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So, Nike has officially jumped on the bandwagon for big butts huh? In their new ad promoting their butt-enhancing shoes, an ethnically ambiguous woman is shown in what appears to be a pair of panties, tennis shoes and a cut-off tank. This ad precedes a similarly booty minded campaign from 2005 which shows off the curves of a dark-skinned model– why the change?

Nike butt enhancing shoe ad

Stereotypically, the commonality or predictably of a big butt rests with black women (myself excluded) but in the new world where booty is popping up everywhere (hello Kim Kardashian) and even being celebrated, I’m not surprised that Nike chose a safer model… or one that isn’t black at all. In other words, black girls ain’t the only ones with the big butts anymore.

So then comes the emotional reaction: Are our assets being taken away from us? Is it more beautiful to have a big butt and not be black? And was Serena just not available even though she’s already a Nike girl?

But then the issue deepens (thank god) because the first line of their little poem is: “My Butt is big and round like the letter C” and I’m instantly on board. It sounds like Nike is praising curves and telling women that if someone has a problem with your shape they can well, kiss your ass. Kudos to Nike. Some think the message, aside from the woman they chose, is offensive and why because they were trying to be humorous (and failed) with the space heater reference?

What’s wrong with finding strength in an asset others might not think is beautiful? What’s wrong with acknowledging that big butts draw attention and that, no, lunges don’t do a damn thing but give it more shape. If anything, Nike is headed in the right direction. Now, if we can just convince them to add some black girls into mix… we certainly wouldn’t want people to get confused about who had it first.

34 Responses to “Nike praises big butts with poetry”

  1. Chris says:

    I think Nike was trying to make an add that appealed to all women, without a bias towards black. If you know that large posteriors are considered a black trait, making an add for exclusively for them wouldn’t really be any encouragement for others, would it?

  2. I’m after inclusion into mainstream, not an ad that’s biased towards black. “Now, if we can just convince them to add some black girls into mix…”— its the addition of black girls into the ad that I’m after.

  3. Dave says:

    I love the message, but “Embassador”? Their advertising budget doesn’t include copy editing?

  4. Chris says:

    Well I definitely agree there should be more in advertisements in general. I know a lot of companies like to have a ‘white’ image, believing that it will garner more appeal, but I think that’s backwards. By having such low numbers of black representation I think it’s alienating a large demographic from their company, and losing variety, which leads to stagnation. I have no doubt seeing only white women in the same three poses will get boring after a while.

    That reminds me of a similar situation. There was a woman here in texas running for city council, and on her advertisements she excluded her last name, Gomez, (and I got this information from a college student working with her) because she believed the people would more likely vote for her if they didn’t know she was Hispanic. I completely disagreed because 1) there is a very large Hispanic population here, and 2) no one (I’ve met) really cares what ethnicity she is, as there have been lots of Hispanics officials. By not displaying her last name, I think she lost closeness and familiarity to the voters (she lost).

    Nike needs to get with the times and not make the same mistake.

  5. Totally agree Chris. “By having such low numbers of black representation I think it’s alienating a large demographic from their company, and losing variety, which leads to stagnation.”— it also perpetuates a very slim definition of what is considered to be beautiful, which is even more damaging.

  6. Queen Anthai says:

    And yet, all I can see is that they misspelled “ambassador.” #completelymissingthepoint

  7. Great post. I stumbled upon it while reading on http://www.theroot.com. I think it’s a step in the right direction and maybe Nike will expand it and add black women. I can’t really tell what origin the model in the add is though. As a man I love the idea of women embracing themselves. Self esteem is mad sexy.

    Space heater. I can’t wait to tell my girlfriend that one.

  8. Jim C says:

    Geez people, its the first add of the campaign. The black population is what, roughly 10-15% of the US population? Why is it such an affront that Nike aims their first commercial towards 85-90% of the market? And even that assumes the ethnicaly ambiguous model is not a shade of black. I’m not a Nike fan but they should get some props for the “big butt’ focus of the campaign. Can’t think of anyone else with that general theme.

  9. Dana Williams says:

    Well, let’s be fair, excuse the pun, but every black girl ain’t Black or brown- skinned… they can have acknowlegdment, cause they certainly got the large posterior too!

  10. Geneva Girl says:

    Embassador? Uh, big butt girls can’t spell?

  11. Cheese says:

    First of all, I’m just happy to see a nice looking woman instead of one more Michael Jordan ad! Seriously, if black woman are not included in the ad campaign, it will be a joke. A woman does not have to be black to have a bubble butt, but the percentage of C shaped fannies is far higher among black women than in any other segemnt of the population. If Nike doesn’t acknowledge that fact, they will kill thier own product.

  12. [...] some debate about the virtues of a Nike Women’s ad with an “ethnically ambiguous” model [...]

  13. K. Day says:

    My problem with this and any ad is the message it is sending to young girls. Now, what will they do to achieve the butt? The ethnicity of the person does not matter its the whole message. We stated that being thin was great and we have an increase in eating disorders and unhealthy dieting. We said that looks and big breast do matter so now you have young girls getting plastic surgery. I think they should focus their ad on every race with a girl representing each. This I think will send a message it does not matter your color, you can have a great butt just by walking in our shoes.

  14. KK says:


    1. (n.) A minister of the highest rank sent to a foreign court to represent there his sovereign or country.

    2. (n.) An official messenger and representative.

    3. (n.) Same as Ambassador.

  15. burgstyle says:

    Can we please get off this whole “black women were the first to have big butts” thing? Just stop with the black/African people were the first to do everything schtick. Goddamn! I’m black and I’m sick of reading it. There are just as many big asses in south & central america as there are in the states and they have always been celebrated. I can appreciate a black woman’s shape without having to think she holds a patent on it…

  16. Cherry_Darling says:

    The original ad did have a what appeared to be a black woman with the exact same poem. (see here http://justageekgirl.com/2010/07/27/nike-women-my-butt-is-big/) The problem was that it was largely ignored. With Kim Kardasian and Jennifer Lopez, or otherwise non-black people with assets associated with black people, our society now applauds features for which black women are generally condemned for having by the mainstream, and condemned if they lack it by the black community. In any case, this is yet another advertising tactic indicative of how everyone wants to be black, but yet they don’t want to be black. They get tans, butt injections, booty panties, collagen implants, etc, but yet despise us and we’re doing a great job despising ourselves as well.

  17. cynthia says:

    1. (n.) A minister of the highest rank sent to a foreign court to represent there his sovereign or country.
    2. (n.) An official messenger and representative.
    3. (n.) Same as Ambassador.

    an unusual spelling- but not incorrect

  18. Fat Tony says:

    burgstyle has a point, but the comment triggered a memory of discovering the term “steatophygia” in elementary school. Wikipedia, for what that’s worth, attributes the condition to a genetic group of Khoisan tribes. Whatever. My reaction is that Causasian women with generous butts don’t seem to have the graceful aura that darker-skinned women have. A BB woman friend in college grabbed me one day, gave me a huge hug, and said “what you going to do with all this chocolate?” What a great question!!

  19. withcare says:

    Yes burgstyle, there are women in south and central america with big butts, but go back a little in your history books and you’ll see that there were African people/slaves there as well and my guess is thats where these women got their booties from. Yeah its far back, but its not really a stretch.
    I’m more upset that in popular culture a bodacious booty was a bad thing and it was used to keep most black women out of this very narrow definition of beauty. And now that its “in” you would think that popular culture would be praising black women and their beauty-booties, but nope, we’re left out because well anyone can have a big butt, not just black girls. This advertisement is a trap and I’ll do just fine without your booty enhancing shoes thank you very much!

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  21. Me says:

    As we already know, most of US don’t need to be “included” to spend our money.

    Come on now. How many of US really care about ads? Our people wear what they see our other people (Neo, Puffy, etc.) wear in videos and awards shows.

    Check the hood today and you’ll see Tims, Nike, NorthFace and more. I know Nike uses Tiger Woods and Serena in some of its ads, but I can’t speak for the other two.

    When I was growing up, it was Nike, Reebok, Jordache, etc. I don’t recall that those companies had US in ads but my junior high school and high school halls were fill with folk wearing the latest issue from the above-mentioned companies.

    My momma didn’t play the name brand game. From junior high until I graduated high school, I had one pair of “designer” jeans and two pairs of Nikes. She taught me that my self-esteem did NOT hinge upon wearing somebody else’s name on my butt, my chest, or my feet and it was a lesson well learned.

    Even if there was a sista in an ad whose beauty and booty reminded me of my own, I wouldn’t be inclined to buy Nike.

    Their high price tags and their controversial manufacturing practices do nothing for me.

  22. Mercedes says:

    Nice Ad. Not all Black women hae big butts, not all women have small ones. Black women did not copyright it. But, I think its a great ad for girls who don’t fit into the Vouge mags.

  23. SO says:

    How did those women in South America get those behinds? Ask yourself that. You usually trace black ancestry. FYI

  24. Myschyveus says:

    I like the ad (minus the spellcheck fail) and personally, I didn’t draw any attention to the race of the woman until others did. I think way too many people are color struck, and place way too much importance on race. As a black man, I saw a gorgeous WOMAN (no reference to race) and a cool little poem. THAT IS ALL. I think it should be left at that. But then again, as one person said, if the majority of the “c shaped” posteriors belong to black women, what’s the point of marketing such a product to them? From a business strategy standpoint, I mean. Consider that a tangent. The point is, let’s not make EVERYTHING about race. It’s beyond unnecessary at this point, I believe. Now, what was the model’s name again…? ^_^

  25. It’s in genes. You cannot change one’s genes.

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  28. Ziplock says:

    I like big butts and I can not lie
    You other brothers can’t deny
    That when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist
    And a round thing in your face
    You get sprung, wanna pull out your tough
    ‘Cause you notice that butt was stuffed
    Deep in the jeans she’s wearing
    I’m hooked and I can’t stop staring
    Oh baby, I wanna get with you
    And take your picture
    My homeboys tried to warn me
    But that butt you got makes me so horny
    Ooh, Rump-o’-smooth-skin
    You say you wanna get in my Benz?
    Well, use me, use me
    ‘Cause you ain’t that average groupie
    I’ve seen them dancin’
    To hell with romancin’
    She’s sweat, wet,
    Got it goin’ like a turbo ‘Vette
    I’m tired of magazines
    Sayin’ flat butts are the thing
    Take the average black man and ask him that
    She gotta pack much back
    So, fellas! (Yeah!) Fellas! (Yeah!)
    Has your girlfriend got the butt? (Hell yeah!)
    Tell ‘em to shake it! (Shake it!) Shake it! (Shake it!)
    Shake that healthy butt!
    Baby got back!

  29. Julie says:

    I was feeling really positive about myself after reading this article until I got to the comments and found out that as a totally white girl, with red hair and fair skin, my bubble butt is somehow “less than” people with African blood coursing through them. In response to the person who said white folks like me don’t carry theirs with grace, I’ll have to respectfully disagree as will the men who’ve told me how much they love my curves. Black women don’t own all the rights to apple bottoms. With that thinking, girls like me will be thinking that we need to be skinny Minnie’s. And a bah humbug to that!

  30. LC In NOrfolk says:

    Having a large butt is the last thing Black people should be shamed of people. One of the first things we look at on a man or woman is the size and musculinity of their butts and thighs especially on the beach. Who wans to look at a woman or a man with a flat ass — most people I know do not. PLus, African Americans and other minorities have far more important things to worry about than the fact that we are blessed with fat butts. Look at how people of other races want to emulate that biological fact and also tans!!!!!

  31. Rubin Pauls says:

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  33. nick says:

    you need some education if you think black women had ass before Brazilians or Cubans or puerto ricans. their culture is what inspired the American “ass” culture please don’t say ignorant things like

    “Stereotypically, the commonality or predictably of a big butt rests with black women (myself excluded) but in the new world where booty is popping up everywhere (hello Kim Kardashian) and even being celebrated, I’m not surprised that Nike chose a safer model… or one that isn’t black at all. In other words, black girls ain’t the only ones with the big butts anymore.”

    its only a stereo type because black women make it one, for example, your statement; self ridicule doesn’t hide the bias .
    if black comedians stopped talking about water melon and chicken it would go away as a stereotype.
    Nike chose a safer model? what?!!! that comes across as racist to me. this article is redundant.

  34. nick says:

    ps white people evolved from the same line of apes black people did

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