Popular

Blac Chyna Launching Her Collab Line with Dencia of 'Whitenicious' Revives Outrage Over Skin Bleaching

And rightfully so.

Blac Chyna has announced that she's heading to Lagos in about a week to launch her product in collaboration with Cameroonian singer DenciaWhitenicious x Blac Chyna Diamond Illuminating & Lightening Cream—and the internet has been on fire since.

Although the controversy surrounding Dencia and her brand Whitenicious has been on everyone's radar for over 4 years now, the outrage surrounding this new money bag venture for both ladies (each jar costs $250 according to TMZ) isn't surprising, but disheartening.

This launch is an ironic full-circle moment—a black woman heads to an African country to celebrate and promote a product that epitomizes self-hate and health risks—all for a chance to cash in on a multibillion-dollar industry.


Skin bleaching, or skin whitening, is a phenomena that stems from the impact colonialism had not just on the African continent, but also in the Caribbean and Asia. The colonial powers were adamant on stripping our countries of our resources, but also stripping our pride as a people by equating social status and social mobility to how light (rather, white) one's skin is. Even until today, these skin lightening brands still advertise and capitalize on the colorism dynamic and inherited low self-esteem.

Along with the social implications of skin bleaching, there are literal health risks that are hard to ignore. The New York Times reminds us that about 70 percent of women in West Africa use these products and according to the World Health Organization, 77 percent of Nigerian women use some form of skin bleaching products on a daily basis.

Back in August 2016, Ghana's Food and Drug Authority placed a ban on skin bleaching products that include hydroquinone—an ingredient that stops the production of melanin that protects the skin from the sun. Despite this, there are still concerns of an increase in skin cancer because of the lack of melanin skin bleachers have.

Dencia has taken to Twitter and Instagram to defend her product, stating that Whitenicious does not have hydroquinone as an active ingredient and is FDA-compliant (although what makes a product compliant to the FDA is a gray area in of itself, but that's another conversation for another day).


In the same vain, she proceeds to gaslight critics and even threatens to sue for defamation.

But we need to call a spade a spade—and even revisit Dencia's original Whitenicious ad compared to what she used to look like.

Abeg, how can the skin that covers one's whole body be covered in 'dark spots?' Nigerians on social media have been similarly scratching their heads in bewilderment, including Burna Boy on his Instagram Stories.

"Anybody who attends this rubbish might as well commit suicide. Blacc Chyna please don't come to my Home and sell your Poison. Because the thunder that will fire you is wearing that big Balenciaga trainers," he says. "Ladies, your black is beautiful!"

Nigerian-American beauty guru and YouTuber Jackie Aina and Ghanaian-British artist FuseODG resound along as well.


Nigerian-British actor and fitness instructor Kelechi Okafor's thread adds context to the conversation—emphasizing the big picture of this move.

"If white supremacist patriarchal ideologies weren't so successful we wouldn't have the constant aspiration to be as closely linked aesthetically to whiteness," Okafor says. "I aim not to shame those who bleach but rather those who are complicit in marketing it."

Words mean things and we weren't born with two heads. To say that a product "lightens," "brightens" and "illuminates" is a slick way of coercing women to use risky products that will slowly destroy their skin and put their health at risk. Hyperpigmentation is indeed a struggle many black women face, but it should be solved by a dermatologist that specializes in treating dark skin, not by a quick fix in a jar.

Interview

Kofi Jamar Switches Lanes In 'Appetite for Destruction'

The Ghanaian rapper and "Ekorso" hitmaker presents a different sound in his latest EP.

The drill scene in Ghana has been making waves across the continent for some time now. If you're hip to what a crop of young and hungry artists from the city of Kumasi in Ghana and beyond have been doing over the past year, then you already know about rapper Kofi Jamar.

Towards the end of November last year he dropped one of the biggest drill songs to emerge from Ghana's buzzing drill scene, the popular street anthem "Ekorso." In the December and January that followed, "Ekorso" was the song on everyone's lips, the hip-hop song that took over the season, with even the likes of Wizkid spotted vibing to the tune.

Currently sitting at over 10 million streams across digital streaming platforms, the song topped charts, even breaking records in the process. "Ekorso" maintained the number one spot on Apple Music's Hip-Hop/Rap: Ghana chart for two months uninterrupted, a first in the history of the chart. It also had a good stint at number one of the Ghana Top 100 chart as well, among several other accolades.

Even though he's the creator of what could be the biggest song of Ghana's drill movement till date, Kofi Jamar doesn't plan on replicating his past music or his past moves. He has just issued his second EP, a 6-track project titled Appetite for Destruction, and it would surprise you to know that there isn't a single drill song on it. Although drill played a huge role in his meteoric rise, he wants to be known as way more than just a drill rapper. He wants to be known as a complete and versatile artist, unafraid to engage in any genre — and he even looks forward to creating his own genre of music during the course of his career.

We spoke to Kofi Jamar about his latest EP, and he tells us about working with Teni, why he's gravitating away from drill to a new sound, and more. Check out our conversation below.

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Music

Listen to Tems' New EP 'If Orange Was A Place'

The buzzing Nigerian is also announcing her signing to Since '93/RCA Records and her placement as Apple Music's Up Next artist.

Tems is striking while the iron's hot and sharing her new 5-song EP, If Orange Was A Place.

The new release comes a few days after she dropped its lead single, "Crazy Tings," an addictive and bounce-heavy track produced by Ghanaian beatmaker GuiltyBeatz.

If Orange Was A Place also features a single guest appearance from American singer Brent Faiyaz — who lends his vocals to "Found" — and production from Jonah Christian. It was mixed and mastered by Spax.

The new EP comes alongside the news that Tems has signed to Since '93/RCA Records and been announced as Apple Music's latest Up Next artist.

Tems has been a highly-buzzing name in the last month with her feature on Drake's Certified Lover Boy, in which she appears on the song "Fountains," and for the massive popularity of her single alongside Wizkid, "Essence," which recently got a Justin Bieber remix.

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Interview

Liya Wants to Stand Out

The rising Nigerian artist, who has been crowned the 'First Lady' of Davido's DMW label, tells us about how her life has changed and details her new Alari EP.

When Nigerian music icon Davido signed Liya, a day after hearing her song in a Lagos nightclub, the trajectory of her life was effectively changed. From being a hopeful up-and-comer, the singer was suddenly on the books of one of the most influential record labels in the afropop industry, Davido Music Worldwide, and primed for a breakthrough. "Melo," the enthralling single played that day in the club was released within days of Liya's signing, retro-fitted with a video that heralded her ascension to the 30 Billion Gang.

Following the buzz and positive acceptance of "Melo," Liya retreated to the shadows to deal with the evolving landscape of her life and put together a debut project that would cement her position within Nigerian pop. In August, nine months after being signed, Liya returned with Alari, a six-track EP that was released without a lead single.

"Alari is basically saying I am different," the singer says during a chat one afternoon after the project's release. Songs like "Odua" and the project's titular track prove that the Liya is effectively operating on her own plain, where she weaves desire and equanimous gratitude into languid, fluid pop anthems guided by her sirenic voice and breathless cadences.

Below, we caught up with Liya to discuss working on Alari, getting signed to DMW, and the inner workings of her life.

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