Nivea: Cosmetics brand under attack for its skin lightening advert which has racist undertone

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Nivea advert had model Omowunmi Akinnifesi promoting more bleaching.

Nivea came under criticism in April 2017 for its deodorant ad campaign with the tagline "White is Purity".

A billboard advert put up by cosmetic brand, Nivea, which showed Nigerian model and fashionista, Omowunmi Akinnifesi promoting bleaching has become a subject of racism among critics.

The ad which appeared in West African countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon and Senegal has seen a bunch of criticism on social media. Negative reactions have trailed the campaign on Twitter and Instagram.

 

A press statement released by Nivea in a bid to explain its intention has done little to address the concerns regarding its skin lotion product which is developed to ensure a lighter complexion of its African audience.

London-born Ghanaian rapper, Fuse ODG was among the mass of critics who attacked the idea behind the advert which was also shown on the television. In a letter to the company, he challenged the insensitive ad due to the fact that it was encouraging black people to bleach their skins, earning him commendation from a fan and dancehall musician, Shatta Wale. Both were seen to have supported his criticism.

"For those of u claiming the word "fairer" mean beautiful TakeDown ya SelfHate billboards in Africa. #BlackIsBeautiful."

A Twitter user Nora Rahimian wrote this in response, "First @Dove, then @niveauk. Shout out @FuseODG for always calling attention to things like this."

"Bleaching is killing and destroying our women, we don't need anymore ads on it. Nivea #PULLITDOWNNOW Thanks my bro @FuseODG," Shatta Wale also wrote on Twitter.

 

Ayodeji Rotinwa, a journalist based in Nigeria felt the advert will spur those who look up to Akinnifesi as a role model to opt for a fairer skin tone, threatening the whole idea of being black.

"The first time I saw the ad, I thought it was problematic," he said.

"Omowunmi Akinnifesi is not that fair to begin with. But in my opinion, for someone who girls look up to and isn't too fair or too dark, to then come out and say, 'fairer is better!' ... people already aspire to be like you," Rotinwa added in an interview with NPR News.

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The incident is hardly the first of its kind for Nivea. Earlier in April 2017, it came under widespread attack for a tagline "White is Purity" which it used in marketing a deodorant.

It made the company appear to be promoting the European concept making the idea of being African to be demeaning. A report by Refinery29 submitted that it "has deeply supremacist undertones."



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