I don’t know whether to laugh at Dencia’s ignorance, or shake my head that she is only one of the many people who feel like white skin is more beautiful than the rest. But yesterday, the Cameroonian singer sat down with Britain’s Channel 4 to discuss whether or not her skin-lightening product Whitenicious reinforces the divisive notions of colorism in the global Black community.
Channel 4’s Jackie Long began the interview by asking Dencia if she felt that looking whiter meant looking better, pointing out the singer’s own dramatic transformation. As she’s done in the past, Dencia asserted her products are not meant to bleach a person’s entire body, but instead target dark spots.
“Whitenicious is a dark spot remover, it’s a 30ml product,” she told Long. “It’s for everybody. Everybody needs Whitenicious.”
When asked if the name of the product hinted at a deeper meaning about white skin being the ideal, Dencia explained that in her opinion “white means pure” because “a lot of people don’t feel clean with dark spots.”
Long countered Dencia’s claim, telling the singer, “You’ve said goodbye to more than just dark spots. You’re much, much lighter.”
Despite the fact that she used a bleached-out version of her own lightened skin in the advertisements for Whitenicious, Dencia continued to argue the product handles both dark spots and hyper-pigmentation, but those who claim she’s advocating skin-lightening need better reading comprehension skills.
Phinnah Ikeji, founder of Black Role Models UK, tried to get Dencia to see the damaging message Whitenicious sends to young Black people, particularly young girls.
“For young girls…they see you, they love your music, they love you as a person. They’ve seen that you were darker before and now you’re much lighter. What’s the message going to be to them?”
Dencia brushed off Ikeji’s concerns that her product may lead to low self-esteem, saying, “I have girls calling me and thanking me for Whitenicious.”
In the end, Dencia gave a fiery rebuttal to her critics and refused to acknowledge that her image and products send the wrong message about skin color and beauty to the world.