Lola Ogunyemi Nigerian Born Model Who Appeared In Controversial Dove Commercial Says It Is NOT Racist

Lola Ogunyemi Nigerian Born Model Who Appeared In Controversial Dove Commercial Says It Is NOT Racist

A black model who appeared in a Dove advert denounced on social media as racist users has defended the clip, saying that the images had been taken out of context.

Lola Ogunyemi unwittingly found herself at the centre of an international furore over a three-second video posted on Dove's U.S. Facebook page.

The short clip, taken from a longer commercial, shows Ms Ogunyemi in a skin-coloured t-shirt, removing it to reveal a white woman, who then takes her top off to reveal an Asian woman.

However Ms Ogunyemi, from London, said the stills from the clip gave the wrong impression, and that the full Dove ad far from belittled black women, but celebrated ethnic diversity.

Ms Ogunyemi is British of Nigerian descent, but her family moved to the United States aged ten, and she grew up in Atlanta.

'I don't feel it was racist,' she said in an interview with the BBC on Wednesday.

Many Facebook and Twitter users said the clip signalled that white people were cleaner or more beautiful than black people and likened it to 19th century soap adverts that showed black people scrubbing themselves to become white.

But Ogunyemi said the stills from the clip that shot around the internet over the weekend - which mostly showed only her and the white woman, leaving out the Asian woman - gave the wrong impression.

She said there was a 30-second, made-for-TV version that had other images and a slogan that made it much clearer that the intention was to say that all women deserved quality products.

'The screenshots that have taken the media by storm paint a slightly different picture,' she said.

Dove apologised for the Facebook clip, saying it had 'missed the mark in representing women of colour thoughtfully'.

Miss Ogunyemi said in an article in the Guardian that she had 'grown up very aware of society's opinion that dark-skinned people, especially women, would look better if our skin were lighter'.

Far from fitting into this narrative, she wrote, her participation in the Dove advert was a chance to 'represent my dark-skinned sisters in a global beauty brand'.

She said Dove could have defended itself by better explaining the concept behind the clip.

However, she also said that Dove should have spotted the risk that the sequence of images could be interpreted as racist given that it had run into trouble over similar content in the past.

'They should have strong teams there that can point this kind of thing out before it goes to air,' she told the BBC.

Dove, a Unilever brand, was criticised in 2011 over an ad which showed three women side by side in front of a before-and-after image of cracked and smooth skin, with a black woman on the 'before' side and a white woman on the 'after' side.

Another point of contention was a label on a Dove product that said it was for 'normal to dark skin'.

Daily Mail