Sometimes you read things that are so ridiculous you can barely believe your eyes. Today that prize goes to the Nigerian and Cameroonian musician Dencia, the woman behind a skin lightening product called Whitenicious — yes, that is the product's real name.
Dencia used to be as brown as, say, Whitney Houston, but no more — thanks to Whitenicious, she has bleached her skin to the point that she's as fair as Cate Blanchett. When African-American media outlets discovered the product online, they were not happy. As you can imagine.
This brings us to this Ebony interview (if you can call it that; it reads more like a failed intervention) between Drexel University professor Dr. Yaba Blay and Dencia on how skin lightening and her products are the result of colorism, reaffirming the idea that black skin is wrong and white is right.
The singer's various denials border on delusion.
Africans aren't buying Whitenicious, African-Americans are.
As of now 80% of people that buy my products are African American. It's not Africans. People are saying that it's Africans because they think I live in Africa. … My African market is just 10% because guess what? They don't have credit cards to buy the products and I'm only taking credit cards or PayPal. And they don't have that access, do you get what I'm saying? It's these people that can access that.
First of all, White people love the darker skinned Africans. They like the African that is Alek Wek. There's no in between for them. It's extreme. You're either at A or you're at Z. Now, do you think Africans are lightening to appeal to the White man? No, they're not because the White man doesn't even like the light Africans.
Dencia: Contrary to what people are saying "Oh, this is going to cause you cancer." No, it wouldn't. Whitening your skin will not cause you cancer. There is no, how do they call this thing?
EBONY: Medical research?
Dencia: Yes, there is no medical research!
EBONY: But there is.
Dencia: That it causes cancer?
Dencia: But guess what? The air you breathe outside causes you cancer. Everything in the world causes cancer.
EBONY: ... because of skin bleaching, and because of the use of these products, we see an increase in the numbers of cases of skin cancer in Africa, when that wasn't a medical issue that we suffered from before. Do you understand? So if I tell you, Dencia, yes you can get skin cancer from lightening your skin, are you concerned?
Dencia: You know what? I'm not. First of all, body lotion cannot stop melanin. Melanin comes from inside, not externally. That's why people still have hyperpigmentation. You can bleach your skin all you want you will still produce melanin. Body lotion does not stop your melanin from coming. It does not.
EBONY: But it does.
Dencia: I can assure you. It does not. ... I'm not gonna put those things on my body because I am very conscious when it comes to my health.
I have nieces and nephews who are dark. And I mean dark. And they will not tell you anything but my auntie tells me that I am beautiful the way that I am and that I should never mess with my skin. Any dark person I know will tell you.
Dencia: You guys have said too much shit about Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, but guess what? They're winning. They're at the top of their game. Why don't you just see that what you're doing is not helping you
What Dencia fails to realize and/or mention is that those pop stars were criticized for advertisements in which their skin was lightened, not how they look in real life. But that isn't really the point; Dencia has clearly been beaten down by the racist and colorist ideas that associate light skin with happiness, success and wealth. The very self-hate she claims to be against is exactly what she's peddling to her customers.