Beauty influencer Mihlali Ndamase was forced to defend herself after her “black business” comments were construed as racist by some neutrals. 

If there’s one person who knows how to get people talking, even without trying to, it’s Mihlali Ndamase. It’s almost impossible for a week to go by without the mega-influencer trending at least once, and this week was no different. This time around, it wasn’t a bikini picture or a sassy comeback that got tongues wagging; instead it was a seemingly innocent request for a “black-owned” packaging company which rubbed users up the wrong way. 

Was Mihlali’s request racist? 

When Mihlali took to her timeline, calling for recommendations from her followers, it’s safe to say that she didn’t think she would end up making headline news. The content creator was looking for a packaging company to assist with some of her branding and products, but things took a turn for the worst because of three words she used. 

Mihlali had initially written, “Hey guys, I’m looking for a reliable packaging company in Johannesburg one that can provide quality packaging w. my company branding, preferably black owned. Please tag anyone you’d highly recommend”. 

It was the “preferably black owned” line which caught the attention of Mihlali’s critics, one of whom took to her mentions to reply, “I’d love to help, but I have a strict no racism policy.  Good luck in finding a supplier.” Judging from the response below, Mihlali was not too concerned!

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Mihlali defends her decision 

After one too many people took exception with Mihlali’s choice of words, the international influencer returned to the timeline to clarify her stance when she wrote, “Someone just said “preferably black owned” is racist, haha they hate anything that empowers black people.” 

A number of fans were on her side, too. One wrote, “It’s the fact that you said preferably for me, it wasn’t a must but ke him and his non-racist policy caught feelings Woman shruggingRolling on the floor laughingFace with tears of joy As if there isn’t a drive to use smaller black owned companies even by major corporates because BEE score, it’s not racist.”

A number of her followers, several of whom were black themselves, tried to bring balance to the matter by asking her to imagine how a phrase such as “preferably white-owned” might have been interpreted: 

Do you believe that Mihlali’s choice of words was potentially racist?