I am light skinned (have a light complexion). I am okay with my complexion without any special reasons why beside loving myself for who I am—for what God created me to look like. In short am comfortable in my own skin. I don’t want to get any lighter and first thing I will look out for is ‘does this product have a lightening effect on my skin, no matter how small’.

You will hear many praise the African quality of ‘black skin’ but don’t be surprised if nearly 90% of Black women want beauty products that offer them even a little bit of bleach, fairer skin tones, lighter complexions(and oh, there are many men on the bleaching trail too). Now I find this absurd. But what I think is even more ridiculous is when a few adverts for beauty creams that can make your skin fairer and lighter are done by very-white-skinned ladies from Asia, Europe and America to attract pale-skinned consumers to buy the product. Am I the only one bothered by this? It’s quite disturbing trying to make sense of why a white person would want to be ‘whiter’ and it’s pathetic when many Africans risk exposing themselves to certain cancers, skin problems, and ridiculous skin-tone-changes (the famous coca cola look of lighter face and a darker shade for the rest of the body). Forget the adverts promising you those blackish signs on your knuckles, elbows, knees and toes will be bleached as well. For some weird reason these parts seem to be the most stubborn when it comes to such beauty products. Bleached skin does not hide—ever.

One other thing about this bleached skin that confuses me is when the average African talks of how whites are unnecessary given undeserved attention and priority just because of their ‘colour’. Interestingly, I have noticed we lighter-skin-toned Africans are commonly treated with a certain kind of special attention by the same darker-skin-toned Africans. Doesn’t this sound hypocritical?

If I need something at the shop and there is another person but with a darker complexion—they might choose to attend to me first or if they attend to me last they will do it with more attention and a bigger smile on their faces. So who is fooling who? Does the average darker-skin-tonned African really and sincerely love the natural dark complexion and genuinely dislike being ‘lighter-skinned’? Who is fooling who?

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