Why Nigerian Female Celebrities Bleach
Two throwback pictures (one from former beauty queen Dabota Lawson, and one suspected to be media celebrity Toke Makinwa) showed up on the Internet.
Throwback pictures are normal every Thursday on the Internet. What made these two photos different from the nostalgia inducing photos we see every Thursday is that the female celebs in question looked so much darker than they do now.
In Dabota Lawson’s throwback picture she looked considerably darker than what she looks like now. In the throwback picture of the young woman who is suspected to be Toke Makinwa, the difference is literally night and day.
Popular blogger Stella Dimokokorkus shared the photo of Dabota Lawson and wrote “Dabota looked really beautiful with her original skin tone,” and shadily added, “but she now looks brighter than the sunlight and more beautiful, in fact one would hardly know she used to be dark skinned.”
Dabota Lawson saw the comment about her skin and replied saying “Damn Stella, back with that stale gist? Slow news day?” The former beauty queen didn’t really deny that she bleached her skin.
Skin bleaching has been prevalent in Nigeria since the 1970’s. Nigerian music legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti released the record ‘Yellow Fever’ – a musical satire about black Nigerian women bleaching their skin.
Today it is more prevalent than ever. In the Nigerian entertainment scene there are tons of women who have bleached (or toned) their skins to look lighter. The trend is at its highest level now with many female celebrities believing that can’t be successful unless they have light skin.
A music video director once told me that light skin people appear better on camera than dark skin people. With this belief it is therefore not surprising that a lot of video vixens bleach their skin to have more chances of appearing in music videos.
A lot of women and some men in the movie industry also have that mentality also. They have bleached their skins to get more roles. And let’s face the fact, the global entertainment industry leans towards light skin women. That is why Rihanna and Nicki Minaj now look considerably lighter now than when they first started.
While skin bleaching or toning was almost a taboo in the past it is now a norm and even celebrated. Well that’s because it is referred to as skin lightening these days. That’s the politically correct term.
Cameroonian singer Dencia came out with her now famous cream ‘Whitenicious’ which is described as a dark spot remover in 2013. In an interview with Ebony Magazine in 2014 Dencia said the purpose of her Whitenicious is to remove dark spots on your skin and it does not bleach your skin unless you buy a crazy amount of the product.
The product has gone on to be extremely popular. Last year Dencia claimed she made twenty million dollars from the product.
Whitenicious has had its critics notably Oscar award winner Lupita Nyong’O. In 2014 Lupita name dropped Whitenicious in her speech about black beauty.
“I want to take this opportunity to talk about beauty, Black beauty, dark beauty. I received a letter from a girl and I’d like to share just a small part of it with you: “Dear Lupita,” it reads, “I think you’re really lucky to be this Black but yet this successful in Hollywood overnight. I was just about to buy Dencia’ Whitenicious cream to lighten my skin when you appeared on the world map and saved me” she said during the speech.
Dencia didn’t like this and fired back at the actress.
While the singer is making money from her cream, Ghanaian actress Ama K Abebrese who acted in ‘Beast of No Nation’ has launched a public health campaign called ‘Love Your Natural Skin Tone‘.
The campaign is meant to go against widespread bleaching in the West African country of Ghana. Her campaign is a welcome development especially for a sub-region that is known for bleaching. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) Nigerian women are first when it comes to skin bleaching.
The fact remains that skin bleaching or skin toning is very common in Nigeria and especially in the entertainment industry. For the price of fame and success many people are willing to wash away their skins.