Aside from sitting on the edge of our couches watching the drama-filled Season 3 midseason premiere of Empire, we also got a first look at Pantene’s latest commercial. The hair care brand’s ad is far more than just another product push. It’s an elegant celebration of and appreciation for African-American hair.
In as little as one minute, the new Pantene Gold Series video showcased beautiful women of color of all different ages flawlessly rocking everything from Afros and angled blowouts to dreadlocks and textured updos. The narrator of the recently aired clip opens with an empowering message: “We are proudly born with hair that grows as strong as a storm, and doesn’t conform to a beauty norm that isn’t our own.”
She proudly continues, “So many wrong things are said about how it grows from our head, but to think that beauty is only sleek or wavy is crazy.”
The mane master behind the glorious styles is Pantene’s celebrity stylist Chuck Amos. Amos is no stranger to the hair industry and usually sought after for his wealth of knowledge on creating unique hairstyles. “I wanted to take this opportunity to really celebrate our heritage through natural hairstyles, braids, and more that really stood out in history that we wore and still wear to showcase our culture, versatility, and fabulousness,” Amos tells Yahoo Beauty.
When looking at all the hairstyles such as the ’70s styled Soul Train Afros and ’80s cornrows paired with slicked-down baby hair, one can’t help but get nostalgic, remembering the hairdos that reigned supreme in black culture throughout past decades.
Amos also created a few futuristic looks, hinting at how African-American hairstyles have evolved and will continue to do so. “I went a bit more modern, so I did a look of today’s Afro punk ‘curly spiky’ orange-colored hairstyle,” he explains. “And lastly, I got to share my idea of what a black hairstyle might look like in the future, so I decided to do a sharp, angled bob.”
A post shared by Demi Grace (@iamdemigrace) on Mar 23, 2017 at 1:00pm PDT
Another win for the brand was tapping model and artist Demi Grace to star in the video. She was the first Nigerian, as well as the first model with dreadlocks, to be featured in one of Pantene’s ads. Grace tells Yahoo Beauty, “I was ecstatic because I proved my own doubts wrong. Prior to meeting the Pantene team, I wasn’t sure if I was going to book anything with hair other than curly or straight.”
Early in her modeling career, she felt pressure to alter the look of her hair, which is an issue many women with textured hair or dreadlocks often face. “I started my career in L.A., and there were only two looks at the time for black girls who were my age and booking — tight curls and straight,” says Grace. “I had neither. Ultimately, the pressure came from wanting to consistently book so I had to match what I was consistently seeing on TV and print ads.”
At the end of the commercial, Pantene’s Gold Series line is shown. The range is a collection of eight care and styling products designed to deliver and promote strong, healthy hair. The new products are backed by 15 years of research and co-created by a team of African-American dermatologists, stylists, and scientists.
The bigger message behind the ad is, “All strong hair is beautiful hair,” and that’s the kind of momentum that made so many women of color excited to see such a huge hair brand embracing.
“I think it’s important because there’s still a level of inequality in how African-American hair is represented in pop culture and advertising,” says Amos. “So when you see black women and girls on TV, I think it should be along with a positive message and celebrating themselves and their uniqueness. That applies to women with natural hairstyles, too — they should feel proud of their natural curls because they’re beautiful.”
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