Black hair products locked in anti-theft case at Walmart

An African American man is calling out the Walmart store in American Canyon for locking up hair products marketed to black people, while other products sit open on shelves.

Kwame Sturghall Sr. of Vallejo recorded an Instagram video of himself inside the store in the hair product aisle, which shows some products in antitheft cases. He was there to buy pomade.

“I have to get black products for my hair and that’s the only section that was locked up,” he said. “That’s the part that I cannot understand.”

He said he tracked down an employee to open the lock. The employee grabbed the $3 hair product and personally walked it to a cash register.

“It just kind of threw me for a loop,” he said. “I didn’t expect to go in there for 5 minutes and take 30 minutes inside Walmart.”

KTVU went inside the Walmart in American Canyon and took pictures of the products on the shelves. Things like hair dye, shampoos, caps, combs, and brushes marketed to black people are under lock and key, while those same products for others are open on the shelves. In some cases, the products locked up are cheaper than those that aren’t.

This isn’t the first time Walmart has been accused of locking up hair products for black people. Similar customers experiences and complaints have most recently occurred in places like Long Island, NY and Sacramento. In 2018, a woman in Southern California sued Walmart for racial discrimination. 

A spokesperson for Walmart corporation sent KTVU the following statement:

“We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind at Walmart. We serve more than 140 million customers weekly, crossing all demographics, and are focused on meeting their needs while providing the best shopping experience at each store. Like other retailers, Walmart uses enhanced security on some products such as electronics, automotive, cosmetics and other personal care products. Those determinations are made on a store-by-store basis using data supporting the need for the heightened measures. Our goal is to ensure that we offer a wide variety of products to our diverse array of customers at the low prices they have come to expect.”

Sturghall said that response isn’t good enough.

“I just know that we need solutions,” he said. “We’ve got to do better.”