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Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Nigerian Pop Star Stirs Controversy Over Her Popular ‘Whitenicious’ Bleaching Cream

denciaNigerian-Cameroonian pop musician Dencia is becoming the talk of social media networks and Nigerian blogs with the release of her “skin care” line ‘Whitenicious’. Whitenicious promises to help users rid themselves of pesky dark spots by gradually lightening the hyper-pigmented areas of their skin. Although this is what the musician is advertising, from the looks of Dencia’s skin, she’s been using it (or something more powerful) to transform her complexion from deep mahogany to a very pale white.

Clutch magazine reported that according to the Whitenicious website, the cream (priced between $50-$150) is a “fast acting, 7 day dark spot remover” that is “a moisturizing cream enriched with powerful natural ingredients that will nourish your skin and lighten dark knuckles, knees and elbows.” Some Nigerian beauty blogs display before and after photos of Whitenicious users showing their once luminous dark skin transformed to milky white.

Dencia has been inundated with criticism (and praise) about her skin-toning line via Twitter, but she isn’t fazed. Along with re-tweeting links to mentions of her product, she’s been taking on critics who deride her for promoting and capitalizing on self-hate.

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Dencia’s Transformation

“Skin toning,” as it’s called in Nigeria, is big business. According to the World Health Organization, nearly 77-percent of Nigerian women, the highest percentage in the world, use skin-lightening products regularly. While some lighten their skin to adhere to a Western standard of beauty, many women bleach their skin because it affords them better marriage prospects and a greater chance at social mobility.

Skin-bleaching has terrible consequences. Skin burns, rashes, and permanent abrasions are common. Moreover many creams contain toxic levels of mercury, and some include agents that may cause leukemia, and cancer of the liver and kidneys. Despite this, skin-bleaching has become a multibillion-dollar business around the world. Although the practice is rampant in Africa, the industry’s popularity extends far beyond the continent.  Nearly 61 percent of skin-care products in India contain bleaching agents, and 40 percent of women in China, Malaysia, the Philippines, and the Republic of Korea admitted to bleaching.

Comments

  1. Self hatred, self loathing taken to an extreme. The woman's photo has obviously been shopped. In person, her skin probably looks hideous, because that's the effect skin bleaching has on a dark skinned black person. It makes a person look like a vampire.

  2. Wanting a more even skin tone is fine. In some cases, it lessens the need to apply heavy cover up make-up that can clog pores, cause acne and in extreme cases, acne marks or scars. However, this is RIDICULOUS! Self hatred aside, how can anyone believe that such an extreme process has no effect on their health? Ladies, MANY of these creams are dangerous. The health issues have been known for years yet women are still willing to risk their lives. I wonder how great they would look with cancer?

  3. Anonymous says:

    'There is one part of this story that really stands out, " While some lighten their skin to adhere to a Western standard of beauty, many women bleach their skin because it affords them better marriage prospects and a greater chance at social mobility"
    Are you serious about the concept of being accepted in social environment? Marriage should never that important that you have to change your looks to get a man. After everything people have done to the minorities of this country they are having or suggesting that if you come to this country the way you will succeed is to look white.

  4. How is western white girls trying to tan themselves and darken their skin different? Why doesn't it qualify as "self hatred"? I don't think skin bleaching is good, but I believe the picture of Delcia in the add is photoshopped until I see a more candid pic.

  5. Ernie Boomer says:

    I don't blame her, I bleach my skin too

  6. The problem doesn't lie in what she does or not, but the fact that people care about it. Stop caring about what other people do. Live your life. If a white person wants to get tanned or a black person wants to lighten his skin, it's their choice. Stop judging, start living.

  7. Jason Hall says:

    Call me crazy, but she looked way better with dark skin…

  8. Lars Flyger says:

    Tanning is something that happens naturally with increased exposure to sunlight, it doesn't necessarily indicate anything racial. You can't exactly lighten your skin naturally, however, it has to be done through artificial means. It's like a sort of reverse blackface.

  9. Lars Flyger says:

    Tanning is something that happens naturally with increased exposure to sunlight, it doesn't necessarily indicate anything racial. You can't exactly lighten your skin naturally, however, it has to be done through artificial means. It's like a sort of reverse blackface.

  10. Sorry, but she was prettier with hers normal color =).

  11. Sorry, but she was prettier with hers normal color =).

  12. Glester Thorpe says:

    You're not crazy. I bet most people including myself agree.

  13. Jacob Mrvl says:

    Lars Flyger no not all tanning is natural,,,matter fact none of it natural,,,,white people can risk getting skin cancer by trying to sit out in the sun trying to get darker,or go to a tan bed,or spray on tan,,,its the same thing as bleaching,,,they are all insecure about there self and there skin,,point blank

  14. Lars Flyger Exposing yourself to the sun isn't the only way people try to tan – far from it. There are tanning salons, sprays, cremes… even lotions these days have darkening chemicals in them.

  15. there is a deep seeded history behind skin lighten. so if you don't know that history it would be hard to understand why this is a deep issue….its so much more than personally choice

  16. this cannot be compared to whites tanning. there s deep history behind skin tone in the black community.

  17. Maanami Pblabel says:

    Major fail

  18. You can go outside and get a tan… It's not the same thing. When we did have a case of a white woman who tanned too much, they sent her to get help.

  19. Peaceful Harmony says:

    Sad part she is so pretty before bleaching and looks a mess after.. Smh…exactly why I teach my children sf love of themselves ancestors and respect for who they where born. God would not make some with better skin, hair etc….I respect all beauty however, beauty has been redefined to fit only some.

  20. Karimah Lawal What's the deep seeded history behind the fact that white people, mostly women risk to get skin cancer too because they want to look darker, as dark as they can (tanning, creams, etc)? If you say there is a "deep seeded history behind skin lighten" then it must be one behind skin darkening too…. and that's based on your judgement and logic…

  21. LET THE FOOL LOSE HER MELANNI, WHO CARES.

  22. Elijah Isaiah says:

    Another lost soul that knows no better.

  23. #teamnobleaching

  24. Rick Dear says:

    I thought she as trying to get rid of a dark spot, this fool did her entire body. what a fine ass idiot!

  25. Wrestling with self hatred !!

  26. Doesn't look like she's putting up much of a fight.

  27. Layla Ana I think there is a slight difference between tanning so you look wealthy (the sociological reason most people tan) and lightening your skin because you get perks if you look more racially ambiguous.

  28. Nataly Del Riego It's better you check some historical facts Nataly :-) White women used to do their best to look as white as possible a few hundred years ago and they used to avoid the sun at all costs and they had lots of lotions and potions to whiten their skin too, that was the standard of beauty for white women many years ago and that's a fact it's not an opinion. On top of that, white people don't tan in order to look wealthier … (!!!!) Where did you find/read this strange "sociological reason" for tanning :-) :-) :-) ? White people don't tan so they look like having more money in their bank accounts, come on, don't be silly. Women tan and they want to look darker so they look sexier particularly when they have to expose their bodies, when they go to the beach, when they wear short skirts or shorts, swimming suits, etc. The belief that they look sexier and healthier is the consequence of reading magazines and being exposed to various ads…So it's all about looking better and healthier ….not wealthier :-) This tanning thing (in white people) and bleaching (in black people) is actually the response to being exposed (for many years) to what the media tells us physical attractiveness represents and in the end people feel it's a personal choice (or at least some people). Go check some reliable sociology and psychology studies/articles and you'll make an idea about this issue.

  29. Person A is white. She is doing X so her skin gets darker. "No one gives a damn".
    Person B is black. She is doing Y so her skin gets lighter. "Protests all over the world against racism and self-hatred".

    Shouldn't "A" actions be qualified as Self-Hatred as well? What about people who do hair implant? Plastic Surgery? Paint their hair? I'm sure out there in the world there is a group of people who consider painting their hair an act of self-hatred. Well, they are sort of right, you know. You were born with that hair color, why would you alter it!

    What I see here is Media/Society double-standards on Racism matter. Racism is horrible. Mistakenly pointing out Racism on anything you don't agree with is much more horrible and makes it even harder to deal with real cases.

  30. Layla Ana says:

    Nikolas Oliveira Well said… Regarding the color women choose to dye their hair, I've read so may hate comments when it's about black women dying their hair blond that I got really fed up and disgusted. Many people claim it's safe hatred or they want to look "like white women" because they hate their blackness. Really? What has dying the hair in various shades to do with race? Those who think this way…just look around and count how many white women dye their hair black! Is it because they want to look like a black lady? Come one…. I am one of those blonde women who dyes her hair black because I feel like it works better with my features… as simple as that… it's not because I hate myself being white.

  31. our skin color being the immutable mark of our Blackness, skin bleaching emerges as the most egregious attack on our identity, skin bleach reflects a desire to “de-Africanize” oneself due to a negative African/Black self-concept and further represents an attempt to emulate Whites. So this is not that same as whites tanning in order to look wealthy or purely for the enhancement of certain features.This is not my 'logic'opinion or judgement this is a result of the long history of colonization of africa…all facts but if you do not know african or african american history i would not expect to know or even understand what im saying. So if you want to continue that skin bleaching is completely personally and has nothing with self hate then go ahead

  32. our skin color being the immutable mark of our Blackness, skin bleaching emerges as the most egregious attack on our identity, skin bleach reflects a desire to “de-Africanize” oneself due to a negative African/Black self-concept and further represents an attempt to emulate Whites. So this is not that same as whites tanning in order to look wealthy or purely for the enhancement of certain features.This is not my 'logic'opinion or judgement this is a result of the long history of colonization of africa…all facts but if you do not know african or african american history i would not expect to know or even understand what im saying. So if you want to continue that skin bleaching is completely personally and has nothing with self hate then go ahead

  33. Layla Ana says:

    Karimah Lawal This is what you and some other people insist on believing and I've never said it's "completely personally" (by the way check the grammar!). I have already said that it's a social construct which affects both black and white people in different ways. When it's about beauty and attractiveness imposed by the media/society some people automatically believe it has something to do with being racist or with racism when it affects the black people. When white people are affected by the same trend…it's not racism. The fact is that nowadays both black and white people and particularly women try to emulate a certain ideal of beauty which has been imposed by the media and which is far from being natural. That is why most women of all colors and races are not happy with the way they look like or if they do they still change many things in their appearance in order to "look better". Almost all women wear make up and some won't leave their homes without wearing it. Today's bleaching skin (which is so controversial) is the equivalent of wearing make-up in public a few centuries ago. The use of make-up was unacceptable during those times and those women wearing make up or lipstick in public were considered prostitutes. The society was blaming them for wearing make-up and for trying to look like "somebody else" while nowadays almost no woman leaves her home without at least some make-up on her face.

  34. Did i mention racism? Did anyone else? Do you know the definition of racism? Do you know any history of the colonization of african people and the racism in america? Can you make a logical connection? If not then there is no need to continue. Yes, when it becomes about black there is no way we can dismiss history of racism and that racism that has manifested into different issues we have today. I have books and articles by scholars that i could send you that can help you make the connection(which you would probably decline). This not just "what people believe". Thats like saying some people "believe" crime and poverty are linked when there is overwhelming evidence that it is. But then again it is all about what you believe. I did enjoy this conversation with you. Have a great one!

  35. Karimah Lawal We are talking about two different things here. I was repeatedly pointing out the influence of the media on all of us, regardless of race or color which is interpreted by many people, including scholars as having something to do with the "history of racism" as you call it. My point was that there is something weird to say a black woman is "de-Africanizing"(like you said) herself when dying her hair blond and claim she's denying her African roots while it's perfectly fine for a white and blonde woman to dye her hair black and never claim she's denying her white roots. The same goes for the skin color….a white woman struggling to look as dark as possible by tanning/creams is perfectly fine, she's not denying her "whiteness" while a black woman trying to make her skin lighter is definitely in denial of her identity and she's de-Africanizing herself. Don't you think it's weird that only one part (the black women) is held responsible for denying the identity while the other part is not? Don't you think you are actually making a statement by always blaming other people for what black women choose to do while they are also under the influence of the media and equally vulnerable to new trends? Look up a few comments and read what Nikolas Oliveira said: When a white person does something nobody gives a damn but when a black person does the same thing, protests all over the world against racism and self-hatred follow. This is very true and it does not only apply to this crazy trend of bleaching the skin. I don't need you to send me all that literature because I also have access to it, this conversation we are having here is actually debated by scholars, there are both supporters and opponents out there discussing this issue. My point is to encourage you to think outside the box and …why not, to also read what other scholars wrote about this topic and to try to dismiss the history of racism (like you said) when analyzing social constructs we, you and I are bombarded with on a daily basis which have a huge influence on our behavior and choices we make in life, regardless of race and color. Just think about what white women struggle to look like, the perfect tall and slim woman, with unrealistic body proportions, that woman who doesn't even exist for real. Was there a race this "ideal woman" belonged to who enslaved the white people and now white women struggle to look like them? The answer is no. That image is a construct built up in time by the media and so many white women struggle t look like that so they have better chances in their private and social lives. The same goes for black women, they found their own ideal and now, just like white women, they go that far with it that they risk their health and endanger their life with all sorts of treatments including this crazy bleaching of the skin.

  36. And this concept of beauty from the media, where does it come from?

  37. Layla Ana says:

    Karimah Lawal Lots to discuss about that too :-) It's also a highly debatable topic and there are several explanations for it. It's interesting though how humanity is changing, a few centuries ago the ideal of beauty for women was to be overweight (Botticelli's women are way overweight by today's standards) and last century, in the 60s and 70s all women wanted to be skinny slim, it was worse than nowadays (for instance one of the beauty ideals was Twiggy and most actresses were starving themselves to death in order to be skinny slim). One way or another these trends affect us all at different levels.

  38. Lissa Montz says:

    Nope, your not crazy-just telling the truth. She looked beautiful before,,it's a terrible shame she let the pressure get to her to not realize that herself.

  39. Lissa Montz says:

    She looked beautiful before,,it's a terrible shame.

  40. Lissa Montz says:

    Lars Flyger Skin can be lightened naturally with lemon/lime juice and certain herbs in soaps, this is more healthy & more so evens skin tone than strip it of it's colorful beauty unlike the harsh bleaching chemicals.

  41. You aren't crazy, She is and was a beautiful woman. It's very upsetting to know that people hate themselves so much that they will change their appearance.

  42. Sheri Yusuf says:

    What fuck is that she looks ugly as hell

  43. Katina Apollonia Kotero says:

    @jason hall I agree…the best was her first pic…second was good third is extreme. Just my personal opinion.

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