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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 of dust.

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 massive 77%.

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 tone sells.

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 cream thrive.

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.


(C) Planet Leadership  Resources, 2018