This Week in Absurd Beauty Products: Whitenicious x Blac Chyna
Maybe the court of public opinion is being too hard on former model/stripper/reality star/social media influencer/makeup brand owner/party planner Blac Chyna. Maybe she hasn’t run out of things to monetize and isn’t now looking to make bank on the insecurities and the discrimination of dark skinned women. Maybe the cream is, as she claims, solely to help with dark spots and hyper-pigmentation!
Such defenses would be more believable if she wasn’t partnering with a brand whose name is practically too on the nose to be true: ‘Whitenicious’–the most direct synonym for ‘fetishization of whiteness’ I've ever heard.
Blac Chyna is releasing a new “beauty” product marketed as a luxurious "illuminating and brightening cream," infused with Swarovski crystals and selling at $250. She’s partnered with a company owned by Cameroonian singer Dencia that is known for their skin lightening creams. Dencia herself has received major criticism for years on account of the European beauty standards that are often used to market and sell her products. Blac Chyna received immediate backlash over the collaboration and the cream’s alleged purpose to lighten the complexions of women of color, mainly black women.
Chyna is headed to Nigeria to promote the cream, posting on her Instagram:
Her “lighter is better” tour opening in Nigeria doesn’t help her case, as the World Health Organization reports that Nigeria has the highest proportion of women using skin lightening in the world. Approximately 77% of women in Nigeria use such products.
The debate over skin lightening versus brightening versus bleaching is a long and storied one within the black community, rooted in the even deeper issue of colorism. Colorism is a status system in which people of color, historically black women, are valued more if they have lighter skin over those with darker skin. This socially conditioned hierarchy has led many dark skinned women to seek skin lightening treatments in order to attain light skinned privilege.
A high profile black woman such as Blac Chyna endorsing a product that directly challenges the beauty and validity of dark skinned women is deeply disturbing. It preys on societally reinforced insecurities to sell an insanely overpriced product.
And come on, no one could think of a name that would be less of a PR disaster than “Whitenicious”?!
Feature image via.