Sunday, 15 July, 2018

Black Woman In 'Racist' Dove Ad Says 'I Am Not A Victim'

Lola Ogunyemi top and fellow model in the Dove Lola Ogunyemi top and fellow model in the Dove
Stacy Diaz | 11 October, 2017, 14:28

Soap company Dove has been slammed for being racist after one of its adverts showed a black woman turning white apparently after using a Dove body wash.

The post has been removed and the company has not released any other content related to the ad. Ogunyemi also said, "I am not just some silent victim of a mistaken beauty campaign".

Ogunyemi said the concept of the ad, to use women of different skin tones, races and ethnicities to highlight the fact that all skin deserves gentleness-was misinterpreted. What the screenshot failed to show was that the redheaded white woman removes her shirt and transforms into a third woman, who appears to be of color.

'Having the opportunity to represent my dark-skinned sisters in a global beauty brand felt like the ideal way for me to remind the world that we are here, we are attractive, and more importantly, we are valued.

For what it's worth, the black woman in the ad has also come out in defense of Dove.

She also felt the public was justified in their outrage, but also saw that a lot had been left out. But a shortened GIF that circulated around social media may have lost the message, she says. "That is something that goes against everything I stand for", she said.

The screenshot was taken from a three-second ad that Dove debuted on Friday via Facebook. This was her work as a model, and she refuses to let this one campaign define her. "I would have been the first to say an emphatic "no".

In the full version, Ogunyemi is the first model and she proclaims her skin is "20 percent dry, 80 percent glowing" before appearing again at the end of the commercial.

For Dove and its parent company, Unilever, the past weekend has demolished the personal care products brand's reputation after 13 years of success celebrating, and garnering much praise, for its "Real Beauty" campaigns.

In hindsight, Lola thinks that Dove could have done more beyond simply apologising for the ad: by defending their creative vision and decision to feature a dark-skinned black woman in their campaign.

Many Facebook and Twitter users said the clip signaled that white people were cleaner or more handsome than black people and likened it to 19th century soap adverts that showed black people scrubbing themselves to become white.

Dove issued mea culpas via Twitter and Facebook, saying it "missed the mark in thoughtfully representing women of color and we deeply regret the offense that it has caused".

"I know that the beauty industry has fueled this opinion with its long history of presenting lighter, mixed-race or white models as the beauty standard". Most of the images showed only Ogunyemi and the white woman that followed her. The narrative has been written without giving consumers context on which to base an informed opinion, ' she wrote.