Pear Sh(e)aped.

Shea Moisture. You bunch of doughnuts.

Your brand catered for black people’s hair, mainly natural hair. Black women with thick, coarse, natural non-relaxed hair buy 99.9% of your products. So why did you bring out a new advert (now deleted but I’m sure it can be found floating in the internet ether) with absolutely no representation of this group of people?

I saw Shea Moisture trending on social media last night so I checked it out and this advert popped up. By the end of the 60 second promo I was surprised by how unrepresentative it was.

As usual, with products out there that initially catered to black women (Sleek Makeup, anyone?) the brand owners decided that the Black Pound is not enough and are now targeting white women for their custom. Then your ad comes out and you have not one, but two white women in your advert (along with a light skinned, possibly mixed race woman), all talking about ‘hair hate’. Talking about how they have so many issues with their hair. What the hell?

The hair issues of women like the ones in your advert (which usually consists of ‘Shall I wear my hair back or loose today?’ or ‘Which shampoo shall I buy from the supermarket out of the hundreds I can use?’) are considerably different to those of black women with thick natural hair, for whom just deciding what to do with their hair is often a struggle. Where were the women with 4a/4b/4c hair? You know- the ones that actually use your products? Most times, they can’t just put it all back in a ponytail. Most times they need a shitload of products to ensure their hair doesn’t dry out an hour after they moisturised it. Most times they do not have the breadth of choice that women with Caucasian hair have when it comes to choosing products because a lot of the mainstream stores do not stock many products for our type of hair. 
Also, when they go to the nearest Boots, Superdrug or supermarket, white women have 1,001 products to choose from because most of the hair products sold are for Caucasian hair. They don’t have to worry and search high and low for a product that works with their hair. They don’t have to go to specific hair stores to buy their items. They don’t have to spend ages everyday sorting or ‘taming’ their hair for fear of their hair (and hair texture) being called ‘unprofessional’ or ‘unsuitable for the workplace’. Even something as simple as hair gel is a problem for women with natural (and relaxed) hair because everyday gels don’t do much. 

As for those who think it’s great that Shea Moisure are being more inclusive and that black women are whining over nothing because apparently that’s what we’re good at… 

You know what happens when a product that was specifically made for black women becomes a product for everybody? Do you know who gets left out? That’s right: black women. The very people who parted with hard-earned cash and through word of mouth made the brand what it is today. But clearly our money and our opinion and our needs don’t mean shit. 

The majority of white women (or those with Caucasian hair) cannot handle Shea butter and certain thick oils in their hair follicles as it’s too heavy. So the product formulas that worked well for the naturalistas will no longer be as effective as they will be diluted (and you can count on that). Because, fuck effectiveness for those that supported you from the start if you can cater for everyone, right?


As you can tell by my writing, I think this entire situation is pure fuckery. The worst thing is that the owners of Shea Moisture were lacking in self-awareness as they didn’t realise there was a problem until they saw the big backlash on social media. They even started their Facebook post with ‘Wow. Okay…’ What were they expecting? Black women to give them a standing ovation? Yet again, we’ve seen black-owned products catering for black-ass people (but not promoting this aspect, funnily enough), but as soon as they get a whiff of mainstream attention or a shout-out in Cosmopolitan or Grazia, they shout from the rooftops that they cater for ‘EVERYONE’. 

Shea Moisture deserve every bit of negative publicity that they get from this. Here’s hoping they learn from this, but I doubt it.

A Plane Disgrace.

United Airlines are doing their utmost to divide public opinion on them from ‘bad’ to ‘downright despicable’. A thirty-second video emerged yesterday of a male passenger being dragged off one of their flights, kicking and screaming and sporting a bloody nose. 

This incident was in full view of the other passengers and several security personnel carted him off while passengers voiced their anger and horror at such a thing. 

Where do I start with this mess?

Firstly, United overbooked this particular flight and then realised that they needed four seats to accommodate members of their cabin crew because they needed to get to their next flight. Oh, so sod the other passengers who want to get somewhere. The cabin crew asked for four passengers to give up their seats. When they refused, they played ‘eenie meenie miny mo’ and forced them to give up their seats.

United have a lot of nerve. It was their fault that the flight was overbooked and they wanted passengers to pay the price for their cost-and-corner cutting. Why should they? If they are so desperate to get their staff from A to B, use the CEO’s private jet, dammit.

Everyone I know who has seen the video had the same reaction: sheer disbelief. They can’t believe that if they go on a plane, they could go through the same thing and be treated as less than human for something that was not their fault. 

The passenger in question is a doctor- he could have been on his way to perform life saving surgery, plus…HE’S A DOCTOR. I’d rather he stayed on the flight and got to his destination and saw his patients than the airline staff. Couldn’t United have called on other staff members to stand-in? A big old airline like that had no extra cover for four people? Come off it. 


United Airlines gave the go-ahead for security to treat the man lower than a dog- and then had the nerve to defend it! The passenger booked and paid for his seat in good faith, checked in, had his luggage in the hold and was all buckled up and raring to go. His journey ended with him being dragged off a plane and into the world’s spotlight. A paying passenger was treated like a criminal. I could understand if he committed a criminal act but all he did was (rightly) refuse to give up the seat he paid for to accommodate United Airlines’ foolishness. 

In the last few hours, the CEO of United Airlines said sorry for the ‘truly horrific’ incident. It took him long enough. 


This was a disgraceful incident, no matter which way you look at it. I hope the passenger sues United Airlines for every penny because they have behaved in a shockingly callous way and shown that they clearly have no regard for their customers. 

Pepsi Lost Their Fizz.

The internet has gone bananas about the new Pepsi ad starring Kendall Jenner...and not in a good way. Naturally, I have to throw in my two cents:

First of all, why is this advert nearly three minutes long? Unless it’s a charity appeal, there’s no need for any advert to have that duration.

Secondly, what was the point? I watched it thrice and still didn’t get it. I thought it was a parody. It was like a stylised, ultra glossy version of an American protest, with extra layers of FA-SHUN added by bringing Ms Jenner to the mix. 


What were Pepsi thinking? I wasted my time watching something that felt like a very colourful Gap ad or a music video than a pointed illustration of modern American life.

The advert was utterly pointless. Even if they were attempting to make a point (and I still don’t know what that was), this was probably the dumbest way to do it. Was there no person of colour at Pepsi HQ (or any person, in fact) who could have said, ‘Are you sure this is a good idea?’ 


Who decided that little ‘Wonder Woman’ bit where Jenner whipped off her wig was a slice of genius? It only succeeded in making me laugh. The fist bump between her and the black guy dancing throughout was cringeworthy, as was the mini-flirting with the violinist who cannot sip properly from a can of Pepsi. But let’s be honest, the entire ad was two minutes and forty-six seconds of cringe and I’m still trying to figure out WHAT THE FRIGGING POINT OF IT WAS. 


So if peaceful protestors of the past such as Martin Luther King and Malcolm X had a Pepsi on their person, maybe the powers-that-be would have been more sympathetic to their plight? If Black Lives Matter had a Pepsi multipack, things might have been less problematic? If only real life was as simple as handing a fizzy drink to a member of the riot police, eh? Why did Pepsi think they could crowbar themselves into this issue and turn it into something palatable, edgy and trendy (ugh)? It’s as bad as that time Sky Sports turned their Super Sunday credits into WAG Central: an unrecognisable football crowd full of gorgeous model-esque women, suited blokes and happy families all waving their hands to ‘Loving Each Day’ by Ronan Keating, with not a single regular-looking football fan in sight. 

Pepsi released an apology which only apologised to Kendall Jenner rather than those who complained about the ad- why I do not know. Ms Jenner is twenty years old. She is not a child. She can make her own decisions regarding which projects she takes on and those she does not, so why they aimed their apology at her and her alone is weird. 

Seriously Pepsi, stick to what you’re good at. In fact, all big brands should probably do so unless they’re absolutely sure they have got their message right. I’m not looking to you to make a statement on the world today- I want you to carry on making mindless and insanely expensive adverts that I can roll my eyes at and not expect anything other than you selling your cold beverage to me through heavy-handed product placement. Trivialising the protests of recent times into happy vignettes of aesthetically-pleasing young people in technicolor (I saw no diversity in terms of age in that crowd at all) walking through sun-drenched streets clutching cans of your drink is not the one.


© isanynamefree 2017

Black Lives Matter.

Sunday. Oxford Circus. London. 9:30am. 

I stood waiting outside the station with a group of friends and a large crowd of strangers. Not much gets me out of bed that early on a Sunday morning- especially in central London -but there I was. Everybody was there for one reason: the Black Lives Matter march. The one held last Friday was a resounding success and now it was our turn. Forty minutes later, we set off down Oxford Street towards the American embassy, back down Oxford Street then onto Marble Arch and Hyde Park.

As the day went on the crowd grew bigger and bigger, almost like people dumped their shopping to join us. It was amazing to see. We were loud, we were proud, we held up traffic on Oxford Street (not something I thought I’d ever say) and we were peaceful. People of all backgrounds, ages, races and cultures- people who might not speak to each other at any other time were marching side by side on that rainy Sunday.

Bus drivers beeped their horns in solidarity (though I’m sure some of them wanted us to just get out of the way). An old woman gave everybody two thumbs-up while sitting upstairs on the bus. Some people we walked past gave us approving nods- very British.

Eventually we left after four hours with the several-thousand strong crowd still chanting and protesting as they walked down Park Lane, past The Dorchester hotel- again, not something I thought I would ever see! Instead of heading home, I had a little wander around London for an hour or two and saw that the protesters had made it to the Houses of Parliament. No rain or terrible British summer (because this is definitely the worst summer this country has ever had) could put them off as they stood there, while bewildered tourists wondered what was going on. 

The next day I discussed the march with a couple of friends. They wanted to attend but could not make it, then one of them declared, ‘I don’t see the point of protesting. What’s the point? Nothing is gonna change anyway.’ I was disappointed by his reaction but also unsurprised. If he had that attitude throughout life, I argued, then what’s the point of getting out of bed in the morning? What’s the point of going to work to pay for your car? You might as well give up. The point of the protest was to show solidarity in the aftermath of the terrible deaths/unlawful killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile in America, as well as highlight the injustices towards black people in this country and worldwide. It was to show that any injustices perpetrated in future will not be taken lying down. It was also to (literally) demonstrate that we are here and we are as important as everyone else. 

There is a long-standing debate concerning the tagline ‘All Lives Matter’. Some people feel that by having the Black Lives Matter movement, it is encouraging a new kind of segregation and racism, to which I reply: No. As one placard said at Sunday’s march: ‘Pro-Black does NOT mean anti-White’. I wish some people would realise this because it’s not that hard to understand. I have friends and family of various races and religions and I am very proud of that fact. Of course all lives matter- that is obvious. Everybody matters on this planet. But I am also proud of my colour and my heritage and there is nothing wrong with showing that. 

The problem is sometimes, underneath the banner of All Lives Matter, black people can tend to be forgotten, unheard or even misrepresented. This may be due to certain people being pushed forward as the voice of our community who, let’s face it, have nothing to do with us. People who think they know everything about us and our culture because they’ve been around us for longer than 10 minutes. Too many times we have seen people represent us who are not of the same colour or, even worse, those who describe themselves as ‘politically black’. Where on earth did this nonsense come from? You CANNOT (and never can be) politically black- you either are or you are not. Being black is not a piece of clothing that you can throw on or off whenever you feel like it. 

It was fantastic to see so many people come together in London and across other cities in Britain (Birmingham and Manchester respectively) to show solidarity, love, peace and positivity while also shining a light on the issues that black people have to face here and around the world. 

Brexit: The Aftermath.

So Day One in the Big Brexit House and everything has gone to hell.
The people (52% of them) have spoken and the result is that we are leaving the European Union. In the aftermath of the shock result, our Prime Minister resigned on the steps of 10 Downing Street two hours later and social media went into meltdown. The Chancellor, George Osborne, appears to have gone into hiding. You couldn’t get rid of his face during the campaign- now nobody has seen him for several days.
People who voted to remain in the EU are clinging to a faint hope that they can somehow overturn the decision via petition. They say that the referendum was not legally binding. Now, I wanted to stay in the EU and as much as I disagree with the decision of ‘the people’, we cannot disregard it and stamp our feet like children because we dont like how it turned out.

Some people who voted to leave have regretted their decision since they went to the ballot box, thinking that their vote ‘wouldn’t count’. I’m not sure how these grown people could have such a mind-bogglingly stupid way of thinking but well, you learn something new every day. The world and his wife knew that this vote would be very close and could go either way but you thought this- the most important decision made by the British people for a generation -was one big irrelevance and your vote was the same. Well, you made your bed (a bed we all have to lie in, the most uncomfortable bed possible) and we all have to lie in it. In other words, like those memes you see on social media, we have to deal with it.

The EU want Britain to get out as soon as possible. Boris Johnson said yesterday that there was ‘no rush’ to leave, which is funny considering how much he was urging us to do so with haste before last Thursday. Our European neighbours ‘urgently’ want us to trigger the mysterious-sounding Article 50 so they can kick our backsides to the kerb and get on with their lives and their union. They are not here for sitting and waiting for us to pack our bags and wave us off at the door. They are the person who’s throwing their cheating lover’s clothes out of the window as the whole neighbourhood watches while shouting, ‘I DON’T NEED YOU.’ And rightly so. The arrogance of the Leave campaigners is astonishing. Why should they wait for us to get our shit together? 

The EU powers-that-be are furious with David Cameron because his resignation will not take effect until October. As a result, changes cannot be made until then and naturally, the EU are probably looking for loopholes right now, trying to find a way to get us out immediately.

Nigel Farage has popped up on my TV far too often during this event considering he is not an elected member of parliament. His smug grinning face has annoyed the hell out of me and I hoped- really hoped -that once this was over, he would be too. But no, that would be too simple, wouldn’t it? So get ready for him to be plastered across our screens on Question Time from now til the end of time. 

That said, he and his cronies have started back-pedalling on a number of issues. The £350m a week they will ‘reclaim’ from the EU will not go into the NHS because that amount of money was a barefaced lie. Although it was emblazoned on the side of their bus throughout their campaign, he admitted that it was (and I quote) ‘a big mistake’. 

Immigration will not stop overnight and gates will not rise from the ground at the cliffs of Dover to stop all those pesky immigrants coming in and taking our jobs, our women, etc. It will take a few years for certain things to be implemented and any issues to be smoothed out, but some people seemed to think that this would happen.

I live in London (or as it is now known, the ‘London bubble’) where the majority voted to remain in the EU and it felt like everyone was waiting for the pub to open at 8 o’clock in the morning because they were so downhearted about the result. My friend took the afternoon off work because he was so angry. Seeing people’s reactions to the result was an eye-opener. Some were crying out of sheer disappointment, few were quietly elated, some were stoic, trying to be optimistic and just got on with it…then they got drunk as skunks.

What happens next? Who knows. Not even the winning side know. Everyone is waited on tenterhooks and craning their necks to see. I’m just taking stock and reflecting on what has happened.

Bond Song Gone Wrong.

Alas and alack, the new Bond theme has premiered- Writing’s On the Wall by Sam Smith. All I can say is I have no desire to listen to it again. Why? I hear you ask.

It is DULL. Seriously dull. How on earth was such a boring song chosen to be a Bond theme? Now, I have no problem with Smith himself- I know for some people, his voice is like Marmite (you love him or hate him), but this song is a dirge. Where is the fire, the passion, the sass? Damn it, where is the sexiness and sensuality that were in abundance in the majestic previous Bond theme, Skyfall? In fact, after I managed to listen to Writing’s On the Wall in its entirety, I put Skyfall on and was amazed at how brilliant it still is and how marvellous Adele sounded and how much it craps all over the new song (in case you wondered, it’s all over it like a bunch of pigeons on Trafalgar Square).      

I am so disappointed because when the one minute snippet of Skyfall was released the day before its world premiere, I was curious to hear it but wasn’t expecting it to be a classic.How wrong was I? I found myself listening to it on a loop for a day and a half until the full song came out. I thought it was- and still is -utterly magnificent and one of the best Bond themes ever.

I’m not a Bond film aficionado but I know my Bond theme songs and there are few which I would consider to be classics. Goldfinger (of course), Goldeneye, A View To A Kill, Licence To Kill. I adored Tomorrow Never Dies by Sheryl Crow. I liked Chris Cornell’s You Know My Name because it sounded different and in-your-face compared to the usual Bond themes, yet it worked. I also have a soft spot for Madonna’s Die Another Day, an underrated song lambasted by people who were snobbish about how a Bond theme should sound, although let’s not discuss Another Way To Die because that song was a mistake.

This is how dire the situation is: I have  found myself wondering how the song will fit in with the opening title sequence and I never do that.
Writing’s On the Wall is similar to Smith’s old song Stay With Me- it starts off promisingly then peters out into nothingness, plodding along when instead, it should reach a triumphant and satisfying ending. 

According to Smith’s tweet, the song is already number one on the iTunes charts. I’m not sure why because it really does not deserve it. Skyfall only reached number two (you FOOLS!), so for this blandness to get all the credit that its predecessor should have got would be wrong in my eyes. It looks like social media sees the song the way that I do: a Bond theme that is as flat as a pancake and not up to scratch.

Humpty Numpty.

So Raheem Sterling wants to leave Liverpool, does he? Well, there’s a surprise. The news broke last night and while there was an air of inevitability about it, the reasons he gave behind his decision (which has not been confirmed but all parties are acting like it’s official) makes me hope he fails miserably wherever he goes.

The nerve of him to say he felt ‘bullied’ by Liverpool into signing his new contract. Boy, you are twenty and playing for one of the biggest and most historic football clubs in the world. As the legend that is John Barnes beautifully put it earlier today: “He’s a twenty year old boy who’s achieved nothing. He’s won nothing, he’s done nothing.” Tell him, Barnesy, because lord knows his representatives are not.

They offered you £100,000 a week on a plate- the same amount as your new captain, Jordan Henderson. Most people your age would say, ‘where do I sign?’ but you talk about being ‘bullied’- absolute bollocks. The cheek of you to compare big-money contract wrangling to bullying is shameful and typifies the greedy little sod that you are. I could blame your reps for what is going on but, at the end of the day, it’s you giving the green light to all this stuff being quoted in the public domain. If you did not agree, you could say something- much like that bullshit interview you gave to the BBC last month (what we’re you thinking, boy?).

You had one good season, bolstered by the team around you (especially the world-class brilliance of one Luis Suarez) and all of a sudden you think you’re bigger than Liverpool FC? You deluded numpty. You should knuckle down, work your backside off to become a better player and humble yo’self. Instead, you’ll probably be warming the bench of either Chelsea or Man City at some point next season.
          
The reaction across social media and on the radio last night was something else: I’d say around 95% of Liverpool fans want you gone, despite the club insisting that you are not for sale. My opinion is if you want to go, then go. Now. I’m not here for this nonsense dragging on through the whole summer. I sincerely hope you crash and burn career-wise at whatever club you rock up at. When they give you that extra £20k per week in your contract to waste on a new hairstyle, I hope you realise that you will never be as appreciated at another club like you were at ours because they will all see you as trouble.