better fit to their motto. I mean I can give a damn without shaving all my hair off, right?

  • Mark Halfmoon

    What I am seeing in the ad is a statement about conformity. It suggests that if I want to be “civilized” – i.e. fit comfortably into the sterile world symbolized by that weird futuristic parking lot background the brother is about to throw a severed head into, which I presume the ad is selling as a desirable place to be – I had better dress like Damon Wayans in Bamboozled and rid my head of as much hair as I can. The pissed-off Asian-like facial expression has to go too.

    In the 1960s when the Afro (short for African Bush) became popular, it wasn’t just a hairstyle. It symbolized a change in what was happening in our heads. It represented the breaking of the chains of internalized oppression that held us back in our own minds. It reminded us of who we were and where we came from. It said I am Black (African), and I am proud.

    I guess now we’re supposed to be all ‘post racial’ and we supposedly no longer have a need for all that the Afro represented. So in this throwaway society, when we have no more use for something we…. throw it away. And I mean far away. That brother looks like he’s trying to win Olympic Gold in the shot put category. The irony is that, of the two, he’s the one who looks like he doesn’t give a damn. He’s the one engaged in the rather uncivilized activity of calmly tossing a severed human head across the ground with nary a thought given to the difficulty of stain removal, should he accidentally spill any blood or gore on that nice sweater.

    I just wonder, did the good folks at Nivea discover from their test marketing that you can sell more product to Black folks if you insult their intelligence? Who is the advertising executive that came up with this idea and are they in recovery yet or still tweaking? Could this in any way be connected to that headless corpse found outside the West Oakland Yoga and Natural Foods Collective Compassionate Care Midnight Poetry Slam last month? I wonder if those lines are there to measure distance. Will he watch the head land? Will it bounce on the asphalt, or just splat?

  • Mary

    my spin on this……the uncivilized part was most likely thought up as a reaction to the stereotype of the ‘African Tribal’ men that use to be on the cover of National Geographic back in the day – they were considered ‘uncivilized’ back then because they lived in the jungle (or wherever) and they didn’t live as Western ‘civilized’ people (whatever that means). So, the ad was most likely thought up by an ad exec who obviously grew up in this era (and he’s probably a black man) who wants to debunk this stereotype once and all from his persona – so he depicts the well groomed, black man throwing away this ‘uncivilized African tribal’ head that has haunted him since 1950′s! Come on people – lighten up. First of all, Nivea is a skin care company so I don’t understand why people are focusing on the Afro hairstyle – it’s the beard actually, you can’t use skincare products with a bearded face as lavishly as on a clean shaven face. We are ALL soooooo overly sensitive these days……….I mean, really, they could have had the dude throwing the head of an ape, now THAT would have been racist.

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  • Mwatuangi

    You do know you’re contradicting yourself in your post, right? If he’s shedding the “stereotype” of the African Bushman who wasn’t civilized due to cultural norms that didn’t conform to racist Eurocentric beliefs and blatantly exploitative and racist representations, then is he not complicit in the acceptance of that stereotype, especially since the afro doesn’t originate from Africa? All your comment shows is the same ignorance about non-european cultures found throughout America when it comes to issues of racially offensive representations.

  • http://www.maxalife.com esther

    The tagline for that product of Nivea is excellent. However, the illustration created a problem. That look (afro and close beard) is a more of a trend and identity nowadays. People who have that look, and color, would surely react. They should’ve put up a Tarzan-ish man or java man instead of an afro guy. In this way, they will still be able to put their message across plus a slant of humor.

  • whimisicalmusing

    Summer’s Eve scandal? Please enlighten me.

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  • Ihatenappyhair

    Black man or caveman hair- it’s nappy and disgusting. The cleaned up guy looks hot and sexy. Natural black hair is NEVER clean, civilized, or sexy.

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