A Conscious Blog

28 Aug 2018

Lighten up? It's not that deep! |#LAM

Last week, Mohammed Iqbal Bharodawala (owner of Jenny Cosmetics) was sentenced to prison for selling skin-bleaching products which contained the infamous, banned and toxic ingredient: hydroquinone.

Hydroquinone was banned in the UK in 2001, due to its associated risks of central nervous damage, liver damage and fears of its non-safety in humans. Despite its ban many customers desiring lighter skin sought out products containing it due to its rapid skin lightening properties. The desire to have lighter or whiter skin does echo the past woes of slavery.

Esther Stamford Xosei, activist and author, coined the term post-traumatic slave syndrome (PTSS) to describe the effects the aftermath of slavery has had on African descendants, which can still be seen in the 21st century. Ultimately, one of the ways slavery still manages to live on is through the effects of PTSS, of which skin lightening is one. Unfortunately the concept of skin-lightening is beyond skin-deep. It's rooted in the barbarity and absurdity of slavery. 

For as long as social spheres and institutions such as television and film; print media, and the advertising industry, continue to place Eurocentric beauty ideals on a pedalstool, we will continue to have this issue. It's great that custodial sentences and hefty fines are being handed out to people selling these products.

Copyright: Newham Times 
Evelyn Akoto, Councillor and Community Safety and Public Health officer stated: "Southwark Council works tirelessly to protect (Southwark shoppers) from irresponsible traders seeking to profit at the expense of their customer's health." 

The hope being that this will act as a deterrent to prevent other store owners from following suit. The real work needs to be done in the mind of the upcoming generation, lest we forget Black skins in all its various shades, undertones and hues is beautiful because #BlackIsBeautiful 🖤 ♥ 

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