Racist commercials keep coming out of the sunken place rabbit hole. Several ads have gotten major sideeye these past six months for antagonizing portrayals or messages about African Americans, including this recent ones from Heineken.
Chance The Rapper just checked the beer business for its commercial which says that “sometimes lighter is better,” a perceived reference to colorism and a promotion of the dangerous idea that lighter skin is more attractive than darker skin. The Chicago lyricist also said that companies may be purposely putting out obviously racist ads to get clicks.
The Heineken commercials also drew criticism from several people on social media.
Aside from Heineken, Dove dropped a crazy reckless commercial in October that showed a Black woman taking off her shirt to reveal a White woman. The backlash was swift: Many folks were not having Dove flaunt racism against Black women and making a mockery of the pain of skin-lightening treatments among darker-skinned women.
Nivea also made a commercial similar to Dove’s that wrongfully advocated for lighter skin. Billboards showing former Miss Nigeria Omowunmi Akinnifesi using the brand’s “Natural Fairness” moisturizer to lighten her skin were posted in October as well. The incident prompted a #PULLITDOWN campaign on social media.
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This is not okay. #Nivea – Perpetuating the notion that fairer skin is more beautiful, more youthful is so damaging and plays into the racist narrative so prevalent in the beauty industry, that whiteness or light skin is the standard that we should all strive for. Advertisers have the power to change this narrative, but campaign after campaign we see it being used worldwide. Making money out of making people hate themselves is never acceptable. Whitening and lightening creams are not only physically damaging, but also ethically wrong. Empowerment is not too much to ask for. ALL black skin is beautiful, no exceptions, so celebrate us as we are instead of asking us to adhere to unattainable and racist ideals.
On top of all of these beauty company blunders, clothing giant H&M made a major fail with its ad that showed a Black child model wearing a “Coolest Monkey In The Jungle” hoodie in January. Though it wasn’t a video, the picture was again recklessly racist. H&M lost credibility and had to close down its South Africa stores. When will retailers and companies learn?
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(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)