Thai beauty company Seoul Secret came under heavy backlash last week for its commercial that featured a model in blackface while claiming that having white skin helps you “win”. The ad featured the skin lightening cream Snowz insinuating that the model’s success is based on her whiteness.
“If I stop taking care of myself, everything I have worked for, the whiteness I have invested in, may be lost,” said actress and social media star Cris Horwang in the 50-second spot.
After the ad appeared, the company received multiple complaints of racism. Eventually, they pulled the ad and released an apology. “Our company did not have any intention to convey discriminatory or racist messages. What we intended to covey that self-improvement in terms of personality, skills, and professionality is crucial.”
Though the commercial has been pulled from television, the Snowz website still claims that “superior whiteness is eternity.” This is not the first time a company has had to apologize for their racially insensitive ads. Not too long ago, Cosmopolitan found itself in a similar position after posting a racially controversial beauty story “21 Beauty Trends That Need To Die in 2015.” All of the women of color who were included in the story were listed as celebs who rocked looks that should RIP.
Beauty companies aren’t the only ones guilty of racial prejudices. Women with darker skin tones are often portrayed as being less than women with lighter skin tones in mainstream media, Hollywood and around the world. Even in our own race, light skinned and dark skinned women are, and have been, pitted against one another. Many of us have even internalized this, creating a deep rooted judgement against one another.
Yes, we have come a long way as women of color when it comes to knowing that we are all uniquely beautiful. But, this clearly shows the world-at-large still has much changing to do. Thankfully, in this age of social media and instant access, we have the opportunity to have our voices heard and to continue to make changes for the better.