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Please remove the TwistedSista ads from AALC [sic]

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Subject: TwistedSista Ad

Sent: Monday, December 05, 2011 6:26 PM

Please remove the TwistedSista ads from AALC. I come to your site to purchase books, not to view ads designed to stir up hair issues within the black community. Please keep your ads limited to those directly related to books.

Concerned Visitor [Editor's Note: an alias]


On Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 8:04 PM, Troy Johnson <troy@aalbc.com> wrote:

Hey Concerned Visitor,

I appreciate you taking the time to email me your feelings about the Twisted Sista ad campaign on AALBC.com.

I have no control over authors or publishers decisions to place ads on AALBC.com. Indeed, book advertisements represent a small percentage of advertising revenue generated by AALBC.com. Book ads represent such a small percentage of ads on AALBC.com, I would not a viable business without the non-book ads.

I’d be interested in reading why you find the Twisted Sista ads so offensive. The performance of the ads, based upon the number percentage of people who click them, indicates that a large percentage of people do not take offense with the Twisted Sista products.

As an aside, I run the site entirely on my own. It is literarily a daily struggle to keep AALBC.com profitable and remain true to my mission of providing visitors with the variety of literature that we produce.

We have lost many book sites over the last few years. No one in the business of selling books by and about Black people, does this to get rich, it is a labor of love and a lot of hard work. Support – especially financial support, is very hard to come by.

Take a look at these articles and let me know what you think.

Black Book Websites Need Love Too


What Happened to the Best African American Literary Magazines?



Troy Johnson

President, AALBC.com, LLC


Sent: Monday, December 05, 2011 10:31 PM

To: Troy Johnson

Hi Troy,

I can appreciate everything you stated in your response.

My reasons for not wanting to see Twisted Sista ads at a site black women know, trust, and love are as follows:

Although Twisted Sista caters to us naturals, it contains a bunch of junk-garbage ingredients - perfume, parabens, alcohol, cones, glycerines, and a long list of stuff nobody can pronounce.

The ad itself is supposed to be for black women, yet shows a nearly white woman in the advertisement. This is what I "read" when I view the ad: Unless YOU look like HER, YOU should NOT wear your hair natural. YOU may as well continue relaxing, flat ironing, straightening, weaving, and wigging your hair.

These five-and-dime products are attempting to take advantage of the uninformed. Society seems to WANT black women to continue walking around with short, broken-off hair. These products are DESIGNED to convince us that our hair will not grow, is incapable of growing, and in dire need of a relaxer, and hair weave or wig.

Did I mention that the product line is terrible?

The shampoo is drying and coating. I abhor the coating on my hair, which is responisible for making my hair feel so stiff. And my scalp seems to get sweaty faster than it does with other shampoos.

The conditioner leaves the same coating on my hair. It completely dries the hair out, leaving it parched and begging for a sip of moisture.

All the best.

Thanks for writing back.

Love your site!

Concerned Visitor


On Mon, Dec 12, 2011 at 9:38 AM, Troy Johnson <troy@aalbc.com> wrote:

I’m glad you like the site Concerned Visitor.

Again I appreciate the feedback.

I’m in no position to judge the relative merits of the Twista Sista product line. However I did read the ad copy and the products are designed for people with straight or curly hair. I suspect, judging from the models used, the product is targeted to mixed raced women (perhaps competing with the Mixed Chicks products). In addition, Twisted products are inexpensively priced. Apparently there is a market for this type of product here in the US. Presumably the product achieved some success in the UK.

The product that appeals to everyone has yet to be invented. People have even complained about some of the books that are on the site. Does that mean, for example, that because someone has an issue with Urban Fiction that I should pull all of the Urban Fiction off my site?

The Twisted Sista’s make AALBC.com possible. If you support AALBC.com you should be glad Twista Sista is spending money to reach my audience and promotional effort with us. You don’t have to like their products – personally, I have no use for them either :-)

Troy Johnson

President, AALBC.com, LLC


Sent: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 8:39 AM

To: Troy Johnson

Subject: Re: TwistedSista Ad

You know Troy, if that is your stance then there was never a reason for you to ask why I took issue with the ad. I took the time to answer your question because you asked it. There are new web sites being developed to serve the best interests of black women everyday. Goodreads, for example, sponsors ads that are book related - period. I belong to a group of 6800 networked ladies who are waiting to learn your response to this inquiry. I will assume that I have your permission to share, as I consider this a done conversation.

--Concerned Visitor


From: Troy Johnson [mailto:troy@aalbc.com]

Sent: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 9:20 AM

Subject: RE: TwistedSista Ad


You think Goodreads only displays ads for books (please review their site you’ll find non-book ads)?

You want to compare an independently owned company, run by an individual with Goodreads -- majority owned and operated, with millions of dollars of private investment?

You feel Goodreads serves the interests of Black women (I can’t recall the last time I was a Black book on the Goodread homepage).

Please share the conversation. Again, I’m open to reading and hearing the feedback.

If you are sincere, you might be moved to harness your network of ladies to help constructively correct the problems you perceive.

Please share the conversation. I’ll do the same (without your name and email address)

Troy Johnson

President, AALBC.com, LLC

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And here, all this time, I thought "Twisted Sister" was a heavy metal rock band.

It's amazing how some people gripe about what all goes on here because all they want to do is discuss books. What is stopping these folks from simply ignoring what bugs them?? All they have to do is focus on the Thumpers Corner forum, which is the original home of book discussions... :huh:

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I went back and posted the full conversation. I have admit I was beginning to loose patience with the person, but I really wanted to understand her concerns.

Often the harshest critiques come from people who have never done what they are actually critiquing. But these folks are still the audience I'm attempting to serve. So while I appreciate they have no clue how difficult what I do is, I always to try to address any feedback that seems to be sincerely presented.

I also realize I'm very biased, so I was hoping someone could help me understand this exchange.

Am I wrong for welcoming the financial support of sponsors like Twisted Sista?

Also keep in mind the Twisted Sista campaign is doing well. The success has actually help support the premise that non book related ads can do well on the site. Twisted Sista is also sponsoring a contest: http://www.aalbc.com/fun/twisted_sista.html

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  • 3 weeks later...

<p>Pwrhaps the sister who is concerned about the hair care ad could contact a company that she approves of and convince them to advertise as well. it is imperative that we support sites such as this one and adveertising is a great way to do so. it is good that the writer is concerned enough to critique the product but I feel that it is inappropriate to suggest that it and other product ads be banned. This is a wonderful site and it should be supported.I just bought a tube of Twisted Sista shampoo but have not tried it yet. The fact that a light skinned woman's image appears on it did not influence my decision. I have bought products with images of darker women and it did not influence my decision. Either image represents "us" as most of "us" come from close families and/ or communities in which the range of beautiful skin tones is well represented. Do we still care so much about the perceived intentions of advertisers that we don't know our own minds? I buy the "good" stuff when I can afford it and the "other" stuff when I am broke. I won't know what category to put Twisted Sista in until I use it. I will let you know what I think. This is my first visit to this site and I plan to be a regular visitor and (after graduation) a regular contributor as well. Thanks to advertisers, AALBC will probably still be here when other good sites like this are gone. </p>

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NIaknows, "...could contact a company that she approves of and convince them to advertise as well." EXACTLY!

I wish I thought of that myself. That is both a positive and constructive response. Thanks for taking the time to contribute your thoughts. Looking forward to reading your contributions in the future. Peace.

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