We all hear the famous lines, black is beautiful and black don’t crack. A lot of slogans and hashtags on social media have been associated with it over the years.
It all sounds nice in theory until when we are faced with the reality of accepting the rich nature of our black skin.
Despite all the positive messages about black skin, there is still so much craze for bleaching.
A few years back, I had a firsthand experience with a seller of bleaching cream. The medium-sized bag she had on her was full of cosmetic products of various sizes and uses. The colours were electric and that alone caught my attention.
After persuading me to buy virtually all her products, she dipped her hand into the bottom of the bag. Viola! She brought out an oval-shaped body lotion that had a picture of a yellow-skinned woman whose skin was as smooth as silk. On it was boldly written ‘TONING CREAM’
She handed it over to me to have a look.
I looked at it to see if there was another catchy detail that could convince me to patronize this seller, but there was none, apart from the picture of the yellow-skinned woman.
The seller then said, “Onyinye, you see this cream, once you start using it, your real colour will start showing. It will tone your skin and your skin will be fresh like that of a baby”
I interrupted her with an unexpected question “Does it mean this product is going to bleach me and make me fairer?” I asked in all sincerity and curiosity.
She replied, “Not at all, It is going to make your skin just like mine. It is this product that I use on my skin”
She was a light-complexioned lady but I couldn’t tell if she had always been fair or her skin had also been ‘toned’.
She did a good job of convincing me about the capability of the product but unfortunately, I didn’t buy it.
After about a year or so, I ran into her again.
She was a shadow of the woman who was singing the praises of a body lotion earlier. Her knuckles were already darkened. Same with her elbow, knees, under eyes and some other parts of her body.
Her face seemed as though it had been splattered by different colours of the rainbow. I didn’t need to ask further questions for the sake of courtesy but I already knew the answer.
The gory consequence of bleaching cream masquerading as toning creams is causing more damage to not just the skin but our health and reputation as well.
In as much as the increase in the rate of bleaching cream is fast becoming a major concern, a lot of Africans are still holding fast to their rich black and brown skin and showcasing it to the world with dignity.
The likes of Lupita Nyong’o, Adut Akech, Agbani Darego, Genevieve Nnaji, Akon and others are still changing the narrative of the beauty of black skin. The award-winning movie, SKIN by Beverly Naya also did justice to the richness of black skin by tearing down the notion of bleaching into shreds.
Although the craze for bleached skin might seem to be on the rise, it will never cover the glaring truth that Black is still beautiful. After all, no matter how long the truth is buried, it will always sprout.
About The Writer
Onyinye Ubah is a Nigerian storyteller, freelance writer, scriptwriter and poet. She studied Mass Communication at Nnamdi Azikiwe University.
She runs a storytelling blog, www.onyinyeubah.com where creative people share the stories of their journey in their various creative fields. She is also a contributor to eyegambia.org. Her debut novel is on the way.
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