Nivea faces backlash for racist ad for 'lighter skin'

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We have recently noted concerns on social media by some consumers regarding our NIVEA Natural Fairness Body Lotion communication in Ghana.

The image, which features Miss Nigeria, Omowunmi Akinnifesi, reads, "For visibly fairer skin", thus implying that darker skin is not desired or seen as attractive.

The campaign and the cream have caused outrage since their debuts, prompting a #TakeItDown campaign on social media.

Sharing a clip of it online, he wrote: "This is why black businesses need to rise up and cater for our needs".

She can then be seen applying the lotion all over her body which literally changes her dark skin tone to a much lighter (and unnatural) complexion.

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Others have pointed out that if the demand was not there for skin-lightening products, Nivea would not be selling them.

About 75 per cent of women in Nigeria use skin-lightening products, with demand also high in Ghana, Senegal and Kenya, a report by the University of Cape Town said a year ago. "Every African everywhere should stop buying any Nivea product". It advertises a "lightening" cream for "visibly fairer skin".

Nivea also 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". "All black skin is attractive, no exceptions, so celebrate us as we are instead of asking us to adhere to unattainable and racist ideals". The ad was pulled but that clearly has not stopped the brand from advertising the benefits of whiter skin and attempting to white wash coloured markets. "Who told Nivea black women asked for fairer skin?"

The furore comes months after Nivea apologised over adverts for a deodorant in the Middle East which featured the tagline "White is Purity".