February 19, 2018

Nigerian Model in 'Racist' Dove Ad Defends Campaign

11 October 2017, 02:29 | Israel Caldwell

The model in the controversial Dove ad speaks out: “I am not just some silent victim”

Dove has removed a recent ad showing a black woman removing her shirt to reveal a white woman. The ad has caused an uproar on social media

The black woman at the center of this ad - and controversy - is now speaking out.

Now, though, she says she has become the top Google Image result for "racist ad".

The Facebook version of the ad featured three models.

But as is the case with many of these social media and advertising fiascos, the pallid apologies make a awful situation far worse.

Ogunyemi closed her essay acknowledging how the ad may have been misinterpreted on the basis of backlash Dove has experienced in the past, critiquing them for a lack of context when releasing the campaign, but she still believes that the brand should have defended their vision and their inclusion of her in the ad: "I am not just some silent victim of a mistaken beauty campaign".

When Dove asked Lola Ogunyemi to be in a new soap campaign, she viewed it as an opportunity to represent her "dark-skinned sisters" and "remind the world that we are here, we are attractive, and more importantly, we are valued", she wrote in a commentary for the Guardian.

The video ad depicted the black woman taking off her T-shirt and revealing an inner white woman after the T-shirt is fully off.

"If I even had 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".

Read the full opinion piece HERE.

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Dove removed the clip and apologized, saying on Twitter that the post had "missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully".

The black woman who starred in a controversial Dove ad which prompted thousands of complaints has spoken out on the matter, denying that the commercial is racist.

She further explained why she jumped at Dove's offer to be the face of their new body wash campaign. She understands how people have seen the ad.

Many Facebook and Twitter users said the clip signaled that white people were cleaner or more handsome than black people and likened it to 19th century soap adverts that showed black people scrubbing themselves to become white.

"I was proud", she continues.

Though Ogunyemi believes that the public's initial outrage was justified, and feels that advertisers need to look beyond the surface and consider the impact of an ad's imagery, especially when it comes to marginalized groups of women, she also feels like a lot of the story was left out.

But that being said, Ogunyemi still believes in Dove's concept, and wishes that the company would have fought back against these racist claims, and also highlighted Ogunyemi's participation.

Ogunyemi said the full 30-second television commercial, featuring seven models answering the question "If your skin were a wash label, what would it say?", "does a much better job of making the campaign's message loud and clear".

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