Fairness creams have been an issue of controversy for years, with Bollywood celebrities such as Priyanka Chopra and Sonam Kapoor endorsing the use of popular brands such as “Fair and Lovely.”
It is no surprise that these products are extremely problematic, helping to perpetuate a racial hierarchy where whiteness is considered to be desirable, while other skin tones are considered to be abnormal, and unattractive and needing to be changed.
Beyond the surface level, racism has plagued societies all over the world, and Black, Indigenous, and other people of colour have had to deal with systemic oppression simply because of the colour of their skin, making products like these, being pushed by top stars, even more problematic.
Recently, we have witnessed a global revolution where communities in different pockets of the world have come together to raise awareness, spread resources, and demand justice for the constant violations of human rights against Black people.
Celebrities and people of power have a special role to fill in such dire times, where their voices and platforms can be utilized to ignite change where it's needed most.
However, supporting BLM is not a trend, or a quick Instagram post to fill up your timeline.
Both Priyanka Chopra and Sonam Kapoor have been criticized, (and rightfully so), for making posts to support BLM, while their business endeavours endorse skin lightening creams.
If some of the most celebrated South Asian names in film and TV are pushing products like skin lightening creams, it sends the message to the young people who look up to them and want to look like them that they must have light skin in order to be beautiful or loved.
Priyanka, Sonam, and others posting about BLM, and not taking accountability for the harm they have undoubtedly caused by pushing lightening products, is a way for them to avoid responsibility and the real change that could come from them speaking out against this practice of skin lightening that happens across the globe.
The moral of the story here is, if you are going to claim to support the movement in pursuit of justice for Black lives, then at the very least, you should stop endorsing products that further encourage racial division, and claim that light skin is superior.
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