Nivea's Latest Ad Encourages Black Women to Lighten Their Skin

Nivea cream ad for 'visibly lighter skin' sparks outrage

On Wednesday, social media users all over the globe blasted a series of billboards and television commercials for Nivea's new Natural Fairness moisturizer, marketed to women living in Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon and Senegal, The Sun reported.

Nivea, a personal care brand known for its skin- and body-care products, is now facing an onslaught of criticism for a skin-lightening product it launched in Africa, which, allegedly, specifically targets black women.

The "Natural Fairness Lotion" ad tells Black women that their product can help "restore her skin to its natural fairness".

Many have taken to social media to vocalize their outrage, including transgender model and activist Munroe Bergdorf.

In the ad, it's clear that because the model's skin is "fairer", she is perceived more attractive.

Folks also pointed out that this is a complicated issue.

Since it's appearance in several African countries, Nivea has been slammed on social media and accused of racism, with some calling for a boycott.

Nivea has had their fair share of problematic advertising.

Nivea issued a statement on Facebook on October 18 saying the "campaign is in no way meant to demean or glorify any person's needs or preferences in skin care". This time, Nivea is back in the hot seat after apologizing for a "white is purity" ad earlier this year. The embarrassment from that incident seemed short lived as Nivea once again released a racially insensitive advertisement.

Nivea might have pulled the "white is purity" ad, but that hasn't stopped it from advertising the benefits of whiter skin. When beauty companies continue to sell whitening or bleaching products in places like Africa, India, the Middle East, and Latin America, women and men are being told their skin is not acceptable or lovely.

The problem with skin lightening products is not only the damage they can cause skin and internal organs, but the reification of white beauty ideals that have been around since colonization.

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