A South African rapper has become the new face of a skin-bleaching product that aims to lighten dark-skinned people so they can ostensibly move up economic and social ladders.
During a Nov. 29 Channel 4 News profile, rapper Mshoza talked about her struggles having dark skin in a society that does not value it. She claims her dark skin has been a hindrance, especially when it comes to finding employment.
“People saying, ‘When you’re dark-skinned, you can’t find a job,'” she says. “I’ve been through that. I’ve experienced that.”
Her statements come at a time when sales of skin-bleaching products are going up.
Mshoza has become a national treasure for her rap music, but she is increasingly becoming more of a mascot for bleaching. Now, she routinely uses a bleaching cream that may contain a banned, harmful chemical called hydroquinone that can cause serious health issues for users, Channel 4 News reported.
When asked about the increase in sales, the rapper was nonchalant and unconcerned, claiming that there was nothing she could do to stop South Africans from using the products.
“I can’t stop them from doing it, it’s happened already,” she says. “They are doing it [and] they are using products.”
Even the rapper’s makeup artist sees the benefits of skin bleaching. She told the reporter that people tend to notice light- and fair-skinned people. And these people are more likely to be employed.
“It will never come to end as long as white is labeled as the perfect race,” the makeup artist says. “It will never come to an end.”
However, there is a push back coming from Black activists who have denounced the bleaching movement.
Beauty activist Mathahle Stofile told Channel 4 during a photo shoot that there is a constant fight to normalize natural Black beauty. “We are trying to normalize this sort of beauty. That you can be that dark-skinned and still be in the context of a beauty shoot,” Stofile says.
She added that Black South African women have been told they are not attractive for far too long. They were told their skin was too dark or their hair was not straight enough.
“How crazy it is that we live in a world where your life can be easier based just on how you look?” Stofile asks.
Since the report, Mshoza has ceased using the product after finding out that hydroquinone was an ingredient. However, she has introduced her own line of skin-lightening products.