Comment by Chinazor Africa: where black is still beautiful – contrary to a BBC new report of January 2013 headlined “Africa: where black is still not beautiful”

Contrary to a BBC new report of January 2013 headlined “Africa: where black is still not beautiful”

There is upsurge in skin-bleaching by African women who want to look white, which they believe is the standard of beauty. According to United Nations published reports Nigerian women leads the rest of Africa by using 77% of of the bleaching products. That number is not surprising considering the population of Nigeria (180 million), which dwarfs that of the other countries in Africa. It is not news to Africans that African women bleach their skins to look white. They blame it on the vestiges of colonial mentality – anything white is better than anything black. Meanwhile, African women blame their desire to resemble white women on the desire of African men who crave light skin over dark skin. However, what made the BBC news coverage on that subject in January 2013 worrisome for some wasn’t the subject of skin-bleaching. It was the headline of the report – AFRICA: WHERE BLACK IS NOT REALLY BEAUTIFUL.

That headline was what I took umbrage with. My first reaction was to write the reporter of the news story and whine about it. But as a journalist myself, I knew the reporter would be delighted to get such a reaction to his report. So I did what any journalist would do. Revisit the story, albeit, three years later.

The Plan

Skin bleaching is still a problem in Africa even after the BBC News report in 2013. I wasn’t going to pass judgment on women who bleach their skin because in my opinion, it is no different from women who add extension to their hair to make it longer, or women who go under the knife to cut out excess fat or make their boobs bigger. Most of these procedures can have medical negative impact and even psychological impact on the women. But I could show African women that black is still very beautiful. So I set out to kill two birds with one stone- on one hand reveal the racist undertone of the BBC News report headline and at the same time showcase the beauty of dark skinned African women from all works of life: Models, scholars, working moms, stay at home moms, and from different parts of the world – Nigeria, France and the USA.

But first I had to find a dark skin beautiful African woman willing to pose nude for all to see every inch of her dark naked body; not any dark skin woman. I laid the criteria she had to meet to qualify to be used in the story.”

The criteria:

  1. Must be a real person willing to use her real name.
  2. Must be no less than 21 years old.
  3. Must be educated beyond high school level.
  4. Must not have been in a porn movie or strip dancer.
  5. Must not have been a prostitute.
  6. Must have no tattoos, piercings or bleached her skin.
  7. Must have no hair weave or chemical perm in her hair.
  8. Must be no less than 5 feet and 9 inches tall.
  9. Must sign a release for her photos or video to be published.
  10. Must believe in the purpose of the campaign.

The first segment involving a model willing to pose nude was shot in Nigeria on the Lekki Peninsula Beach in Lagos. I am now in Washington DC., auditioning for moms and scholars to feature in the documentary.


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