My friend Adri always says when you find yourself in a potentially dodgy situation, and you have doubts about another person, always assume good intent. Meaning, when you wonder, “Hmmm. Is this person trying to play me dirty?” Don’t jump to the negative. Instead, give them the benefit of the doubt.
It’s a perfect lesson for life, and for life online. Why? Two reasons.
One, without further investigation – or until the facts are in – you don’t actually know for sure that the other party is on BS. So, it’s best not to assume. You could stir up trouble for no reason. Two, even if they are up to no good, you shouldn’t allow their behavior to make you act low in response.
That phrase, assume good intent, wouldn’t leave my mind when I heard about the drama surrounding The Honey Pot. For those who haven’t heard the story, The Honey Pot Company, which sells period products and other cleaning bits and bobs for a woman’s nether regions, did a commercial with Target for Black History Month. In roughly 15 seconds, the founder, Beatrice Dixon, expressed her intention to help other black female entrepreneurs along on their business journeys.
It’s a worthy goal. Now that she’s well on her way – being sold at Target is a significant accomplishment for any new brand – she’s putting it out there that she intends to pay her success forward.
“In the commercial Dixon says, “The reason why it’s so important for Honey Pot to do well is so the next Black girl that comes up with a great idea, she can have a better opportunity.”
Well, some white women didn’t like her message. So, presumably to teach Dixon a lesson, they left a deluge of one-star reviews on the brand’s Trust Pilot page. According to them, by specifying her intention to help Black female entrepreneurs, she is a racist. Then they added one and one and made four, stretching the narrative to erroneously conclude that her products must only be for black women too, which is not true at all.
Dixon has remained wonderfully calm throughout the flap, clarifying that “I said nothing about our product being only for black girls,” she said, citing the company’s tagline, which says it is “made by humans with vaginas, for humans with vaginas.”
It’s sad, but I understand what’s behind the ire. However, even looking critically at the situation, I don’t see the alleged racism – though admittedly, my lens may be, shall we say, colored.
Still, I thought the commercial’s message was quite warm and encouraging. It’s certainly necessary. Black women need all the help we can get. The number of black women-owned businesses is growing quickly, despite a dismal lack of support. According to Project Diane, a study on the state of Black female founders, our entrepreneurial demographic get a paltry .0006% of more than $420B in total tech venture capital given out since 2009.
Why shouldn’t Dixon reach back to help out her peers? Why is that idea so troubling? It’s not novel in any way. Other races do it all the time. If you question her motivation, or the specificity of her intention, I would encourage you to ponder deeply. Ask yourself why one Black woman wanting to help another Black woman bothers you so much.
I mean, it’s silly to be riled up about the message – if you consider the context. Recall, the commercial came out during Black History Month. Any race-related comments therein are therefore entirely appropriate. Further, the commercial also ran this month, which is Women’s History Month. Here again, the content is contextually appropriate.
But even if you’re still irked, The Honey Pot is doing great. Since the negative reviews hit, Dixon said company revenues are up as much as 50%, and plans are in the works for new products to launch sooner rather than later.
When I visited their web site to place my order, most of the products were sold out. So, I went to my local Target to lend my support, and found picking were slim there too. But when I got back to my computer there was a 20% off coupon in my inbox, which prompted me to go back to the site. I found several things I needed, placed my order and am now metaphorically staring at the mailbox waiting for my delivery.
Take that one-star reviewers. The people have spoken – white and black and likely every shade in between because women are women in the end – and they support Beatrice Dixon and plant-based feminine care.
And no, I don’t feel petty for enjoying the haters online downfall. It’s not about that. I’m basking in the glowing knowledge that this black woman has benefitted so greatly from an outpouring of positive support.
But there are a few things one can learn from this incident. First, that trope about how black people don’t support one another, and how women don’t support other women? It’s complete nonsense. We rose up in force to show our support for The Honey Pot Company.
Second, don’t be petty on social media. It’s an old lesson, but it bears repeating because people still haven’t learned it. You may think that you have the right to get in your feelings and launch a smear campaign to take someone down who you have beef with. You may even feel righteous in your plan to hurt someone by throwing shade online, casting doubt, making negative statements, insults, or whatever negative foolishness you can dig up.
But be careful.
Sometimes one’s own misdeeds will backfire spectacularly, as they did here, and you will end up with egg on your face. Instead of hurting The Honey Pot brand, haters seeking to punish Dixon for her alleged racism actually boosted her sales, sold out her products, and put her on in a very big way thanks to a tidal wave of free press as the public rose up in support of her, her brand, and her company.
Even Target went on the record to confirm their support of The Honey Pot Company, acknowledging and then dismissing the bad reviews as being unsubstantiated and unrelated to their mission. “Target has a longstanding commitment to empowering and investing in diverse suppliers that create a broad variety of products for our guests,” the retailer said in a statement.
I guess all publicity can actually be good publicity – when your message is genuine, your intentions are good, and your products are too. I’m looking forward to trying mine out.