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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.

Photo: Ayra Starr/Orienteer.

Ayra Starr & Kelly Rowland Connect For Ultra Sultry "Bloody Samaritan" Remix

"I've always been a huge fan of Kelly Rowland, and when this came up, I could barely keep in the excitement," mentions the young Mavin Records star.


Ayra Starr has joined creative forces with Kelly Rowland to create a remix of her "Bloody Samaritan" record. The Mavin Records artist has been putting effort into her craft, and her recent collaboration with Rowland is an indication of her growing musical prowess.

Connecting with Rowland, who is a music icon, is another step in the right direction for the young Afro-pop star. The initial release of "Bloody Samaritan" was a well-received record that amassed over 60 million TikTok views and was also featured on BBC Radio's 1Xtra—the remix is equally as enjoyable. Although it retains the sound of the original song, it has its unique ambiance, which fuses elements of Afrobeats, Afro-pop and smooth R&B.

Starr continues to rise in the global music scene and her recent collaboration with Spotify has the potential to skyrocket the musical influence of the newcomer globally. Artists like Starr are increasingly pushing the envelope as it relates to collaborating with bigger names in the music world, which was something that was not as rampant a few years ago. While discussing the collaboration, Starr shared her excitement about the record and her admiration for Rowland.

"I've always been a huge fan of Kelly Rowland, and when this came up, I could barely keep in the excitement! While recording this, Kelly made me feel so comfortable and relaxed, something I really appreciate," said Starr. "She was super amazing! and I was able to hold my own alongside a legend, and I can't wait to share this new music with you all!"

Although Ayra Starr is one of the youngest artists in the Afro-pop world, she has already been making a solid impression among fans and music analysts. In an NME piece, the publication described Starr as “the teen leading her generation’s sonic revolution.” Her stage presence, confidence, and overall "je ne sais quoi" essence have proven that the Gen-Z pioneer is ready to continue to put her name and genre on the map.

Listen to Ayra Starr and Kelly Rowland's "Bloody Samaritan" remix below!

Photo courtesy of the artist.

The 10 Best South African Songs of the Month (September)

Featuring AKA, Nasty C, K.O, Blaq Diamond, Musa Keys, and more.

Here are the South African songs and music videos that caught our attention this month.

Check out more of our Best Songs of the Month lists from Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and East Africa. You can also follow our weeklySongs You Need to Hear roundup for the best new music.

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Norberto Cuenca via Getty Images.

Kenya Says It's Banning LGBTQ+ Content

According to the acting head of the Kenya's Film Classification Board (KFCB), all movies with LGBTQ+ content are illegal in the country.

The acting CEO of the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB), Christopher Wambua, has announced that all movies containing LGBTQ+-related content are now illegal in the country. Wambua also said that the country is against LGBTQ+ relationships.


"As we rate and classify content, we also consider other applicable laws. If there is any content that normalizes, glorifies same-sex relationships, our position in Kenya has always been to restrict and not to broadcast, exhibit or distribute that kind of content within the borders of the country," Wambua said. Wambua also said that while there are multiple platforms highlighting sam-sex content online, the Kenyan government is actively taking action to block access to the content in Kenya. According to Wambua, the KFCB authority is currently working with streaming powerhouse Netflix to ensure that access to LGBTQ+ movies and series are barred within Kenya.

"Most of them are restricting; because of our discussions with Netflix, they are curating their classification system that is very aligned with our laws with the view of ensuring that in future once we sign the agreement, some of this content is not visible at all within the republic," Wambua said.

Kenya is not the first country to state that it would not condone LGBTQ+ content. Earlier this year, Egypt joined six other Arab countries to call out Netflix and Disney+, and demand that certain types of "offensive" content be restricted from airing in their countries. This was understood to be in reference to media that featured members of the LGBT+ community within those countries.

Kenya has had a long history of barring content with LGBTQ+ characters and storylines. In 2018, Kenyan authorities banned 'Rafiki,' a film that profiled the love story of two women, citing that the production promoted lesbianism. Last year, the KFCB also banned the documentary "I am Samuel," a storyline about a gay Kenyan man. Kenya's law strongly forbids LGBTQ+ and Section 165 of its Penal Code highlights the legality of code in detail.

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