First Black hair Christmas advert airs on British TV

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A festive advertisement for Afro hair products – starring a Black woman with natural hair – is to air on TV for the first time this month.

Afrocenchix, a natural Afro hair care brand, is launching the first Black hair Christmas advert – and you will be able to watch it on Channel 4 from this weekend, and it will run for the month of November.

The ad tells the story of a young Black woman feeling unhappy with her hair – until she receives a gift of hair products designed especially for her. By the end, she can look and feel her best for her Christmas party.

‘It’s a tale many can relate to,’ says Afrocenchix CEO Rachael Twumasi-Corson.

‘Feeling insecure before a big event feels awful, and we’ve all been there. This time the solution comes from a brand that understands the unique needs of people with Afro and curly hair.’

A Christmas advert that centres a Black woman in this way shouldn’t be a big thing, but it’s a sad reality that festive adverts have become contentious for some people in the UK.

In recent years, we have seen an increase in diverse representation in the seasonal commercials, with Black, Asian and interracial families taking centre stage for some major brands.

This is a step forwards in terms of inclusion and representing the makeup of the UK more accurately, but the downside is the backlash that comes with these ads.

Every year, like clockwork, people get angry at a non-white family featuring in a festive advert, with accusations of ‘forcing’ diversity, or of being ‘too woke’ (whatever that means).

‘Diversity enriches the British culture, but some people worry that it somehow takes away from the white majority,’ Rachel tells Metro.co.uk.

‘This type of unwarranted fear leads to a huge amount of the racism and trolling – which we have experienced at Afrocenchix.

‘Some people fear that adverts with Black or mixed heritage families are forcing diversity down their throats and taking opportunities from white actors.

‘I’d ask those who find them contentious to think about the positive impact such ads have on little Black British children and reconsider their finite thinking. There’s room for everyone.’

Afrocenchix was founded by Rachel and fellow entrepreneur Joycelyn Mate, two friends who met at university in 2008. The pair were frustrated with the lack of products for Afro hair. They found so many products simply didn’t work, or contained damaging chemicals to increase their shelf life, improve the smell and keep costs as low as possible.

They decided to team up to create their own. They wanted products that were ‘kind to people and the planet.’

Their hard work and persistence paid off. In July 2021, Afrocenchix announced that it had raised $1.2m (£890,000) in investment to grow the business and take a bite out of the $42bn (£31bn) Afro hair care market.

‘We hope this ad will go viral and help more people find our safe, effective vegan haircare,’ says Rachel. ‘We want people to buy gifts from Afrocenchix for their loved ones so that they can feel as confident as the beautiful young woman in the commercial. 

‘Buying from Afrocenchix means supporting a small business. Profits from our Christmas sales will go towards hiring more underrepresented people in STEM and launching new products and technologies for our community.’

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