Everyone wants to be black until it’s time to be black

Everyone wants to be black until it’s time to be black

ACHIENG AGUTUT

Perspectives Editor

aaagutu@goshen.edu

This one goes out to all my beautiful chocolate sisters out there. Understand your worth and know your beauty; know your power and know your strength. Love yourself.

Dove: you really freaking messed up this time!

Dove, a bath and beauty company, recently released a Facebook ad promoting their new body wash with the tagline “Ready for a Dove shower?”

The ad that was deleted shows a looping image of a black woman removing a dark brown T-shirt to reveal a smiling white woman. The woman then removes her beige t-shirt to show a third woman.

Since the airing of the ad, the company has received serious backlash from people on social media saying that the ad was racist and very offensive, which it was. Many noticed the historical use of racist images in soap advertisements where they had images of washing the dark pigment of one’s skin to reveal white, “cleaner” skin.

On Oct. 7th, Dove took to Twitter and apologized by saying the ad “missed the mark in thoughtfully representing women of color.”

Okay, Dove apologized so everything should be fine now? Right?

Heck no, things are not okay.

Dove is one of the few companies in the beauty industry that has taken a socially conscious stance on beauty by preaching the diversity of real beauty, whether it be a difference in race, ethnicity, age or body type.

It shocks me and pains me to see that they went through with an ad like that. As in, were there no people in the production of this ad that for one second thought, “Guys, this might be racist…?” ‘

Dove, do you even have black people on your marketing and advertising team?

What on earth was Dove thinking? Was Dove saying that inside every black woman is a smiling, white woman? Was Dove bringing back the centuries-old stereotype that black is dirty and white is pure? That this rich, gold, melanin skin that I inhabit is in fact filthy? Or that black skin can be cleansed away with soap?

This is not the first time that Dove has been under scrutiny for having a racist ad.

In 2011, a problematic advertisement for their body wash showed three women lined up from darkest to lightest skin tone. A black woman standing in front of a “before” and a white woman standing in front of an “after” sign. When the backlash began to roll in from a variety of social media platforms, Dove responded with a statement saying, “All three women are intended to demonstrate the “after” product benefit.”

But instead what the images were portraying were the results of what the body wash would do.

Am I reaching too far and digging too deep to pull out the race card on this one?

No I am not.

If we let things such as this perpetuate without speaking out, then we are fueling the latent narrative that white is pure, that white is better and that black, dark chocolate skin is nothing, it is filthy.

I am black every freaking day, every freaking hour and every freaking minute, and when I see companies that I respect, disrespect a population that has been oppressed for centuries, something must be done. Someone has to speak up.

From a long time now I have repeatedly heard the phrase that has commonly been misinterpreted as a compliment: “You’re pretty…for a black girl.”

Nowadays I just tune it out. I am a Kenyan woman, born and raised in Kisumu, Kenya, a small lake side city in the Western part of Kenya.

I have grown up being very aware of society’s opinion that skin of a darker complexion especially that of women would look better if it was lighter. This repressive narrative that “lighter is beautiful” or “white is pure and better” is one that I have seen affect countless women of color in communities around the world.

Dove, representation really matters.

It matters because we need to remind young black girls that black is beautiful and that they are queens and that there is nothing wrong with dark skin.

What were you thinking? Did you really believe that the ad you made would make more people of color actually want to buy your products?

Seeing this ad really hurt me, it stings and it will for a while.

I want to use this platform to remind people of the beauty that is women of color.

Dear black girl, I see you, I feel you, I hear you, I know you. Never feel like you aren’t enough, because you are plenty in love, in life, in breath, in melanin, in beauty, in power and in strength.

Black girl, from the tint of your skin, to thickness and fullness of your hair, you are perfect. You are dark skin and you are royalty. You cannot and will not be erased.

Thank you, Dove, for not letting me forget that this dark, melanin skin I inhabit is armor. That this skin is a reminder to me of all the strong black women who have sacrificed their lives for the liberation of people of color, that this skin is the epitome of #Blackgirlmagic and royalty.

Record
Written by Record

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