Friday, 8 August 2008

L'Oreal and Beyonce

So I picked up on this image a few days ago and simply rolled my eyes. Why? Well, honestly I felt it was too obvious to rant about. However the ‘denial’ issued by L’Oreal was the straw that broke the camels back.

"We highly value our relationship with Ms. Knowles. It is categorically untrue that L’Oreal Paris altered Ms. Knowles’ features or skin tone in the campaign for Feria hair colour,”

L’Oreal, we don’t believe you.

Anyone with an iota of sense is fully aware that the image projected in any advertisement attempting to sell a cosmetic product- is a lie. A big fat lie. If your selling mascara, the lashes are fakes and in most hair ads the models are wearing hair extensions. Every single image is photoshopped to death. Unfortunately this time the ‘airbrush artist’ was clearly coked up to their eyeballs and made an otherwise absolutely flawless Beyonce look like the lovechild of Michael Jackson and Jennifer Aniston.

Let me tell you a story that never really got the publicity it deserved. In 2007 L’Oreal’s Garnier division was fined €30,000 (£20,300) after being found guilty of racial discrimination by deliberately specifying that they would NOT hire non-white women in a special shampoo promotion. (Damn those internal memos getting leaked). To put it bluntly, L’Oreal has a slight issue with embracing the concept of diversity.

Do I feel outraged when I see this image? To be honest no. Why? Because there are bigger things, like Darfur and sadly it doesn’t shock me.

The reality is any ethical/moral outrage is a tad bit late. For decades the mainstream media has subliminally pushed the suggestion that being ‘darker’ as a person of colour is somewhat inferior. Anyone who disagrees with me, you may stop reading now because you are a confirmed ignoramus. This isn’t some new phenomenon, so why am I going to pretend to be outraged?

In saying this, I’m not justifying L’Oreal’s deeds. I’m just saying it is merely a picture of an ugly reality.

Females of the world! Whatever race, shade or size you happen to be, embrace it! Don’t let twisted cosmetics giants dictate to you how you perceive yourself. Beauty flows from the inside out, love your core and don't allow their twisted ideals permeate your mind or soul.

To the powers-that-be at L’Oreal. Go jump off a building.

My message to Beyonce. Perhaps this is the time to speak up and raise awareness around an issue that many ignore and/or pretend doesn’t exist. Break the mould, be a voice.

My message to the feminists. This is precisely why I don’t like your lot and will never ever call myself a feminist. When a gender issue has a racial dimension, all of a sudden you are all strangely silent. Do the same as the twits at L’Oreal.

Peace, Love and Inner beauty



  1. GOD BLESS YOU and fantastic rant...maybe you could even go further as to calling out the african women who "bleach" their skin because they want to be lighter?? For what embrace your beauty..God Blessed us with beautiful mahongany skin, full lips, Curves that women of world ENVY!!! but yea keep it up!!!

  2. beyonce looks awful in that ad and the idiots behind that image should be given their marching papers. i mean at least if you're going to strip someone of their racial identity make them look good while you're doing it dammit! I agree that it is wrong to push this notion of light bright and damn near white as being the zenith of black beauty however these companies prerogative is to make money and are these companies not giving the people what they want. I really dislike mindless outrage so so what if L'Oreal prefers to use lightskinned models are they not selling the product with these images? lets not forget that they use black celebrities (not models, celebrities) for these campaigns intentionally to target black folk so STOP buying the shit and tell a friend to tell a friend and we'll be on our way to changing things. Stop buying white glossies they advertise in,or at least share a copy with as many friends as possible to stop giving these people your money. Im not going to pretend that a problem does not exist in the black community shadism is real and needs to be dealt with but u know shit happens we should try to stand together against the majority and promote different skintones as desirable and then we can deal with our own personal prejudices so that means varying shades for the main girl in music videos where white consumers keep the industry afloat india irie on the cover of black magazines as opposed to halle berry an beyonce you know its not rocket science. If i am honest i would hate to be darkskinned but i recognise that as a flaw in myself and it is not something i want 2 pass on to the next generation so i will use my power as a consumer (lets face it the only real power we have is in our purses) to make noise as opposed to getting up in arms to no real effect

  3. 'If i am honest i would hate to be darkskinned'

    Don't you think you contradicted every statement you made by saying this. It seems you yourself suffer from as much self-hate as the folks at L'Oreal.

  4. how can i suffer from self hate if i would hate to be what i am not? Surely to be self loathing you have to be that which you loathe? unless of course you mean that i hate being black in which case let me inform you i wouldnt have it any other way but what i was trying to convey with that statement is that yes i am affected by the society,culture the medium of television, advertising so on and so forth. and i dont want to be, but I AM. so i wont pretend otherwise. i dont want my daughter to be though. I feel like darkskinned women (not men though for some reason) are marginalised and really who wants to be marginalised if you can be celebrated and unfortunately, fairer women or exotic women seem to get the better movie roles, modelling jobs, singing opportunities (despite lack of talent) case in point: halle berry,cassie, lauren london, asia (pussycat doll show), meghan goode, ashanti, amerie,ciara, christina milian. Even on the small screen raven symone, kyla pratt, them sister sister twins when has a darkskinned black girl ever had her own show? U have sidekicks like sicily in one on one but OWN show? even stacey dash when googled comes up as 'aztec mexican black' i invite you to check for yourself. on diddys makin da band after he made the band he sat down and told them sara stokes was the eyecandy. Why couldnt babs be th eyecandy? (u kno, after a diddy-style makeover). i do not want to perpetuate the myth that darker skintones equate to inferiority so i would love for the world to change and embrace beauty for beauty's sake as opposed to based on whether you can pass but i do live in the world and as a young female respond well to positive reinforcement, praise and compliments and please dont try to act like you dont know what im talkin about because it may not be PC but i aint lying. Case in point pls search yung berg on theybf.blogspot and hear wat he saying about dark women now young berg is an idiot and irrelevant musically but do u really think he is the only one holding this opinion or the just the only one dumb enough to verbalise it publicly thus alienating potential fanbase and losing money. Which puts me right back at the point i made earlier. change is gonna come with some change or rather lack of it. it will still lurk within the confines of our community but thats another day another issue. Publicly if we withdraw our financial support for companies that promote the ideal of beauty that is not representative of our race and maybe support publications that celebrate our diversity like vibe vixen or whatever we can stimulate some sort of change whereby the 'man' realises hes losing money and has to actual cater to our wants if he wants to sustain his wealth.

  5. Steph although ur points are valid in some capacity, as a guy i am very disappointed to hear u say such a thing. As a single male i wud love nothing other than to marry a beautiful confident dark skinned female. Why? Because for a dark skinned female to be confident in herself in this day & age is simply amazing. The media have twisted our natural beauty to the point where as a race we hate ourselves. Currently there are so many stereotypes & stigmas surrounding light skinned females that have put me off them in a way i cud never explain. To even hear fellow males use the word 'Lighties' to describe a group of females to me sounds so degrading. Things like this push me to want a dark skinned female who love herself rather than a confused light skinned woman.

  6. I understand steph’s point, she isn’t trying to say that there is anything wrong with being dark-skinned, she is not ashamed to say that, yes, she is affected by the media portrayals and thus, is happy with her lighter complexion. If I must say, I completely agree. I do think black is beautiful, in all of its 55 shades, however, I am more than content with my portion. If you are constantly praised on certain virtues or attributes in this case, you tend to lean more towards expressing these virtues as it earns you more compliments, supposed self-worth etc (human mind, quite primitive) hence it is understandable that some people may lean more towards preferring lighter skin; it does not mean you are discriminatory/insecure/confused. Steph, I applaud your frankness and Christiana, I applaud your blog.

  7. well im glad my frankness is appreciated because if we are going to debate and discuss earnestly there is no point in putting statements out there for the sake of being 'PC' or to prove that i am conscious/enlightened, that are not my true opinions on the matter. i am not barack not here to be liked. The guy who said that he is put off fairer women because of negative connotations he has associated with them is another example of shadism just in favour of the lesser praised darker toned women of our race. He has based his preference on factors outside of their personality and physical appearance beyond their skintone. 'the media have twisted our natural beauty to the point where as a race we hate ourselves' i get what youre saying but i would like to point out that our 'natural beauty' is not confined to one particular ideal black womens natural beauty is alex wek through to naomi and tyra. Both of my parents are of mixed heritage but i would never refer to myself as anything other than black and neither would they. i love being black and when i marry and procreate it will definetly be within the race so i just want to stress that it really is not an issue of self hate or an inferiority complex but more a case of how i feel people react to me as opposed to my darker girlfriends and my lighter girlfriends. To be perfectly honest i dont want to have to fight for affirmation of my beauty i just want to be accepted and celebrated as i am and i dont think im the only person who thinks like this. i hope attitudes change but i am not spearheading the movement because c'mon we all have lives to be getting on with. But as long as i am complimented on having 'good' hair (from women as well as men both are quick to deride their natural textures) and a complexion where you can 'see' ive got somethin in me, my views remain uncompromised because it is comments like these that make the receiver feel attractive. Who's ever heard someone say 'gosh ur hair is so coarse and short its fantastic' i havent. Maybe anonymous has said that to a fro'ed out beauty you know and more power to him but its not something ive ever been privy too. And i have lighter friends who dont seem to have not much going for them in life but cling to their lightskin like a crutch. I am not applauding this in any way but they obviously think like that for a reason. someone told then something and that was reinforced by someone. They would rather be underachieving in a dead-end situation than be a darkskinned success story and beyond being about race this is an issue of female beauty being prized above all else and alot of women feel if they are better looking they will have a better life.

  8. Can i point out to Atl02909 that African women aint the only ones who bleach and that when i was in london i seen too many caribbean women, more than i care to count with blotches of dark patches with waht appears to be almost white skin due to the excessive use of skin bleaching creams.

    All im saying here is lets not discriminate against one continent and if you wanna make a statement then lay the facts.

    That aside excellent Rant ma dear.
    i absolutely loved it you made a very good point and the issue of race in the media does need to be addressed as it could be linked to other things subliminally. eg, Rwanda and why it took soo long for the west to jump in and actually help the locals... we all know that there was nothing of value to the west out there hence why they left so many to die.

    That aside, any woman who does not stand up and be counted and fight for what she believes in could be classed as a dufus.
    so if beyonce cant see beyond the paycheck she was gettin to feature in such an ad then ya she is a major dufus.

    Just my 2 cents worth.