A Nigerian and Cameroonian pop star who launched a skin cream called Whitenicious has defended her product after critics labeled her an ‘abomination’ for promoting skin-bleaching.
In an interview with EBONY, Dencia claims that the skincare cream is intended to remove dark spots, and that it is out of her control if customers use it to whiten their entire skin.
However, looking at the promo images we see that the dark spots she’s referring to are obviously covering the entirety of her skin.
She defends her altered appearance by claiming: ‘I was never that dark in real life… And guess what? I don’t even care because [critics] are bringing me business.’
Check out a few excerpts from the interview:
EBONY: Is dark skin an obstacle?
Dencia: No. Dark skin is beautiful. Actually, I will send you pictures of when I was 16. I’m not that lighter from when I was younger, I’m not. The picture they’re passing around where I’m wearing the animal print underwear, that picture was three years ago and that was a tan. If anybody looks at that picture and you look at the oil on my skin, you would know it’s a tan. And it’s funny because one of my friends who was at the photo shoot with me that actually oiled me up with the tan sent me a message yesterday. She was like “Why are people going crazy about this picture when you were tanned on this picture?” I was never that dark in real life and I can send EBONY pictures of me when I was like 15, 16. And guess what? I don’t even care because they’re bringing me business. Because when you take that picture and you put a picture of Dencia darker, this is what you’re telling people – the product really works. And guess what? People really want to buy it. It’s what it is. I don’t really care.
EBONY: So…you haven’t bleached your skin, is what you’re saying? You were tan in the before pictures?
Dencia: Have I…Has my skin lightened from when…like from the past five years? Yes it has. It has. Has it drastically lightened? No it hasn’t. Is it what people are saying? No it’s not.
EBONY: Okay. But do you understand people’s response to the pictures? Because many people have become aware that skin bleaching is a big phenomenon around the world, particularly in West Africa where you’re from. And so then we see one picture of you or a few pictures of you where you look browner and then we see this new picture of you, and not just that it’s a picture of you per se, but an advertisement for a product called Whitenicious. And then it says “Say goodbye to pigmentation and spots forever.”
Dencia: First of all when I did the photoshoot…let me tell you something, I did the Whitenicious photo shoot on the 13th of December, 2013. I just came back from Paris. I was in Europe for a month and I was indoors. I don’t go outside a lot generally. If you’re light skinned and you stay indoors a lot it’s gonna give you that pale look. And then I had just been going back and forth to the hospital because I was not feeling too good. My health is not very stable and it’s not because of anything with this, it’s something that I’ve had since I was a little girl. I was dehydrated and they gave me the drips to hydrate me. And when you come out with all those things, it makes you fresh and it gives you that pale look because you’ve not been out in the sun. That is why those pictures look like that. And everybody, even my sister said “Are you okay?” because they knew I was not feeling good. So it’s not about being pale because I’m bleaching my skin. It’s just because I stay indoors a lot and I take a lot of vitamins. Lots. And all those things have effects on your skin. And in the past I’ve probably taken medications that… you know there’s a lot of medications that have side effects of lightening your skin too.
And anyway, the picture clearly says “Say goodbye to dark spots and hyperpigmentation.” I’m not saying “say goodbye to your Black skin and try to be like Dencia.” That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying “say goodbye to dark spots and hyperpigmentation.” Now did I choose to do beginning pictures for a reason? Yes, I did. I did that because sexy sells. Period. I have men, White men, Black men, buying Whitenicous. Guess what is attracting them? Those pictures. And guess what they’re using it for? Dark spots. Not to bleach their entire skin. I don’t think a White man is trying to bleach his skin.
Trust me, I’ve been running this business for the past three weeks and I’ve read all these emails from girls telling me about how they have this hyperpigmentation, how they have these dark spots. I have seen so many pictures. These girls are not trying to bleach their skin. They’re just trying to get rid of these little things that is making them feel uncomfortable, you know?
You can read more of EBONY’s interview with Dencia here.