via Atlanta Black Star:
As you leave Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), you will be confronted by large billboards on which the models advertising products are either white or very light – none is dark-skinned. The mass media seem to be saying that really black women are the opposite of the ideal. Magazines, TV, radio and movies and the rising influence of Western pop culture are fervidly promoting a Eurocentric, blonde-haired, light-eyed and stick-thin standard of beauty. And no one seems more peeved by this emerging trend than Kenya’s top model Ajuma Nasenyana.
“It seems that the world is conspiring in preaching that there is something wrong with Kenyan ladies’ kinky hair and dark skin,” says Ajuma, a woman with dark skin, short hair and high cheekbones, complains. Big advertising and modelling agencies seem to be promoting the light-skinned over the dark-skinned model, she says, pointing to a Swedish cosmetics firm that recently entered the Kenyan market. “Their leaflets are all about skin-lightening, and they seem to be doing good business in Kenya. It just shocks me. It’s not okay for a Caucasian to tell us to lighten our skin,” she says. She says Europeans have natural skin and wonders why they want “us to bleach ours”. On a visit to Kenya, British supermodel Naomi Campbell, who has complained that she is rarely featured on the cover of British Vogue, raised concerns that black models were being sidelined by modelling agencies.
“It’s a pity that people don’t appreciate black beauty,” she said.
These days whenever she has the opportunity, Ajuma speaks out against skin-bleaching, and she is taking it on as her own fight.
Read more at Atlanta Black Star.