By Nwanneoma Okorocha
American reality star and socialite,
Angela Renée White, professionally known as Blac Chyna came under fire
when she chose Nigeria as her first port of call to launch Whitenicious
X Blac Chyna Diamond Illuminating & Lightening Cream,
a skin lightening beauty brand.
Chyna is known for celebrity relationships with Tyga, an American rapper
and Rob Kardashian, television personality, businessman and scion of the
famous Kardashians, widely regarded as the first family of reality TV.
The former stripper was unveiled in the United States as face of the
skin lightening cream, which comes in a Swarovski crystal studded
bottle, and will set customers back $250.
According to the cream’s site, it
“Gives a brightening glow for younger-looking skin; Helps renew texture;
Hydrates and helps retain luminosity; Gives a temporary lift and helps
restore firmness and elasticity over time revitalises skin´s hydration;
Restores younger-looking contours to up; Brightens, lightens without
bleaching skin out; Cream preserves skin texture and tone.”
Chyna’s promotion of a skin lightening cream, in collaboration with
Whitenicious founder and Cameroonian pop singer Denicia has raised a lot
Skin-whitening products have a huge market in Nigeria, as they explore
what is seen as a colourism problem. It is arguable that the standard of
beauty in this country which is regarded as the "Giant of Africa", owing
to its large population, is tilted in favour of people who have a
lighter skin tone.
According to a World Health Organization report, Nigeria has the highest
number of women bleaching their skin in Africa. The country polled a
No wonder Chyna and her cohorts decided to come and roam around
unhindered. It is no longer news that the famous slogan, “Black is
beautiful,” now sounds hollow. The current reality is that light-skin
If racism according to dictionary definition is actually prejudice,
discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different
race based on the belief that one's own race is superior, then bleaching
is a form of racism - inflicted by the standard set by the society, and
again, it is self inflicted racism. It is self inflicted because when
you bleach, you have accepted that your skin colour is inferior .
It is time to do away with the notion that white is superior to black.
That notion of beauty makes people like Blac Chyna with her bleaching
2009, Kavitha Emmanuel founder of Women of Worth, an Indian NGO that is
standing up to an ingrained bias toward lighter skin launched the Dark
is Beautiful campaign in India. She currently runs media literacy
workshops and advocacy programmes in schools to convey messages of
self-esteem and self-worth to young children.
Maybe if it is time for this type of campaign to start in Nigeria. The
mental stereotype that labels fair-skinned as “beautiful” and a darker
one “ugly” should give way.
November 2017, the marketing office of Dove, a brand of Unilever, got
into controversy over an ad that showed a black woman appearing to turn
white after using its body lotion. The campaign was swiftly removed
after the outcry.
The uproar generated by Blac Chyna’s promotion of bleaching cream in
Nigeria should produce result. It should germinate beauty activism in
Nigeria. Someone like Kavitha Emmanuel should arise.
It is time for literacy workshops and advocacy programmes that convey
messages of confidence, self-esteem, and counteract the notion that
black is ugly and fair is beautiful. Black is beautiful should be made
to trend again in the nooks and crannies of Nigeria.