Is That The Lighting Or Are You Lightning? Celebs Who Have Been Accused of Bleaching Their Skin

December 7, 2012  |  
10 of 15


Celebrities have all the money and power in the world to change anything about themselves that they please. From hair styles to hair color and their bodies, it’s not uncommon for Hollywood stars to change themselves in some fashion. Another fad within the celebrity circle is skin bleaching and believe it or not, there are black celebs who seem to have hopped on the bandwagon. Here are 14 black celebrities who have admitted to or have been accused of lightening their skin.


Tempestt Bledsoe

Tempestt Bledsoe has been one of the latest celebrities to be accused of skin bleaching. However, it’s been confirmed that she’s in fact suffering from vitiligo, a disease that causes the loss of brown pigment in the skin.



Worldwide known model Iman is definitely beautiful and looks great for her age, but looking at pictures of her when she was younger compared to recent pictures, it looks like her skin has possibly become lighter, but it could just be the lighting.


Lil Kim

Over the years Lil Kim has gone through all sorts of physical changes, including plenty of plastic surgery. Included in these changes seems to be skin bleaching since she’s gotten a lot lighter.



After pictures taken on the red carpet not too long ago, many Hollywood fans began to suspect that Beyonce has started to bleach her skin. There’s been no word from Bey or her publicist on the matter but it seems the lighter her skin and blonde locks get, the more the rumors spread.

Source: GETTY

Vybz Kartel

R&B artist Vybz Kartel is one of very few celebs who admit to skin bleaching. The Jamaican star says that he doesn’t see skin lightening as being any different than tanning or hair straightening and even has his own line of skin lightening soap.


Tamar Braxton

Toni Braxton’s sister Tamar Braxton is no stranger to rumors. In fact, she’s been accused of bleaching her skin and turning into a blonde-haired fair-skinned woman. For the longest, Tamar has simply said that she doesn’t bleach her skin, but she would if she wanted to. But just yesterday she and Vince said that the baby Braxton has vitiligo.


Michael Jackson

MJ was probably one of the first and most widely spoken about celebrities who was accused of skin bleaching. It’s since been confirmed that he in fact suffered from vitiligo.

Source: Getty/WENN

LaToya Jackson

LaToya Jackson, unlike her brother, hasn’t been said to suffer from vitiligo, but her skin is certainly as light as Michael’s. Interestingly, though, it looks like she may have been this light all along.


Diana Ross

Compared to pictures when she first hit the stage, it’s evident that Diana Ross’ skin has become a lot less brown. Nowadays she looks about the same skin-tone as her bi-racial daughter, Tracy. Some blame the skin change on age, others on lighting in certain pictures.


Source: Afripop


African singer Mshoza belongs on the list of celebs who openly admits to bleaching her skin. She claims she just simply wanted to have a lighter skin tone, and that her actions are no worse than black females wearing weave.


Halle Berry

Halle Berry was put into the negative spotlight after appearing on a Harper’s Bazaar cover and looking a lot lighter than usual. Many chuck this one up to over-Photoshopping, but others insist Halle has used skin bleaching products.


Sammy Sosa

In 2009 Sammy Sosa took the spotlight due to his shockingly lighter skin. According to Sammy, at the time he was going through a rejuvenation process for his skin. However, three years later, his skin is just as light. What gives?



The before and after picture says it all. Rihanna has been caught in plenty of controversies and rumors, including the idea that she has possibly lightened her skin. RiRi hasn’t confirmed or denied it.


Keri Hilson

Keri Hilson is another star on the list who has been hit with accusations of using skin lightening creams. She too has not spoken out about these rumors.

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  • Candigal88

    Vanessa from the Cosby show has vitiligo!!

  • januckey

    Lighting has a lot to do with how a person’s skin tone looks. I can take a picture in 3 different lights and have 3 different skin tones. However, some celebs DO opt for lighter skin. It is not at all shocking that Kartel lightened his skin. America is not the only place obsessed with skin color. Jamaicans, Indians (non-native americans), and asians have all long held light skin in high regard and the skin lightening cream business is HUGE in those countries because of it.

  • Marisol

    Tamar is beginning to look like the monster that she really is. Simply pathetic

  • Juci Shockwave

    I had noticed Beyonce is lighter than when she first showed up back in the late 90s. However I have read that people do get lighter as they age. It’s common especially amongst people from the Caribbean islands,. For example, people from Puerto Rico have an inherit gene that is triggered upon reaching a certain age which causes the skin to lighten on its own. I was diagnosed of having this gene due to my skin naturally lightening on its own with each passing year or so. With that said though, Beyonce really shocked me with how white she is in that Colgate Whitening strip commercial. I almost didn’t recognized her. :/ Rihanna is from the Caribbean islands. She may have inherit that skin lightening gene so I’m not going to criticize her. … but Beyonce, I feel pity for her. Even her hair is lightened and textured to be white.

  • Nydie

    All of a sudden everyone has vitiligo but their skin is perfectly even!

  • love my beauitful black women

    This is so sad, as Mr.James Brown said say it loud I’m black and I’m proud what the f*** happened?

  • auj

    I dont think Iman lightens, its the make up she has on. Besides, she has always been super proud of being a Somalian. I saw a recent interview with her and she still looks the same colour she was 10 years ago.

  • Anonymous

    LMAO even niggaz be bleaching

  • PEace out

    lighting and highlighting makeup

  • Mshoza attempted suicide shortly after.

  • gallantgesture

    Long before MJ died I made a $100 bet that his kids were not his biologically and the day he died I called my friend up and told him to get ready to pay up. He asked how I knew, I knew because he did all he could to get away from the reality of himself, therefore, if his kids were biologically his they’d destroy the delusion he created of himself. Him being the family bank made his permeant trip to lala land advantageous for them to keep him there. His physical appearance and his statement that “this is how I evolved as an entertainer” shows his family as a bunch of fakes who made no attempt to bring him back to reality.

  • Manga Khan

    Black is beautiful why change that.

  • i get really dark in the summer. and vice versa in the winter. i think based on the outfit rihanna has on, this is probably whats going on.

  • korean

    they still slaves of white power hahahahahahah

  • Nomthi Ramokgopa

    I’m South African and so is Mshoza (we also come from the same township) and I hav never been more ashamed of my nationality than I am nw

  • stevievi

    I’ve see Halle up close on the beach around 12 years ago. She is very very light, she was tanning and I believe they actually make her darker using makeup, because she has no brown pigment, she most likely tans a lot. Most of these people have not lightened their skin and the picture comparisons are bad.


    I wont try

  • I was like,….”this article is so ridiculous, people don’t bleach their skin!” until I saw the Sammy Sosa photo. LOL guess I was wrong!

  • thattt

    rihanna did contour her nose though..smh

  • neeenee

    I believe it is spelled LIGHTENING. Spell check people

  • FromUR2UB

    Didn’t feel like looking at all the other celebrities, but can guess that some may be lightening, and then others just may have been out of the sun for some time.

  • “No different than wearing weave” Seriously? I’m sure a lot of ppl who wear weave are trying to cover up their natural God-given hair texture, but many ppl wear weave because their hair is in bad condition or it’s hard to maintain. To my knowledge darker skin isn’t higher to maintain than lighter skin. In fact, you’re doing more to maintain skin bleaching than just leaving your skin alone.

  • Belle-Sexie Canuck

    I think that both Bey and Ri bleaches their skin. Even though you are a bit on the lighter side as a black person, certain features remain. I have seen pics where they looked unnaturally off in color. There is no shame in if you do it, own it…

  • I swear people are so silly people like Beyonce & Rihanna the difference is they stopped tanning, sun or spray or they stopped with the bronzer! Look at Beyonce’s mother or Rihanna’s dad to see that they are more than likely light from jump!

  • hillaryb

    this topic is so humiliating and petty. BLACK girls tan and lighten up naturally with the changing of seasons/weather, tanning, with the addition/subtraction of make up. GET over this topic!



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  • mscolumalum

    the girl who said bleaching your skin is like a hair weave made me sad. no, it’s not the same. at all. not even a little.

  • Where is Nicki Minaj in this list???!

  • Rihanna’s skin tone could have gotten lighter from less exposure to sun. And when you move to a colder climate, which has less sun, you lose color because the melanin in your skin isn’t getting as much sun. Also, she’s always been light, I’ve seen her in concert three times. And Keri Hilson looked Tan in the first pic, because she’s always been light.

  • Halle always looked darker rather than lighter to me, like she would go tanning. She never looked bleached out to me. As for the rest it shouldnt be a big deal if they bleach or not, thats there business. I know i lighten out in cold weather and darken in the summer. U cant please everyone I guess.

  • Bella

    I believe Rihanna has lightened her shin. I saw her in the early days when she returned to Barbados and she was an unnatural beige, a colour that seemed unnatural.

  • On_Point

    I thought tamar goes tanning on the weekly basis though….

  • Ms Sheeba

    There is a spelling error on this article’s title. You are referring to a process of LIGHTENING the skin not the lightning that occurs during a thunderstorm.

    Also Mshoza is a SOUTH-AFRICAN singer from the Republic of South Africa. Saying she is an African singer is not specific enough.

  • jackieOsassin

    that “now” picture of diana ross made my entire evening.

  • CurlyBoo

    this post is ridiculous, lol. These people look exactly the same. Bad makeup, lighting, the season, whatever it is. Besides Sammy Sosa (he know he’s dead wrong for that) he looks like a ghost.

  • Ms. Bee

    That first Keri Hilson picture is horrible. But i’m outta here though.

  • C.J.

    On the comparison pics of the one with Lil’ Kim, they should have used one from her Junior Mafia days. Remember back when she had short hair? She was straight up brown-skinned. What is the ‘before’ pic shows her after she already starting getting procedures. She was so cute back in the day.

  • I know this is off topic but I couldn’t let it slide. vybz kartel is NOT a R&B artist… he is so far from being an R&B artist like lil wayne is from being a country singer!

  • shakeria

    note: vybz kartel is a DANCEHALL artiste not r&b singer…#raised eyebrow

  • Not too mention don’t we all get darker in the summer and lighter in the winter. And all these ppl travel so dependent upon where they are their complexion could change. I just don’t want to believe that it so important for women of color to only be light skinned. I don’t think anyone feels they HAVE to be. They are who they are

  • LaToya Jackson looks darker. Maybe she is tanning huh?

  • You can accuse all you like. When these people are in concert, you can see the truth. People accuse Bey all the time, but in her concerts she looks like her normal self. You can’t blame her, for people photo-shopping her image.

  • Sharon1

    Doesn’t bleaching eventually cause harm to skin?

    • Cleo

      I think so, there are harmful chemicals involved with bleaching

    • Jason H

      It gives you skin cancer since your skin cant protect your from the sun. Just like albino people.

  • lisa

    rihanna looks the same…if she’d lightened her skin it wouldn’t be far off her normally complexion…the light in most of her pics are very light

  • kim

    madam noir i know you’re big fan beyonce but she should have been first one on the list to be fair. it’s evident that she did lighten her skin and the camera light has nothing to do with it. look at all her photos from 1998 to now, there’s a major difference

  • dalia

    For some of these stars lighting and make up has a lot to do with the skin tone change in pictures. Also depending where live climate has a lot to do with it too. I am from Texas and my hubby used to be so dark but once we moved to Washington state he became lighter.

  • Why did those pictures of Michael Jackson make me laugh out loud! I feel so bad for that. LOLOLOL.

  • eye

    why does Tamara Braxton always have this surprised cross eyed goat look? Since when plastic doll is a pretty look and why are we taking it with a smile?

  • eye

    why does Tamara Braxton always have this surprised cross eyed goat look? Since when plastic doll is a pretty look and why are we taking it with a smile?

  • Desiao

    Interesting how more than 3 of these celebs resorted to the “I have vitiligo” cover up for their skin lightnening. MJ said it first apparently but it looks like others used it as well since it seemed to have worked.

  • nika

    OMG, this is a waste of space! Most of these people have bad makeup jobs, bad lighting, were tanned before or all three. I’m gonna have to unsub from Madamenoire because some of the pieces are great and other pieces are so random and ridiculous.

    • Especially Tempestt Bledsoe. Her makeup before looked too dark, and the makeup after was too light. You can tell she isn’t bleaching by looking at her chest area and her arms. They are still brown. I’ll never understand why we always have to accuse our own of hating themselves because of what they do to look good. While i think Sammy Sosa looks kind of ridiculous, I seriously doubt he hates himself. And I am not looking at his love or hatred for his dark skin to validate me, or make me feel good about myself.

      • Elayne

        Right, this article is downright offensive. Like, who cares? But there’s nothing wrong with people baking in tanning beds and rocking unnatural shades of orange. I just find the premise to be in bad taste, it’s like skin shaming.

  • Caribe

    anyone with a head full of chemically straighten hair need not say diddly squat about skin bleaching. Vybz Kartel has a point….but P.S Vybz is a Dancehall artist, not R&B.

    • kapish

      Anyone with a natural head of hair please stay away from makeup, deodorant, perfume, toothpaste, processed foods, bottled water, the works its not NATURAL!!!!

  • Emmeaki

    A lot of this just looks like bad lighting and/or bad makeup.

  • DTJ

    I’ve always noticed that I tan in the summer ghen lighten in the winter. Last winter I was in Korea so the climate was much different than Illinois cold. Came home to visit in the summer and the 1st thing my stepmom said was “you need to lay out in the sun!” I was much lighter and my legs were almost yellow. So when I took my mom to the Bahamas for her birthday I tanned and my mom laughed. Now I’m in Italy and its gettin cold. I can already see my skin getting lighter smh the moral of the story: weather plays a big part. This is real

    • chanela

      dang woman! i would LOVE to travel that much! i hope you’re having fun!

      • DTJ

        Lol I am actually. The best time of my life. Thank you

  • BAP

    keri is the same shade of brown she been,halle loves the 50% of black she is,thats just bad lighting and photoshop,but rihanna i’d believe,it’s not terribly noticeable yet,but them island ppl hate dark skin

  • Jade

    um could vybz have lighten those lips too, because he looks like he’s been smoking ump-teen blunts?

  • pickneychile

    To be honest, I was a decent amount darker years ago than I am now..probably because I live in a colder climate now and I don’t go to the beach all the time like I used to. But smh at Sammy Sosa, lil Kim (of course), n the African gyal nuh look right! Kartel is a mess too of course with his cake soap self. The other people don’t necessarily look that much different honestly.

  • JustSayin

    I think most of these people wore heavier amounts of bronzer or tanned in the beginning… But a majority could be lighting and how the photo was taken. That’s all.

  • AJ389

    I just think its so sad how the naturally dark & tan want & strive to be lighter and the naturally light or white strive to be tanner or darker. Laying in tanning beds for hours and wearing tan lotion. Will any of “us” ever appreciate what we’ve been given?

  • Anon

    Ummm, lightskin people (as well as all other people) do tan you know. I send the summer an entirely different shade….Just pointing out the obvious….

    • mac

      light SKINNED. The word is SKINNED. I’m sick of seeing this grammar error everywhere.

      Sorry, carry on.

      • Sighing Deeply

        If that’s really how you feel; how about a polite letter to the author of this Farticle, already! She seems to have intended to say “lightening”, instead of referring to a weather-based indication of pending inclement weather. Sheesh!

      • chanela

        right! it’s even worse when in person people say ” light skin ded”

    • get real

      Blk people with mental issues tan. I don’t know a single blk person that tans. That’s white folk shi*.

      • marie

        how do you figure? Is it so bad that a black person could possibly want a deeper skin tone? Or you do you believe “light is right’? Most of my black friends lay out in the sun from time to time. I don’t mind getting a tan in the summer because my skin tone washes out in the winter.
        Also, you’re obviously a troll so I don’t know why I responded…

      • YouMustBeRelatedToTheAuthor

        You’ve probably never left your home city either. Broaden your perspective, ya simple-speakin Broad!

      • Nikki

        Well you obviously have a small circle of friends. I, for one, will notice a color difference if I take my dog for a walk, and if I go to beach/hang by the pool I will easily get sunburnt if I don’t wear sunscreen.

      • when you spend your summers at the pool or on the beach, you’re gonna tan whether you want to or not. it’s not a mental illness to get darker in the sun. wth?

      • firefly993

        not true, my husband definitely tans. when he takes of his wristwatch you can definitely see the difference

    • get real

      Blk people with mental issues tan. I don’t know a single blk person that tans. That’s white folk shi*.

  • jferthefab

    vybz kartal looks like walking std…no bueno

    • Suchalady

      Sure does…and R&B singer MN? Seriously?!

  • BeautifulBlackWoman

    Ironically….they all looked better before they lightened their skin.

  • Jaiah Jaxon

    Air brushing and tanning contribute to some of those before pictures. Yes, some black people do tan.

  • Tishy

    Rihanna’s could probably be dud to the move from Barbados. Winter lightens skin no?

    • Cleo

      That’s what was I thinking she went from the sunny islands to America it’s a huge climate shift

      • That is true. I am from the south and have always been brownskinned, but when we moved to Tacoma, Wa (a cold climate) I looked lighter for some reason. We got stationed down here in GA and my skin went back to deep brown again.

        • speakthetuth

          Have you ever heard of Sun rays ?? Most people darken up in the summer from the sun !! Do your read at all ?

          • Do you? I was agreeing with Cleo when she said it was due to a change in climate. Read the whole thing before you try and insult someone.

    • jay

      rihanna’s skin color is not a skin color that can be change from dark to light cuz of cold weather i know her skin type and its not like that

      • IllyPhilly

        Plus one. It doesn’t do a whole body change. I’ve been to Iraq and back and pretty much maintained the same cinnamon tone.

      • IllyPhilly

        Plus one. It doesn’t do a whole body change. I’ve been to Iraq and back and pretty much maintained the same cinnamon tone.

      • IllyPhilly

        Plus one. It doesn’t do a whole body change. I’ve been to Iraq and back and pretty much maintained the same cinnamon tone.

      • IllyPhilly

        Plus one. It doesn’t do a whole body change. I’ve been to Iraq and back and pretty much maintained the same cinnamon tone.

  • unrequitedlove

    MsShoza went from a cute brown skin girl to Tiny Harris eek o_0

    • shenai

      all tha Acquas and bleach is backfiring on her now she’s cracky like grandma from the sun, can’t go out in the sun for a minute or she will suffer…. poor that use to be beautiful.

    • Diamondz

      Yeah that one is really sad. She was very pretty before (don’t know who she is but from the pic). She looks….not so cute in the lighter pic.

  • unrequitedlove

    MsShoza went from a cute brown skin girl to looking like Tiny.Vybz Cartel with his Night of the living Jamaican look @$$………The world is going crazy

  • kickash

    im surprised nicki minaj isn’t on this list. i don’t know if she has bleached her skin or not, nor do i care but i would have put her on this list before rihanna or diana ross

  • Make up and the bright lights from the flash, I’m sure, can make a difference as well! & I believe Vybz Kartel is still locked up for murder, so I don’t know how much profit he’s actually getting off his product!

  • Tamar is a cute girl but those cheek bones throw me off a bit.


    I believe it’s bleaching. Like you would expect them to admit they bleach. These deluded stans are like the police; they can have all the evidence yet they looking for a confession….lol

    • chanela

      well 99% of black women in hollywood get a nose job and none of them ever mention it except for trandy williams

      • Andrani

        not just the black ones and not just the women

  • Rihanna looks the exact same color

    • BA

      Keri Hilson also looks the exact same color. smh

      • She does I guess all light skin people are bleaching -_-

      • MLS2698

        But that pic on the left has her looking like a black ” Pippy Longstocking.”

    • Andrani

      she looks the same color wise but its amazing how makeup transforms. she looks like a different person now. her nose and jaw structure look different.

  • Cleo

    Hmmm this list sad I truly don’t get why folks want to be lighter but whatever, I do kinda believe Beyonce did tho she seems like the type to be easily influenced