Controversial

Why is This Racist Chinese Detergent Ad Trending Right Now?

An ad for Chinese detergent brand Qiaobi is trending on Reddit for all the wrong reasons.

Here at Okayafrica, we’re trying to wrap our heads around this ad for Chinese detergent brand Qiaobi.


Watch it at the top.

It shows a black man whistling at a Chinese woman while he takes a break from doing a paint job at her home. She summons him, fakes him out with a kiss before putting what looks like a detergent pod into his mouth, and then throws him headfirst into her washing machine. Then the Chinese woman sits on top of the machine while the black man cries out. Once she opens the washer, to her surprise, the black man has been transformed into a Chinese man, who winks at her suggesting the detergent worked.

Yeah, woah—there’s a lot to unpack here for obvious (racist) reasons—from skin bleaching, ethnic cleansing to stereotypes of black men preying on white women (or in this case, an Asian woman) to rape them; a trope which has been used historically to justify racialized violence against black men. Also, one could argue it touches on China's rise in Africa and extraction of its natural resources.

Perhaps these allusions were lost on the Chinese creatives who came up with the ad?

However, a bit of digging online reveals this ad might have been ripped off or at least based on this Italian ad for Coloreria (for colors?) detergent, which is also a no-go for racial reasons. No need to explain it, just watch:

The Coloreria ad is suspect because it casts the shirtless, muscular black man as a hypersexualized prop and an object of the white woman’s gaze. While the ad suggests “coloured is better,” it fails to acknowledge Italy’s racial issues. It was only a few years ago when Italy’s first black government minister Cécile Kyenge dealt with racial taunts and had two bananas hurled at her onstage while she addressed supporters.

Both ads reek of racial insensitivity, all for the sake of virality. And what’s worse, both detergent companies don’t actually focus on the features of the products they’re trying to sell.

PEOPLE, LET’S DO BETTER! It is the 21st Century after all. And speaking on the behalf of black and brown people every where, we are beyond tired of pointing out microaggressions that pervade our everyday lives.

And if you’re still not convinced, here’s this vintage video—which quite possibly influenced those ads— that suggests racism isn’t this notion from the past, but is alive and well, even in the commercials we watch.

Interview

Sarkodie Is Not Feeling Any Pressure

The elite Ghanaian rapper affirms his king status with this seventh studio album, No Pressure.

Sarkodie is one of the most successful African rappers of all time. With over ten years of industry presence under his belt, there's no question about his prowess or skin in the game. Not only is he a pioneer of African hip-hop, he's also the most decorated African rapper, having received over 100 awards from close to 200 nominations over the span of his career.

What else does Sarkodie have to prove? For someone who has reached and stayed at the pinnacle of hip-hop for more than a decade, he's done it all. But despite that, he's still embracing new growth. One can tell just by listening to his latest album, No Pressure, Sarkodie's seventh studio album, and the follow-up to 2019's Black Love which brought us some of the Ghanaian star's best music so far. King Sark may be as big as it gets, but the scope of his music is still evolving.

Sonically, No Pressure is predominantly hip-hop, with the first ten tracks offering different blends of rap topped off with a handful of afrobeats and, finally, being crowned at the end with a gospel hip-hop cut featuring Ghanaian singer MOG. As far as the features go, Sark is known for collaborating mostly with his African peers but this time around he branches out further to feature a number of guests from around the world. Wale, Vic Mensa, and Giggs, the crème de la crème of rap in America and the UK respectively all make appearances, as well as Nigeria's Oxlade, South Africa's Cassper Nyovest, and his fellow Ghanaian artists Darkovibes and Kwesi Arthur.

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