Friday, October 14, 2011

Vybz Kartel promoting colourism by launching a skin bleaching product line


Awaiting trial on a charge of conspiracy to murder is not generally a good time to launch a new beauty product.
But when the products in question are skin-whiteners, you're probably used to the negative publicity.
Jamaican dancehall artist Vybz Kartel is launching his own range of men's cosmetics this month, which includes a variety of 'skin-brightening' items.

He has also been charged in connection with the murder of a promoter in Kingston in July - as well as for illegal possession of a firearm and some drugs-related offences.
The musician, who was nominated in the reggae artist of the year category at last year's MOBOs, has been an advocate of lightening your skin for a while now.
He originally claimed to use cake soap - a clothes-bleaching product - to lighten his skin, so that it was easier to see his tattoos.

But after the Jamaican manufacturer of the product, Blue Power Group, refuted his claims, Kartel explained that he actually used his own special concoction.
Soon his secret recipe will be available to buy.
Skin whitening has been a controversial - and very worrying - trend among women for decades. It has become so commonplace that some cosmetics firms have been accused of making their Indian and black models look paler in their campaigns.
Adverts starring both Beyonce and Freida Pinto have been affected.

But now men being encouraged to bleach their skin too.
Pale skin is seen by bleaching advocates as desirable as it is thought to imply wealth. Poorer people who work in the sunshine in hot countries on the fields get darker skin - which they might then choose to try and bleach.
As historian Elsa Goveia puts it, the structuring principle of Caribbean societies is 'the belief that the blacker you are the more inferior you are and the whiter you are the more superior you are.'
Clearly, this has very negative connotations on issues of race, and self confidence.
In defence of his controversial beauty regime, Vybz Kartel has explained that he sees lightening your skin as no different to straightening your hair or getting a tan.

In a statement to, the artist defended his use of cake soap, he said: 'When black women stop straightening their hair and wearing wigs and weaves, when white women stop getting lip and butt injections and implants … then I'll stop using the 'cake soap' and we'll all live naturally ever after.'
Jamaican health authorities see the matter a little differently.
Local doctors are dealing with increasing numbers of patients who have burnt their skin with black-market bleaching products.
The craze is so serious that in 2007 the Jamaican government ran a campaign called 'Don't Kill The Skin' to highlight the dangers of using the products.
Keysha Davis, editor of Blackhair magazine, thinks it is especially worrying that skin-lightening products are being endorsed by influential celebrities.

She told The Guardian: 'I think historically it has been black women who've had self-identity issues and so might use those products rather than black men.
'To hear that Vybz Kartel is putting out a skin lightening cream is quite disturbing, I feel, and quite sad.'
His products are launching in the Caribbean initially, but Vybz Kartel has high hopes for the moisturisers, fragrances and soaps. He told the Tribune: 'I wanna see them in Macy's and all other fine retailers worldwide.'
The musician's endorsements have not always gone to plan in the past, though. His brand of Daggering condoms had a reputation for splitting, and his Street Vybz Rum was deemed too expensive.
The DJ clearly has bigger worries than whether this range of cosmetics will sell or not, though. He has been charged in connection with the July murder of Barrington 'Bossie' Burton, a 27-year-old promoter in Kingston, Jamaica.

No comments:

Post a Comment