Gillette's New Ad Shows a Father Teaching His Transgender Son How to Shave | 22 Words

A young man's first shave is often depicted in society and pop culture as a pivotal moment. There is a plethora of television shows and movies that contain a scene wherein a young boy takes a razor to his face for the first time, practically giddy with excitement over the experience of shaving. We're used to this trope. It's familiar - a father teaching his son how to shave is something that has been ingrained within our expectations of adolescence for quite some time.

Of course, everyone's story is different. Not every young man has the same experience when it comes to shaving for the first time. Razor and personal care company, Gillette, recently released an incredibly moving and poignant ad, featuring a father helping his transgender son to shave for the first time. It is the first ad from Gillette that features a transgender man. Make sure to scroll to the bottom of this article to watch the ground-breaking commercial.

Last Thursday, Gillette posted the ad to their Facebook page.

via: Gillette

The ad features Samson Bonkeabantu Brown, a Toronto-based transgender artist.

It begins with Brown and his father sitting next to each other.

via: Gillette

"Growing up, I was always trying to figure out what kind of man I wanted to become," Brown says in the opening shot of the video.

"And I'm still trying to figure out what kind of man I want to become," he continues.

via: Gillette

Brown continues, "I always knew I was different. I didn't know there was a term for the type of person that I was."

Brown explains that he went into his transition just wanting to be happy.

via: Gillette

"I’m glad I’m at the point where I’m able to shave," he says to the camera.

The ad then cuts to Brown nervously practicing shaving with his father.

via: Gillette

His father helps to direct him, offering advice. "Now don’t be scared," his father says warmly. "Shaving is about being confident."

The video cuts back to Brown talking about his personal journey.

via: Gillette

"I'm at the point in my manhood where I'm actually happy," he says. "It's not just myself transitioning, it's everyone around me transitioning."

The powerful advertisement has been met with emotional praise.

via: Gillette

Gillette captioned the video with, "Whenever, wherever, however it happens – your first shave is special."

Gillette's response:

via: Gillette

NBC News reported that when asked about the ad, Gillette responded, that they support "everyone in their journey to looking, feeling and acting their best every day."

The video has over a million views, nearly two thousand comments, and almost eight thousand shares.

via: Gillette

Gillette spokesperson, Corey Manuel, told NBC, "Gender conversations are happening all around us and we believe brands play a role in influencing culture and have a responsibility to use their voice to champion issues of great relevance to both the brand and our customers."

Among the positive comments on the ad, Brown left one himself.

via: Gillette

"Thank you so much, Gillette, for allowing me to share such an important moment in a man's life with my father. I look forward to the great things you're going to continue doing to encourage us all to be our best selves. Love y'all greatly! #MyBestSelf."

His comment received over three thousand likes.

Gillette responded to the comment, "Thank you for sharing your story, Samson! We’re honored to showcase this special moment between you and your father and are proud to have you as a partner. Thank you for your courage and confidence in sharing your journey to becoming your best self!"

A ton of people left comments, showing their support.

"This is beautiful!! Thank you for sharing♥️?," Alexander Wright commented.

Loyal Gillette customers commented on the post, moved by the ad.

"Been buying your products for the past few years... you’ve just earned yourself a loyal customer for LIFE!!! Thank you for this beautiful piece!!! ❤️❤️❤️," one Facebook-user wrote. 

Gillette took the time to respond to some of the comments.

via: Getty Images

"We appreciate the support! As a brand committed to helping men look, feel, and act their best, we think it's important to embrace inclusivity in how we portray masculinity," they wrote in response to one of the comments.

Brought to tears.

"This had me in tears! Plus, my trans son had the biggest smile watching it. Thank you for being inclusive! ♥️" Nichole Angel wrote in the comment section of the ad's Facebook post.

Representation matters.

"This is so relevant to the life of my family. I can’t tell you how thankful I am to see things like this out in the world. My son and I talked about his looking forward to his first shave because of this story. We feel represented in a way we haven’t before and it’s a beautiful feeling," one Facebook-user commented on Gillette's ad.

Brown also posted the ad on his public Facebook page.

"I shot this ad for Gillette and wanted to include my father, who has been one of my greatest supporters throughout my transition, encouraging me to be confident and live authentically as my best self," Brown wrote.

A milestone.

"With the help of Gillette, I was able to share an important milestone in every man's life with my father," Brown wrote.


via: Getty Images

"This moment overwhelmed me during filming and again today seeing the ad since it's been launched," Brown continued in the caption. "I'm keenly aware of how blessed I am to be able to exist in this world being supported by my family in ways that all too often many of my trans brothers, sisters, and siblings who exist outside the binary are not always as fortunate."

Encouragement for others.

"I am confident that this ad will encourage many of my trans siblings and fill them with the knowledge that our existence in this world can be filled with the love and support we deserve," Brown wrote.

Be your best self.

Brown finished the caption on the post with, "Be good to yourselves. Love yourselves. And know that when you greet the world with love, it can and will love you back, often in the places you least expect. I love you greatly." He ended with the campaign hashtag, #MyBestSelf.

People also took to Twitter to show their praise.

"This is the kind of work I dream of creating someday," one Twitter-user wrote.

Many pointed out that the political timing of the ad is powerful.

"During a time when our trans brothers and sisters are under attack by the Trump administration, this ad demonstrates the beauty and humanity of everyone being able to celebrate their true selves," one Twitter-user wrote.

Some thanked Gillette for being a brand that uses its platform for change.

"Thank you for being an industry leader and showing that you can be a successful company and morally competent at the same time," one Twitter-user wrote.


Many spoke of how moved they were by the ad and the beauty of Brown sharing his story.

The ad has also gained the support of high profile people, like Obama's former senior advisor, Valerie Jarrett.

Jarrett called the ad "tender" and "simply perfect."

The ad was also called "groundbreaking."

It's been shared across social media platforms thousands of times.

This is not the first time that Gillette has made moves to change the way they present masculinity within their own promotion.

In January, they released an ad that asked the question, "Boys will be boys?" The ad was part of their #TheBestMenCanBe campaign.

The ad challenged toxic masculinity.

"Isn’t it time we stopped excusing bad behavior?" Gillette wrote on Twitter, with the accompanying ad. Like this ad from several months ago, Gillette's most recent #MyBestSelf campaign has been met with criticism from those who disagree with the message. But the praise, encouragement, and positivity are overflowing.

Watch Samson Bonkeabantu Brown's Gillette ad here!

Share this video with a friend! Just FYI: you may need to also share a box of tissues.