October 11, 2017

Model in “racist Dove ad” says she is not a victim, defends the campaign

by Neha Monga

Model Lola Ogunyemi, who became the “the unwitting poster child for racist advertising” after the Dove advertisement she starred in went viral has spoken out.

Ogunyemi, a British-Nigerian model, in an op-ed for The Gaurdian said the ad has been “misinterpreted” and insists Dove’s intentions were not divisive. “All of the women in the shoot understood the concept and overarching objective–to use our differences to highlight the fact that all skin deserves gentleness,” Ogunyemi writes.

The advert caused anger

Dove, on Saturday, issued an apology for their latest advertising campaign which has been branded “racist” and included an image of a black woman removing her top to reveal a white model underneath.

She said the full 30 second TV ad, shown in the US, did the campaign’s message more justice because it showed about seven women of different races and ages all turning into each other, with Ogunyemi making the first appearance in the ad and then reappearing at the end.

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Ms Ogunyemi writes that she was “upset” after the “widespread outrage” because she had “been excited to be a part of the commercial and promote the strength and beauty of [her] race.

She said: “I loved [the advert]. My friends and family loved it. People congratulated me for being the first to appear, for looking fabulous, and for representing Black Girl Magic. I was proud.”

She finished by saying that she agrees with Dove’s decision to apologise for the ad, but that ‘they could have also defended their creative vision, and their choice to include me, an unequivocally dark-skinned black woman, as a face of their campaign’.

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‘I am not just some silent victim of a mistaken beauty campaign,’ she said. ‘I am strong, I am beautiful, and I will not be erased.’

 

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