In the last few days, a shit storm has surged around the Dove company, after stills of its new ad campaign seemed to show a black woman turning white as the objective of its new body wash. Unfortunately, soon after the ad debuted, Ogunyemi discovered she "had become the unwitting poster child for racist advertising".
Ogunyemi added that having this opportunity given by this internationally-acclaimed brand "felt like the flawless moment for" her "to remind the world" that her race is handsome and "valued".
A Dove ad on Facebook showed women of different ethnicities morphing into each other.
Ogunyemi touched on her background as a Nigerian woman who often felt the brunt of those backhanded "you're pretty for a dark-skinned girl" comments, so when she was offered the opportunity to be featured in an ad for a major skincare brand like Dove, she was super excited.
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In the screenshot, a smiling black woman in a brown top removes her shirt and magically transforms into a redheaded white woman with fair skin.
"If I had even the slightest inclination that I would be portrayed as inferior, or as the "before" in a before and after shot, I would have been the first to say an emphatic 'no, '" Ogunyemi said. Dove's intention may not have been to carry on the tradition of racist soap ads, but this is the likely result when companies want to practice diversity but fail at inclusion.
The ad came to the attention of social media when popular makeup artist Naythemua quickly turned to Facebook and asked her followers about the message.
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This model also said that she is aware of the society's perspective upon "dark-skinned people, especially women".
"However, the experience I had with the Dove team was positive", she continued.
The snapshots circulating on the web have been misinterpreted, she said, which she understands as Dove had been criticized for the same issue once before.
"There is a lack of trust here, and I feel the public was justified in their initial outrage", she wrote. "The narrative has been written without giving consumers context on which to base an informed opinion". "I am strong, I am lovely, and I will not be erased".
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Ogunyemi ends by saying that she thinks that the company was right to apologize but should have defended its creative vision, including "their choice to include me, an unequivocally dark-skinned black woman, as a face of their campaign".