I know…not this again. But while I was checking one of my favorite sites about African music and culture, AfriPop magazine, I ran across a story about South African singer Nomasonto Mnisi, or as she’s most commonly known, Mshoza.
If you aren’t familiar with Mshoza, this is probably not the best introduction. However, she’s one of the most popular Kwaito artists on the scene, and like any good artist, she likes to push the envelope.
Apparently, Mshoza has a penchant for cosmetic procedures, and after augmenting her breasts, getting a nose job, and having liposuction, Mshoza is taking her quest for perfection to another level: Skin bleaching.
Recently, Mshoza sat down with Motswako, a popular South African talk show. During the interview she talked openly about why she decided to bleach her skin and get “Christina Aguilera white.”
This week [Mshoza] appeared on the popular South African talk show Motswako to declare her “passion to be white.” The horrified interviewer, Penny Lebyane, later said “Yes I was angry, Yes I took it personal! Yes I even wanted to shake her so I can get her to realize what she’s doing to herself!”
Apparently, many of our South African brothers and sisters are comparing Mshoza to Michael Jackson. However, unlike Mike who never mentioned wanting to be white or bleaching his skin, Mshoza is open about her desire to be white.
Mshoza’s declaration goes one better than the king of pop ever did – she admits she wants to look more white. To her whiteness is something she intrinsically believes will make her happy. Is she really to blame? Or is it the society we live in? As one smart person put it: “our femininity and aesthetic, particularly as Black womyn is a highly politicised space…”
Skin lightening is big business. From China to Jamaica, and India to the U.S., men and women all over the globe are bleaching, and in many cases scaring, their skin in a quest to be lighter. Although some like to brush this off as yet another cosmetic procedure, it’s hard to overlook the social cues that tell people of color that white is right. And white skin is more beautiful than other colors of the rainbow.
While many of us have successfully escaped this tragic line of thinking, others are buying into it and passing on the myth that White skin is better than all others.