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Anti-Racism Movement Forces Unilever To Rename Fair & Lovely Skin Cream

Anti-Racism Movement Forces Unilever To Rename Fair & Lovely Skin Cream
Amid rising protests against racial and color discrimination, Unilever has said that it will be renaming its cream called ‘Fair & Lovely’ which is touted as a skin-lightening cream and one that has been criticized for promoting social stereotypes centered around darker skin tones.
All references to "whitening" or "lightening" on the products will also be removed by the company in its Asian market.
"A singular ideal of beauty" is suggested by the branding of the cream, acknowledged Unilever.
In recent weeks, more than 18,000 people have signed two separate petitions calling on Unilever to end production of its Fair & Lovely range of cream products.
"This product has built upon, perpetuated and benefited from internalized racism and promotes anti-blackness sentiments," says one of the petitions. The cream "tells us that there is something wrong with our color, that we have to be light in order to feel beautiful. In order to feel worthy," claimed a second petition.
"We are fully committed to having a global portfolio of skin care brands that is inclusive and cares for all skin tones, celebrating greater diversity of beauty. We recognize that the use of the words 'fair', 'white' and 'light' suggest a singular ideal of beauty that we don't think is right, and we want to address this," said Sunny Jain, President of Beauty & Personal Care at Unilever.
"The brand has never been and is not a bleaching product," Unilever added.
All before-and-after impressions of using the cream and "shade guides" on Fair & Lovely packaging had already been removed by it in 2019, said the consumer goods giant.
Countries such as India, Indonesia, Thailand and Pakistan are the main markets of the skin care products.
In recent weeks, the Black Lives Matters movement, sparked by George Floyd's death, has forced cosmetic companies around the world to re-evaluate their product lines and marketing strategies, including Unilever, resulting in the company’s latest move.
George Floyd, a black man, dies in Minneapolis in May, even as a white police officer held a knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes while Floyd kept pleading that he could not breathe. The video of the incident went viral across the world. Following protests, four police officers involved in the incident have been sacked and charged with the death of Floyd.
Unilever's announcement was "hugely disappointing, said writer and activist Poorna Bell. "It doesn't do enough to make reparations for the untold mental and emotional damage done by colourism," a prejudice or discrimination against individuals that have a dark skin tone which is also found among people of the same ethnic group. "Renaming the products doesn't mean anything - that's still just colourism by another word," she said.
Other cosmetic companies also seem to be aware of the recent anti-color movements all across the world.
Nivea "stands against racism and discrimination of any kind and supports the Black Lives Matter movement", said the brand’s parent company Beiersdorf.
Middle East, India as well as Nigeria and Ghana are the major markets for Nivea's Natural Fairness line.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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