Lola Oj has premiered the second episode of her docu-story “The Truth About Skin Bleaching“, off her “Lagos Beauty How Far” series. Lola says:
My love for our uniqueness as black people is one without compromise – our hair, skin, and distinct anatomy is worth flaunting any day. More interesting is the beauty of our diverse shades. From the darkest to the fairest, our unique skin tones are priceless treasures.
My assertion is, of course, not universal as our beliefs have over time been influenced by several varying factors. Society has set a certain abstract standard of beauty that places more value on a certain skin tone and this has led to a surge in the number of people ‘toning’ their skin to meet these standards.
It is then expedient that we have conversations around skin toning and its potential consequences and that is what this docu-story is all about. It’s a non-judgmental conversation that would not criticise anyone’s choices. Rather, it is about educating ourselves so that we are fully aware of the potential consequences of the choices we make.
It’s also important that we acknowledge the pressures that people face from simply engaging on social media which leads to certain hasty decisions. This conversation will help people make more informed decisions moving forward.
The question concerning why we do the things we do especially as black people (a somewhat marginalised/oppressed race) also needs to be asked. So I think it’s important we explore the rationale behind our actions rather than trivialising them.
Why are there certain standards of beauty that seem to take us farther away from what it means to be black? Why is it that straight hair, clearer skin, a particular figure, a certain dimension of facial features are glorified over black body features? Why are we putting so much money into the pockets of people who don’t look like us but want us to look at them?
These conversations are important so that we can raise a generation that recognises the value of self-love so that we can embrace our flaws, our uniqueness and make a proper, informed choice in the future. Furthermore, it’s important so we don’t project our insecurities, societal “standards” or how we feel onto the next generation.
We also need to mind what we say and the things we glorify because they can have a lasting effect. Bleaching has been going on for centuries, so it’s something that has penetrated our culture and who we are as blacks.
I think it’s an important conversation to engage in and more importantly in safe, non-judgmental, non-critical places.
Watch the episode below: