Dove Soap recently released a commercial that quickly got banned due to its controversial content. The commercial itself features several models of different skin colors, who remove their clothing to reveal a different colored person underneath.
Now, the black model featured in this ad has taken to The Guardian to speak out about her placement in the advertisement. Lola Ogunyemi, a Nigerian model, speaks about how thrilled she was to be in this Dove commercial. She goes on to express how everyone involved was excited about the concept and understood the meaning behind the concept.
Ogunyemi stated: “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.”
The ad, however, did not have the same response with viewers, who saw the placement. The ad was met with confusion, accusations of racism, and discrimination. Lola remarked that,
“If I had even the slightest inclination that I would be portrayed as inferior, or as the “before” in a before and after shot, I would have been the first to say an emphatic “no”. I would have (un)happily walked right off set and out of the door. That is something that goes against everything I stand for. However, the experience I had with the Dove team was positive. I had an amazing time on set. All of the women in the shoot understood the concept and overarching objective – to use our differences to highlight the fact that all skin deserves gentleness.”
Dove issued a statement on their Facebook account, reaffirming that they believe they got the concept wrong, and by no means endorse racism or discrimination in any way.
The concept behind the video was to express that Dove soap is for every type of skin. In her final remarks to The Guardian, Ogunyemi stated: “While I agree with Dove’s response to unequivocally apologize 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. I am not just some silent victim of a mistaken beauty campaign. I am strong, I am beautiful, and I will not be erased.”
There is no doubt that there were at least positive intentions behind the ad, but the commercial itself will remain removed from Dove’s account.
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