Two days ago, Unilever was caught up in a storm after their famous skin brand Dove uploaded an advert on Facebook that showed a black woman removing her top, revealing a white woman underneath. She then took off her T-shirt, showing a third woman with a darker skin tone underneath.
To many people, the advert was seen as having a racial slur and many people called out the company saying that it meant that the black skin colour is dirty and after washing by use of Dove body wash it would become clean, which meant white.
The furore that was created by the advert caught the attention of Dove and the company has since come out and apologized on the matter and here is their apology on Twitter,
As black people have WE also missed the mark? Take for instance the job advertisements to do with sales and marketing in our forums. Some companies will insist that no one should apply unless they are light-skinned. In this regard, I am mostly referring to promotions such as those found in supermarkets and bar activations.
When people hold events such as corporate launches, some planners also insist that the ushering models should only be light-skinned. In the first example, the brown women are meant to attract members of the opposite sex to buy their products. They are meant to stand out from the crowds as well. So does this, therefore, mean that dark-skinned women cannot get customers? Does it mean that they do not have the language, skills and expertise needed to sell something to a customer?
Going by the above examples, does it mean that most Kenyan men cannot be attracted by a woman with dark skin? It is mind-boggling because if you are hiring employees to attract customers using the notion that black is not attractive enough, then you risk alienating a section of men and women who get attracted by dark skin as well. With full knowledge of this fact, people still do bold adverts requesting for only light skinned women to apply for the jobs.
I have never really understood the thinking behind hiring only light-skinned models for corporate events. Can’t dark-skinned models usher guests well into an auditorium? I mean can colour affect someone’s ability to smile, walk a guest to their seat and tell them one or two things about an event? I would like to clarify at this point that I do not have anything against light-skinned women; in fact, my own daughter is light-skinned. My problem is that we are so ready to call out Dove for their mistake but are never willing to call out people who the same against our dark-skinned sisters.
Do you know I once accompanied a group of women to go and visit a newborn and once it was her turn to carry the baby, one woman remarked with a sneer that the baby was too black and wanted to know how come because according to her knowledge and experience, babies are supposed to be light skinned upon birth?
As the room full of women was still trying to recover from their shock at this very immature, insensitive comment from a silly woman who was now smiling like she had won an Oscar award, the host calmly retorted and asked where was she supposed to get a brown baby while both her and the spouse were dark-skinned? This is Africa; doesn’t giving birth to dark-skinned babies come with the territory? Asking about the
This is Africa; doesn’t giving birth to dark-skinned babies come with the territory? Asking about the colour of the baby was not really wrong, it was the way she put it like black babies are not beautiful. Once everybody recovered from the initial shock she was put in her place and I am sure she will not try that anywhere else!
Ever heard someone tell a dark-skinned person, “You’re pretty for someone who’s dark-skinned” or “You are pretty for a black girl?” What silly questions, aren’t black people supposed to be good looking? I just don’t understand that question coming from someone who was born in Africa and lived in here all their life.
The many people who have spent millions of shillings on real and fake products to lighten their skins are also another bunch of people that work really hard to convince the world that black is not beautiful enough. Celebrities such as Nicki Minaj, Lil Kim and their local counterparts such as Atomy Sifa and Vera Sidika have managed to change people’s minds towards this notion as well. Changing their skin
Changing their skin colour has made them acceptable to many people and they have reached the height of stardom because they fit a certain accepted image. With such people in the limelight, it is little wonder why River Road is full of women who want to bleach their skin and only end up with purple, burnt skin for their trouble.
It is sad that we are the ones that are actually pushing the notion that has no place in Africa and among the black community overseas. As my daughter grows up I will instil in her that black is so beautiful and that she should never look down on anyone because of their colour. I will teach her that everyone deserves equal opportunities despite their colour.
To the people who gave the likes of South Sudan’s Alek Wek, Ajak Deng, Kenya’s Ajuma and many other models and actresses a chance we say thank you because you are just what the black community needs.