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Bath & Body Works is getting intense blowback for its woke Black History Month-inspired collection that was just revealed in stores and online, unveiling a line of products with Kente Cloth designs on them that capitalize on race for marketing purposes.
“Inspired by joy and empowerment, this collection unites traditional African art with modern-day motifs designed to uplift and inspire,” the retailer proclaimed on its website.
Products feature words such as “unity,” “empowered” and “confident.” The collection includes a 3-in-1 Hair, Face and Body Wash, Foaming Hand Soap, Fine Fragrance Mist, Body Spray, 3-Wick Candles, and two Ultimate Hydration Body Creams.
Bath & Body Works promoted its Black History Month collection in a recent newsletter as well. The fragrance they are pushing is evidently not a new one. Instead, the company repackaged “smile-inducing customer favorites like Champagne Toast, Mahogany Teak, and Coconut Sandalwood.”
Bath & Body Works this month pic.twitter.com/88Kfbc6XvM
— Lew (@39Lew) February 2, 2022
The company is donating $500,000 to the National Urban League and the Columbus Urban League via the promotion.
“This Black History Month, Bath & Body Works is proud to continue its longstanding commitment to the Columbus and National Urban Leagues through a $500,000 donation,” Ronak Fields, who is the community relations and philanthropy representative for the company, said in a statement. “These funds will support underserved communities with workforce development and economic empowerment programs throughout America. I am grateful for the opportunity to work at Bath & Body Works and side-by-side with passionate associates who are committed to uplifting our neighbors.”
According to William Bernard, who is the company’s vice president of design, the collection honors the traditional art and storytelling of handmade African mud cloth.
“To me, it beautifully bridges our rich history with a bright future through vibrant colors and inspirational messages. I also think it’s meaningful that a group of black associates, leaders, and partners from Bath & Body Works were a part of the creation, allowing our collective expression to come to life,” he said.
Bath & Body Works also revealed it’s holding internal events and activities focused on black health and wellness, according to Style Caster.
The collection was ripped on social media as pandering to black customers.
One incensed person tweeted, “Bath & Body Works really switched their packaging to a Gullah Gullah Island theme and said, ‘Here ya go, n*****!’”
Bath & Body Works really switched their packaging to a Gullah Gullah Island theme and said, “Here ya go, niggas!”
— ᴅᴏʟʟᴀʀ (@callmedollar) February 2, 2022
Another asked, “Hey @bathbodyworks for Black History Month, instead of using African Print on your CURRENT popular scents 🙄 why not tap into actual products the BLACK community would flock to…like your DISCONTINUED coco shea line..or even partner with a black owned vendor.”
Hey @bathbodyworks for Black History Month, instead of using African Print on your CURRENT popular scents 🙄 why not tap into actual products the BLACK community would flock to…like your DISCONTINUED coco shea line..or even partner with a black owned vendor pic.twitter.com/a6PXvNdZze
— FunsizedMeme (@MemeFunsized) January 31, 2022
“If any of y’all are planning on purchasing any ‘Black History Month’ items from Bath & Body Works, PLEASE unfollow me rn! All these amazing black-owned candle and body care brands and y’all wanna support a company that put kente cloth colors on the same old scents,” another black woman bluntly remarked.
If any of y’all are planning on purchasing any “Black History Month” items from Bath & Body Works, PLEASE unfollow me rn! All these amazing black-owned candle and body care brands and y’all wanna support a company that put kente cloth colors on the same old scents 😒😒😒
— Char 🌻 (@simplychar___) February 2, 2022
Black women’s lifestyle guide MADAMENOIRE is recommending that customers buy from a black-owned business instead. The outlet is touting Moods by Yemmie, BLK Essence, Perpetual Bliss, Predominantly Black, and Eustress by Hogoé Kpessou. They are also suggesting that people shop at Thirteen Lune, a black-owned retailer focused on “the beauty of inclusion” that features brands started by BIPOCs.
The outrage flowed on Twitter to the marketing ploy:
**WARNING: Language **
Bath & Body Works said pic.twitter.com/DL0vZbCI3T
— big mama’s arm (@_Cordelra_) February 1, 2022
Bath and body works said "Look we do care about niggers" pic.twitter.com/fwP2IXq3Kj
— ✨ Kennessy The Goatess, 3/17 🍀 (@wittlegoat) January 31, 2022
Bath & Body Works is doing a Black History collection and one of them is a 3-in-1 face, hair, and body wash.
That’s how I know y’all ain’t got no black people making decisions bc I don’t know a single black man or woman using fucking 3-in-1!!!!! pic.twitter.com/ShxJk45XJA
— 𝖕𝖊𝖗𝖘𝖊𝖕𝖍𝖔𝖓𝖊. 🌸💀🖤 (@wickedwitchofky) January 31, 2022
We know yall have seen the controversy around Bath & Body Works and their Black History Month collection… Don’t forget to support Black-owned candle brands this month 🤎 pic.twitter.com/V5Rw475zgM
— BLKessence (@blkessenceco) February 2, 2022
not bath and body works slapping “african prints and patterns” on products that already exist and being like “yay celebrate black history month!!!” pic.twitter.com/51rrRbvaiF
— noir (@KickThatHoe) January 31, 2022
Bath and Body works is trying to do something special for Black History Month.
They slapped some tribal patterns on some candles and lotions
Even have a watermelon scented one…I think they can go to hell ! pic.twitter.com/n7U6GcNl3Q
— Pussy Mount him Lion 😻 (@DonPumGato) January 31, 2022
I know for a fact there wasn’t a single black person in the conference room when bath and body works decided on this black history month shenanigans. it’s giving “BLACK intense mahogany teakwood” and we didn’t ask for that
— 🗣 TASHA (@tishtosh_) February 1, 2022
bath and body works and this black history collection…they just couldn’t miss out on their opportunity to profit off of black culture pic.twitter.com/UUj34rDJWI
— Plant Based Ri🌱🌺🌷 (@BlueStarr2) January 29, 2022
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