The product “Whitenicious” sounds like a defunct Blaxploitiation movie to me, but in reality, it’s a pretty popular skin lightening cream that according to reports, sold out within a day. A part of its success might also have a lot to do with the fact that it’s an extremely controversial product, and peddled by a famous singer who is catching major heat for endorsing it.
Dencia, a Cameroonian singer (who allegedly also reps Nigeria), is the face behind the product. She has done a lot of promotional photo shoots in damn near nothing at all in an effort to get people to try the product, and in every photo, her Nicki Minaj-esque body is covered by Casper the Friendly Ghost skin. Here’s what “Whitenicious” (with prices ranging from $50 to $150 based on the size) is supposed to do for you according to her official press release, courtesy of Bella Naija:
“Whitenicious by Dencia” for dark spots which clears dark spots caused by anything from acne, wounds, hyper-pigmentation bruises etc… on any part of the body. It works on all skin types including sensitive skin and “Whitenicious by Dencia” for dark knuckles, knees and elbows. A lot of people suffer from hyper-pigmentation on these areas and this product clears up the pigmentation to match the rest of your skin. It can be used on all skin types and everyone from white to black.
You know, clearing up dark marks and scars is one thing (I think we all have some spots here and there we aren’t always so fond of), but trying to wash out your black skin to look like you’re the black bleached white Barbie is something else. And that’s what I’m getting from these “Whitenicious by Dencia” ads. Seriously, the singer appears about five shades lighter than she actually is in the ads (see pic above), often wearing huge curly wigs and bright green contacts. Whether she intended to or not, by having her skin totally morphed by the product or by simple Photoshop, she’s giving people the impression that white skin is preferred, and that “Whitenicious” is going to give folks that bright ivory look she has in these pictures. Considering that the product sold out in a day, it seems that that’s what people want. How heartbreaking.
However, there are people who have verbally slammed Dencia for her product, and many have done so on social media and sites promoting “Whitenicious”:
“you suck. this product sucks and unless its for discoloration due to medical issues…ALL OF YOU are only perpetuating the self hate so many blacks have and deepening wounds. Congrats #Aholes”
“Dencia’s bleached skin, surgically enhanced assets and photoshopped image is everything women should aspire to be. The name whitenicious? Genius. She ain’t subtle is she?”
“I have never understood our infatuation with bleaching away our natural skin colors besides being a major case of inferiority complex, sure you may look lighter on the outside but on the inside you are still who you are….”
Even crazy Kola Boof has lashed out at Dencia on Twitter, picking a Twitter fight with her about the product and getting some nasty digs in:
“Dencia used to be a dark luciously beautiful Black African Queen. But now she’s an imitation White woman. A bleached SCAB”
“You selling that Whitelicious s**t to African children. That makes you proud? You selling your soul. @IamDencia“
But Dencia has found a way to take all of this criticism in stride, wiping her tears away with money. She says all of it has helped the product be such a major success so fast, that she even wants people in the States to try it:
“Damn I need to send media takeout a check .. Sales Up 1,000%! all Americans .. Can’t wait 4 u ladies & Gents 2 say Goodbye 2 Dark spots.”
“S/0 to everyone supporting whitenicious & s/0 to those indirectly supporting but thinking they’re hating with PHD worthy Essays. #FreePress”
“@toyeenb na I ain’t replying lol I’ll come back when I need more free publicity,had enough. sales skyrocketing while they Rant. #Biz101”
According to the World Health Organization, about 77 percent of Nigerian women regularly use skin lightening products, and with famous people who should know better pushing such foolishness, I can see why the numbers might be so high. Do what you want to yourself, but don’t peddle that s**t to your people and try to pretend like it’s solely for cleaning up spots here and there when people’s body parts are turning a completely different color (see below). It’s 2014, when will we stop with this?
Check out Dencia in action: