Days after Dove apologised for an advertisement deemed racist by netizens, the black model featured in it has spoken out, addressing the outrage. In a strongly-worded op-ed for The Guardian, Lola Ogunyemi admits while she can see how screenshots of the ad going viral may have been "misinterpreted," the images were taken out of context.
A three-second video clip appeared on Dove USA's official Facebook page that showed a black woman removing her nude-coloured t-shirt to reveal a white woman. The white woman then took her top off to reveal an Asian woman. However, screenshots of the ad that went viral omitted the third woman. The images were interpreted by many as perpetuating the stereotype that black was "dirty" and white was "pure."
Dove issued a sheepish apology after netizens dubbed the ad insensitive and the hashtag #BoycottDove started trending. In a statement, Dove said it had "missed the mark in representing women of colour thoughtfully" and regretted any offence caused.
"From a very young age, I've been told, "You're so pretty ... for a dark-skinned girl." I am a Nigerian woman, born in London and raised in Atlanta," Ms Ogunyemi wrote in the article. "I've grown up very aware of society's opinion that dark-skinned people, especially women, would look better if our skin were lighter."
That's why when Dove offered her the opportunity to be one of faces in a new body wash ad campaign, she readily accepted.
"Having the opportunity to represent my dark-skinned sisters in a global beauty brand felt like the perfect way for me to remind the world that we are here, we are beautiful, and more importantly, we are valued," Ms Ogunyemi wrote.
In fact, Ms Ogunyemi said the complete 30-second version of the ad - which was released only in the United States - actually celebrated diversity.
"While I agree with Dove's response to unequivocally apologise for any offense caused, they could have also defended their creative vision, and their choice to include me, an unequivocally dark-skinned black woman, as a face of their campaign," the model concluded her op-ed. "I am not just some silent victim of a mistaken beauty campaign. I am strong, I am beautiful, and I will not be erased."Click for more trending news