Realty is distorted depending on point of view, but we learn though experience that we must read between the lines to see the true person. Unfortunately for Dove soap, it took little thought to see the message in one of their recent ads that for most, was clearer than the preferred flying skies of the gracious bird their brand represents.
The Dove soap brand released an ad last month online to promote their “real” beauty campaign, a harmless headliner at first read, but the problem with the ad that sent so many of its consumers into an uproar, was the racial stigma it represented. The ad featured British-Nigerian model, Lola Ogunyemi, lifting up her shirt after using Doves product and removing her shirt, or “mask” to reveal a Caucasian woman underneath.
Dove callously responded by saying “We missed the mark representing black woman,” a politically correct statement that as insensitive as it was, you would expect from a first-time public relations nightmare, but not from a repeat offender.
In 2011, Dove was also ridiculed for an ad promoting their “visible care” body wash that featured a backdrop with the words “before” and “after” with an African American woman on the before side, and a Caucasian woman on the after side.
Racial connotations have been epidemic in soap ads for years, fueled by the ridiculous notion that black represents dirty. In Milwaukee, as well as cities around the world, I have witnessed first hand girls have being told that the darker your skin, the less attractive you are.
Tupac Shakur, may he rest in peace, said it best when he said, “The darker the flesh, then the deeper the roots,” because all black is beautiful and meaningful.
“It did not offend me,” said a 29-year-old woman from Milwaukee. “I will continue to use it.”
Others voiced their strong displeasure with the brand with words like “stay woke” a 31-year-old Milwaukeean said, “They have been doing this for a while.” Indeed, they have.
With the country being in the state it is right now, in regard to racial injustices, one would imagine that conglomerates like Dove would be more careful with what they put out on mainstream media.
Instead, they are making it harder for parents who have to not only worried about their kid’s safety at traffic stops, buying new clothes and shoes, but also the internal racism that is being developed by kids as a result of ads such as these.
We must remind our children that they are beautiful no matter the shade of their skin and no “mask” is ever needed to make that so.
To Dove, and like-minded brands who are more concerned with “chasing a check” rather than racial sensitivity? Your days are numbered.
Written By: Joshua Thomas