By Sheryl Estrada
In a segment used to sell Dooney & Bourke products, Bennett made the following comment as a camera panned to a Black model with natural hair showing one of the purses: “You might look back and think, ‘Why’d I wear my hair like that’ but you’ll still like your purse.”
Agreeing with the statement, her then co-host replies: “That’s right. You won’t look at your hair in the picture, you’ll look at your handbag.”
Bennett later apologized for her comment on the QVC Facebook page,
“I want to apologize to anyone I offended during a recent Dooney & Bourke show. I made a comment along the lines of when you carry a Dooney, you look good even if you don’t do your hair. It was meant to be lighthearted, but in the middle of my comment, the camera cut to Michelle, an African-American model. I want to be clear that I was in no way talking about her. It was just terrible timing.”
It could have been a matter of poor timing on Bennett’s part, but the comment made blogger L.A. Moore of Bougie Black Girl, who first brought the comment to the attention QVC and social media, take pause.
“In 2015, I am not surprised that it is still happening. What surprised me was how their hosts felt entitled to judge and humiliate a Black woman on TV,” Moore wrote before thanking her readers for reaching out to QVC to voice their anger at the insult. “If you don’t think you have a voice, you do. All the calling, writing on social media and your concern over this matter paid off. This is what we can accomplish when we channel all of our energy to take a stand against any bias from a large corporation.”
Black women who choose to wear their natural hair have faced discrimination in certain segments of society, especially in the workplace.
Hair texture has no connection to talent or ability. Yet some companies negatively judge Black women on the basis of their choice of a natural hairstyle.
“There’s no doubt in my mind thatBlack people have been overlooked for promotionsbecause of natural hair or darker skin color,” DiversityInc CEO Luke Visconti wrote. “Psychological tests show that people most trust people who look like them. Since white men run most corporations in this country, straightened hair and/or lighter skin is going to be an advantage (disturbing, but let’s keep it real). Companies that manage past bias and hire, mentor and promote equitably have better talent. They are also better prepared for the future as our country becomes more diverse.”
Watch the segment: