Monday morning, a scandal of sorts broke over a Walmart advertisement found on their front store page. The item in question was labeled as a Jagazi Naturals brand cap, with a color description of n—-r brown.
Walmart initially tried to edit the product page and remove the offensive language. Their first attempts were unsuccessful as the URL for the page maintained the original description. Walmart then pulled the product completely after investigating the incident further and discovering a deeper level of foul play.
It was discovered that the product in question was sold by a third-party retailer based in the UK, with the intent to pose as the also UK-based company Jagazi Naturals.
Walmart issued a statement on twitter Monday evening, “We are very sorry and appalled that this third party seller listed their item with this description on our online marketplace. It is a clear violation of our policy and has been removed, and we are investigating the seller to determine how this could have happened.”
Jagazi Naturals also responded with their own statement later that day, “We woke up this morning to the news that someone has used our name Jagazi to list an item. Please beware that we are reporting this to as many people as we can and trying to get all the listings pulled down. The real Jagazi is a 100% black company for black people and anyone who wants to use our products. People have often used our brand name to try and sell their fake products. Please be aware. Very sorry for all the distress this has caused. We are feeling the pain here as well. Most shocking!”
Initial reports may be quick to point out the irony of a racist slur being used to describe the product of a comdedicationexplicitly markets itself as “100% black company proudly serving the black community and their friends.” However, while the marketing slogan is cringy at best, the reality is slightly more nuanced.
Jagazi Naturals is not a clothing brand. It isn’t an accessory brand. It is, in fact, a company largely devoted to wigs, hair extensions, and make-up. The nature of these products require skin-tone centric marketing. There is no racism in Jagazi’s branding. In fact, they appear to have altered their previous statements to clarify that this is not the case, adding “And their friends” to the original “100% Black company for Black People.”
Again, cringy, but a far cry from racist or malicious. The only person racist and malicious in this story is the original scammer.