In the past week , the new controversial image of Jamaican dance hall singer and song writer Grace Latoya Hamilton, commonly known as Spice had the attention of many.
The picture firstly published on the singer Instagram page , mimicking what it’s considered the typical ” European beauty standard” with a new light skin, blonde hair and blue eyes.
Her new image was a stunt to promote her latest single called “Black Hypocrisy”, which had over 1.3 million views on Youtube in 24 hours . but it was also to raise a very problematic issue in the black community: colourism.
Colourism is the prejudice or discrimination against a darker skin tone, usually among people of the same race.
Colourism is not a new problem, we can track this issue since slavery and colonisation , where light skin or mixed raced slaves, were kept in the house as housekeepers , because the tone of their skin was considered “more acceptable” than the one of darker skin slaves that were mainly busy in heavier duties in the field (Hunter)
And you will think that with the end of slavery , this ideology of “the lighter the prettier” concept will die.
Unfortunately that is not the case, and bleaching has become an addiction for many people in different countries in the world.
According to the WHO report, with 77% of Nigerian women say they’ve utilised skin bleaching followed by 59% women of Togo with , 35% women of South Africa and 25% Mali .
This numbers reflects the popularity of colourism. However, colourism it’s not an issue amongst African and Caribbean heritage. In the same WHO report , 61% of dermatological skin products in India contain skin lightening agents and 40% of women surveyed in China and different parts of Asia reported using skin lightning product too.
It seems that some parts of the World, are shying away from from this primitive ideology. The Government in Ghana have started national an anti-bleaching campaigns , where the war against colourism led the Ghana Food and Drugs authority to ban products that contains bleaching chemicals in them .
Even in the fashion industry, this year we saw inclusion in and the celebration of diversity was very well recognised especially with the boom of mainstream fashion magazine featuring black women of different shades as they cover pages.