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This Nivea Ad Promising "Visibly Lighter Skin" Is Reigniting a Conversation About Skin Bleaching On the Continent

Nivea has come under fire for an advertisement promoting skin lightening, but the incident also opens up a broader discussion about marketing trends and consumer demand on the continent.

German-owned skincare brand, Nivea, is facing intense backlash over an ad promising "visibly lighter skin" with the use of their moisturizer.


The company released a television advert for their "natural fairness" product, which features former Miss Nigeria Omowunmi Akinnifesi applying the cream. Her skin instantly appears lighter once the moisturizer is applied.

The product is being promoted with billboards across Senegal, Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon, with the slogan "for visibly fairer skin."

While the issue of skin lightening on the continent is a complex, and sometimes psychological one—with roots largely stemming from colonialism—it's offensive, to say the least, that Nivea would assume that Africans would be collectively heedless to the racism and self-hate which the ad promotes.

A number of folks have criticized the ad on Twitter, reprehending Nivea and calling out a widely irresponsible beauty industry which continues to push harmful skin products to Africans.

There's also a discussion taking place around the demand for such products on the continent, and how advertising often caters to what companies believe is "trendy" in specific localities.

As we all know, this conversation is not at all new. The same companies which sell skin bleaching products across Africa and Asia are the same ones boosting messages of self-acceptance to consumers in North America—both in attempt to capitalize off perceived consumer trends.

But we aren't all as oblivious to their bullshit as they'd like to think. More and more, we see people taking a stand against such patronizing messaging both on and off the continent.

Check out the video below via, AJ+ to see how women in Ghana are fighting skin bleaching.

Photos by David Pattinson.

First Look: This New Collection from Art Comes First Is Peak Black Yeehaw Aesthetic

The design and brand consultant duo previews the SS20 collection displayed during their residency at The Mandrake Hotel in Paris.

Following their wavy Surf Afrika collection, Art Comes First (ACF) shares with us a preview of their SS20 collection that is all things Black Yeehaw Aesthetic.

Dubbed El Charro Negro, the collection features neutral colors and an array of textures—from leather, embroidery, fringed denim and ponchos, to vests, suede jackets and straight flyness.

Sam Lambert and Shaka Maidoh of ACF are known as the "Travelling Tailors" where their ventures around the world influence their designs. This time the nomads, who hail from the West Indies, Ghana and Angola respectively, have landed in Paris.

Earlier this month, ACF curated a week-long event-filled residency at The Mandrake Hotel in Paris that encapsulates their ethos of taking cultural influence from around the world and only staying still long enough to create. There, Lambert and Maidoh presented an installation, live musical performances and DJ sets, a film screening and a pop-up shop leading up to Fashion Week. The residency also showcased the duo's latest collaboration with London mainstay Fred Perry.

El Charro Negro will still be showcased in Paris at another location from June 18 to 23. Keep up with ACF on Instagram to stay tuned for details.

Check out our favorite images from the collection below.

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Nonso Amadi & Kwesi Arthur's 'Comfortable' Will Get You In Weekend Mode

Watch the trippy new music video for this link-up from the buzzing Nigerian and Ghanaian artists.

Nonso Amadi is one of the standout acts from a young wave of Nigerian musicians blending afro-fusion with RnB and much more. He's now dropping the brand new single "Comfortable," an addictive self-produced track that sees him linking up with bubbling Ghanaian act Kwesi Arthur, which we're premiering below today.

"Comfortable" is built on woozy synth keys and sparse beat work, all spearheaded by Nonso Amadi's vocals about wanting freedom in a relationship.

"The song is inspired by experiences with having a girl over and not wanting them to get too comfortable by staying too long with you," says Nonso Amadi. "I thought it'll be interesting to create a song around this 'cos it's not a perspective were used to hearing from guys very often."

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Screenshot via YouTube.

Maleek Berry Makes a Statement with His First Track of the Year, 'Flashy'

And the music video follows suit.

After months of anticipation, Maleek Berry finally dropped his first track of the year, "Flashy."

The Nigerian crooner-producer surely makes a statement on the track while flexing his rapping skills, as he chronicles how he leveled up to be flashy—and it's well-deserved. The video shows us a scene of a fly photo shoot that's underway, where Maleek is dripping in gold and fancy cars surrounded by stunning black women and his homies—Eugy, Tinie Tempah, Juls and more.

Watch the video, directed by Capone and Guise of Vissionaire Pictures, below.

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