Published: Wed, October 11, 2017
Culture | By Stewart Greene

Nigerian Model in 'Racist' Dove Ad Defends Campaign

Nigerian Model in 'Racist' Dove Ad Defends Campaign

As we previously reported, soap giant Dove came under fire for posting an ad that depicted a Black woman peeling off her shirt to reveal that she's a white woman after using their soap. The women of color were under the "before" category and the white woman was under the "after" category.

The complete, 30-second television commercial, Ogunyemi said, actually showed seven models, of various ethnic backgrounds, answering the question: "If your skin were a wash label, what would it say?" In their post, the acknowledged the mistake they made and apologized for "missing the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully". "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", she said.

The ad showed a black woman turning white.

In defence of Dove, the model assured that her experience with the brand, and on-set, was nothing but positive, assuring that ad's concept was clearly communicated- using the models' differences to unite them in idea that all skin deserves gentleness.

"I am a Nigerian woman, born in London and raised in Atlanta", she wrote.

Lola Ogunyemi grew up being told she was pretty.

A "racist" advert by personal care and beauty company Dove on Sunday caused a storm on social media. To scores of consumers, the images invoked a message that dark skin is dirty and in need of cleansing, a racist stereotype historically seen in soap ads, as The Washington Post's Cleve R. Wootson Jr. "I was proud", she continues. She said that if she had known what the final edit would be, she wouldn't have accepted the project. She also says that she feels the public was justified in their initial outrage.

Dove is facing heat for a body wash ad showing a black woman taking off her shirt to reveal a white woman, with many social media users calling it racist.

Ogunyemi closed her essay acknowledging how the ad may have been misinterpreted on the basis of backlash Dove has experienced in the past, critiquing them for a lack of context when releasing the campaign, but she still believes that the brand should have defended their vision and their inclusion of her in the ad: "I am not just some silent victim of a mistaken beauty campaign".

But, ultimately, Ogunyemi is more dissatisfied with the fact that Dove did not defend its creative decisions and explain the narrative of the ad.

"I know that the beauty industry has fuelled this opinion with its long history of presenting lighter, mixed-race or white models as the beauty standard".

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