What’s with skin care advertisements and racism lately? First, it was Dove accused of racism with their campaign of a black woman removing her top to reveal a white woman underneath, and now, moisturiser brand Nivea are the one’s under fire for an advertisement showing a product used for lightening black skin.
The advertisement is targeted at women in Africa, where skin lightening and bleaching is very common. In the advert, a black woman is applying Nivea’s Natural Fairness cream over her body, followed by a voiceover saying that she hopes the cream will “restore” her skin to its natural fairness. The woman is then complimented by a man for her “beautiful skin”. Take a look at the ad for yourselves and let us know what you think.
This is why black businesses need to rise up and cater for our needs. Nivea can’t get away with pushing this skin lightening agenda across Africa. Appalling. pic.twitter.com/8uR7XHNgVa
— William Adoasi (@WilliamAdoasi) October 18, 2017
Of course, angry posts on social media arose because of this, including from Radio 1’s A.Dot and from trans model Munroe Bergdorf, and somehow we are not surprised.
Munroe, who was recently fired from a L’Oreal campaign after controversial and racist comments on her Facebook page, aimed directly at white people, says that the Nivea advert “plays into the racist narrative so prevalent in the beauty industry.”
Munroe posted on her Instagram: “Advertisers have the power to change this narrative, but campaign after campaign we see it being used worldwide”.
Munroe added, “Making money out of making people hate themselves is never acceptable. Whitening and lightening creams are not only physically damaging, but also ethically wrong. Empowerment is not too much to ask for. All black skin is beautiful, no exceptions.”
“Celebrate us as we are instead of asking us to adhere to unattainable and racist ideals.”
Nivea products are made by a company called Beiersdorf AG, where a spokesperson told BBC Newsbeat that the company “recognises” the concerns raised.
“We take them very seriously. Our intention is never to offend our consumers,” they stated. “We acknowledge every consumer’s right to choose products according to their personal preferences, and we are guided by that to provide them with high-quality skin care product choices.”
If you thought Dove’s campaign a few weeks ago was bad, then this one is just as concerning. Unfortunately, it seems like a simple misunderstanding that has sent the wrong message again at the wrong time. Although, skin lightening should never be something to promote, there is a big market for these products in various cultures across the world, regardless of skin colour. You can name South America, Africa and Asia in that list of continents, where apparently lighter skin and skin lightening products are very popular and there’s a big market for such moisturisers. It may not be right or even good for your skin, but this advert could definitely send out the wrong message, either way.
Anyway, let us know your thoughts on this advertisement in the comments section down below.
<Story by Emily Clark>
Featured Photo Credit: iLookDope