Fact: Skin Bleaching Products Won’t Disappear if Users Still Have Dark Patches of Mental Slavery
Nivea is is the latest beauty brand — caught in the line of fire as the revelation of an ad campaign — targeting specific zones in the Diaspora — comes to light — literally.
The clip that features a Black woman (former Miss Nigeria Omowunmi Akinnifesi) indulging in the potion that makes black skin — fairer — on contact is inciting rage across platforms — as users angrily express disbelief at the audacity of Nivea’s latest ploy of convincing women of color why “Natural Fairness” is a small price to pay for privilege.
Not too long ago — another cosmetic company (Dove) underwent the same treatment — after another viral clip showcasing a Black woman transforming into a White woman due to the effects of Dove’s cleansing qualities — also inspired ire at the notion that Black women have to be White — in order to be spotless.
Controversy brewed even more when the Nigerian model in the Dove ad — made it quite clear that critics had been misled by footage that was purposely missing vital pieces of the puzzle. I ended up viewing the complete ad — and while on some level I feel like a “faker” for not doing extensive research — I have concluded that Dove’s storyboard is still righteously ill-conceived.
Dove apologized for miscalculating the current climate — that bears no resemblance to the past. Back in the day — it was easier to boldly market products that continuously devalue the state of affairs of the Black population.
Heck! I grew up in Nigeria — and my memories serve me well — as I recall the TV commercials that depicted the beauty of lightness and how Joy soap, Venus de Milo and all the other creams dedicated to the addiction of Whiteness — were necessary if you wanted to be “a fine Nigerian girl” — with the prospect of impressive suitors.
Nivea also fucked up back in April — with the “White is Purity” campaign — and once shit shit the fan — an apology was promptly issued.
This time however, the newly installed #pullitdown movement isn’t evoking similar sentiments as the beauty brand stands by it’s tradition of supplying dark-skinned women with the power of erasing their ailment with graceful strokes:
NIVEA said: “We have recently noted concerns on social media by some consumers regarding our NIVEA Natural Fairness Body Lotion communication in Ghana. We would like to emphasise that this campaign is in no way meant to demean or glorify any person’s needs or preferences in skin care.”
It said “as a global leader in skin care has developed a safe product that contains natural ingredients and UV filters, which protect the skin from long-term sun damage and premature skin-ageing as well as reduce the sun-induced production of melanin, which, over time, can lead to an uneven skin tone.”
It’s worth noting that these ads are primarily focused on habitual users — based in Africa and Asia.The creams pose as legit solvers for light-skinned women — who are naturally that way — but have the desire to enhance their lightness. But, the potent agents responsible for the “whitening” function are heightened for the task of turning really dark skin into varying shades of Whiteness.
West Africa happens to be a notorious hub for greedy suppliers that are inspired to keep up with the increasing demand for skin lightening agents. This is because of the tragic and aggressive system of colorism that seems to be escalating with each passing year.
Nivea and all the other culprits in this cycle of high-priced hate can’t be blamed for taking advantage of a billion dollar industry that shows no signs of stalling. We can create useless hashtags and beg our followers to join the circus of rejection — but the soreness we need to massage away is right within our midst.
It’s the family members that are ambitiously eradicating traces of melanin with overt discipline — and yet we pretend it’s not happening — each time they show up — with shinier surfaces.
When I was a young girl — under the care of my parents — I understood why people praised how much I resembled my mother — while pointing the difference in our skin hues. The general sentiment in Nigeria — matched most cultures that were invaded by Whiteness — and never seemed to recover.
It’s absolutely sad — that the reaction to these ads that blatantly encourage the value of Whiteness over Blackness — seems to be mostly directed at the companies that are invested in the security of profits — and not in the restoration of badly-damaged natives — who refuse to be cured from the illness of self-hate.
As a dark-skinned girl — I had the blessing of a lighter-skinned mother who married a darker-skinned man to birth kids that reflect that combination. I was never insecure about my color — because I was raised in love and acceptance.
But, I realize that many are vulnerable to the messages of global appeal — that seem to exaggerate the opulence of White skin and aquiline features.
The deadly disease of self-mutilation is ongoing and won’t ever cease until we as a community call out those who succumb to the effects of our crippling embarrassment.
It’s fucked up that literally millions of people with gorgeous black skin — still feel the urge to deaden the cells — that were working perfectly — until the reside of slavery and the betrayal of the White race — got in the damn way.
The truth is that skin bleaching is a high-volume trade that won’t be vanquished until people of color relearn how to love themselves.
Our loyalty to lighter templates with reshaped noses that don’t broaden our ability to be abandoned by opportunities scheduled for Whiter counterparts — is destroying the argument to demolish the companies that have every right to make tons of money at our expense.
The profitable avenue of mental slavery is the devastating testament to what occurred — centuries ago — when slave ships carried live cargo and saved the livestock while black bodies floated in the sunny waters — with the rage of irrevocable damage.
They died for nothing.
Black people are still enslaved. We still purchase the platter of lies that make Black men with money and clout — horny for the improved replicas that feature the best of Black women — without the thorniness of Blackness. We still buy the ridiculousness of how “fake skin” with little trace of the patches we need for survival — will somehow save us from the mental punishment of growing up too dark for recognition.
Lil’ Kim was beautiful before she killed herself. Yet, the need to correct what wasn’t wrong to begin with is an overwhelming mission for those who are convinced — that life begins when the Blackness is scrubbed away to reveal the hollowness of a white slate — and the promise of a lifetime pursuit of worthiness.
The cure for an illness that began from the violence of forced displacement and tribal kidnapping isn’t forthcoming — and that has everything to do with normalization of the White aesthetic and how it continues to permeate the global narrative.
In order to combat the steady dominium of Whiteness — there has to be a growing network of competitors that counter the dishonesty of diminishing the wealth of Black beauty. Rihanna’s FentyBeauty venture is headed in the right direction — and plenty more would be nice.
In the meantime — we are faced with the ominous realization that so many of us are failing the test that requires an adherence to our most basic primal tendencies — that should never be fucked with — under any circumstance.
But, this situation is skin deep — and the only way out is to dispense with the evidence. The Whiter the better — and the easier it is to ignore the core of such an ambition that literally shames the branches of family trees.
We weren’t meant to be weighed down by the endorsed exotic characteristics that give the regularity of Blackness — a blotted trial.
Until consumers with dark skin refrain from the habit of denial when it comes to wooing the spiciness of egusi soup while maintaining the shade of yellow that won’t adequately cover the black knuckles — peering with defiance — Nivea, Dove and the rest of the Whitening brigade will continue to exceed sales goals — and color us blind.
You can bleach the melanin of skin, but not the hue of spirit. The chains of our masters are tightly in place — and the only ointment that will do is the Blackness of skin — that gives the night sky — reason to hide.
When will we let the healing begin?