Model in Controversial Dove Ad Stands By the Video

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**UPDATE October 11, 2017

In an essay for The Guardian, Lola Ogunyemi, one of the women in Dove’s infamous body wash ad, is speaking out about her first-hand experience with the campaign. 

According to Ogunyemi, the hope of eliminating the narrative of representing lighter skin types as “better” skin types is one of the main reasons why she decided to take the role in the ad. But once the campaign went live, she says her perspective shifted. “I went online and discovered I had become the unwitting poster child for racist advertising. If you Google ‘racist ad’ right now, a picture of my face is the first result. I had been excited to be a part of the commercial and promote the strength and beauty of my race, so for it to be met with widespread outrage was upsetting.”

“If I had even the slightest inclination that I would be portrayed as inferior, or as the ‘before’ in a before and after shot, I would have been the first to say an emphatic ‘no’. I would have (un)happily walked right off set and out of the door. That is something that goes against everything I stand for.”

As for Dove’s learning curve, Ogunyemi says that advertisers need to look beyond the surface and consider the impact their images may have, especially when marginalized groups of women are involved. “It is important to examine whether your content shows that your consumer’s voice is not only heard, but also valued.” 

“I can see how the snapshots that are circulating the web have been misinterpreted, considering the fact that Dove has faced a backlash in the past for the exact same issue. There is a lack of trust here, and I feel the public was justified in their initial outrage. Having said that, I can also see that a lot has been left out,” Ogunyemi writes of the full, 30-second clip that has since been taken down by the brand. “The narrative has been written without giving consumers context on which to base an informed opinion.”

“While I agree with Dove’s response to unequivocally apologize for any offense caused, they could have also defended their creative vision, and their choice to include me, an unequivocally dark-skinned black woman, as a face of their campaign. I am not just some silent victim of a mistaken beauty campaign. I am strong, I am beautiful, and I will not be erased.”

You can read Ogunyemi’s essay in full on The Guardian here

**Originally Published October 8, 2017

Dove is apologizing for a Facebook ad it claims to have “missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully,” and the public has criticized as being “racist,” but the apology, as thousands are telling the mass brand, came too little too late.

The ad, which hoped to boost sales for Dove’s original Body Wash, has been deleted since it was shared on Friday afternoon. But, according to various screen grabs and third-party posts, the three-second video displayed a black woman taking off her brown shirt to reveal a white woman underneath. Some sources also report the white woman went on to remove her shirt to show an Asian woman with an even lighter-colored shirt on. 

Dove issued an apology for the ad on Facebook and Twitter Saturday, sharing that the brand deeply regrets the offense it has caused. “The feedback that has been shared is important to us and we’ll use it to guide us in the future,” the statement read, though it was met with more contempt than clemency.

You May Also Like: Despite Social Media Backlash, Dove’s New Packaging Didn’t Turn Off That Many Women After All

Thousands are taking to social media to share their outrage with the advertisement, including questions about how the ad could have been conceptualized and approved in the first place, and even sharing threats of boycotts. Tweets reading, “I’m never buying Dove again. Y’all think my brown skin symbolizes dirt,” are now trending, and do not seem to be slowing down any time soon.

“This did not represent the diversity of real beauty, which is something Dove is passionate about and is core to our beliefs,” Dove added later in a statement. “It should not have happened.”

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