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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.

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Six Things History Will Remember Kenneth Kaunda For

News of Kenneth David Kaunda's passing, at age 97, has reverberated across the globe. Kaunda, affectionately known as KK, was Zambia's first President from 1964 to 1991.

Following Nelson Mandela's passing in December 2013, Kenneth Kaunda became Africa's last standing hero. Now with his passing on Thursday, June 17 — after being admitted to the Maina Soko Military Hospital in Lusaka earlier in the week — this signals the end of Africa's liberation history chapter.

It is tempting to make saints out of the departed. The former Zambian struggle hero did many great things. He was, after all, one of the giants of the continent's struggle against colonialism. Ultimately however, he was a human being. And as with all humans, he lived a complicated and colourful life.

Here are six facts you might not have known about him.

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Music

The 7 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Olamide, Black Motion, Blxckie x Nasty C and more

Every week, we highlight the top releases through our best music of the week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

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News Brief

Black Motion Release New Single ‘Xxikiwawa’

Stream Black Motion's new single 'Xxikiwawa'.

South African house music duo Black Motion have finally released their single "Xxikiwawa". Featuring DJ Fortee, Lady Du, Pholoso and DJ Khosto, the song is the duo's first single since the release of their 2020 album The Healers: Last Chapter.

As usual, Lady Du's kwaito-style raps and chants take centre stage as she rhymes about hustling and trusting in the elders to answer our prayers. She ends her verse with a Brenda Fassie interpolation: "Indaba i-straight ayidingi i-ruler."

In trademark Black Motion fashion, the song is built on big drums and prominent percussion panned to give way for vocals but still managing to dominate.

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Interview: Tecla Ciolfi On The Journey To Starting Her Popular Podcast ‘Texx Talks’

South African music journalist Tecla Ciolfi launched her podcast 'Texx Talks' at the height of lockdown in 2020. Since then, it has become one of the most notable music platforms in the country.