'People really want to buy it': African pop star defends her controversial skin-lightening cream

Whitenicious is described as a '7 day fast acting dark spot remover'

A black African pop singer who launched a skin-lightening product has hit back at critics who disparaged her for promoting skin-bleaching.

In an interview with Ebony, Dencia defended the Whitenicious product, which is advertised as a “7 day fast acting dark spot remover”, and claimed that it was not intended to be used as an all-over whitening cream.

“The picture clearly says ‘Say goodbye to dark spots and hyperpigmentation’,” the Nigerian-Cameroonian singer said.

“I’m not saying ‘say goodbye to your black skin and try to be like Dencia’. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying ‘say goodbye to dark spots and hyperpigmentation’.”

But many have criticised her for sowing the seeds of self-hatred among women with darker skin, particularly African women.

They have also highlighted Dencia’s own drastically altered appearance since she started using Whitenicious. Pictures of her taken in 2011 show her with much darker skin than in the advertisement images.

“I was never that dark in real life,” she said.

“And guess what? I don’t even care because they’re bringing me business. Because when you take that picture and you put a picture of Dencia darker, this is what you’re telling people – the product really works.

"And guess what? People really want to buy it.  It’s what it is. I don’t really care.”

But Dencia emphasised that she is not extolling skin bleaching and said “dark skin is beautiful”.

“These girls are not trying to bleach their skin. They’re just trying to get rid of these little things that is making them feel uncomfortable, you know?” she added.

She also said that the majority of her customers are African-Americans, as opposed to Africans.

“Now, do you think Africans are lightening to appeal to the white man? No, they’re not because the white man doesn’t even like the light Africans. They like the black Africans,” she said.

“Look at all the Africans that are successful in the world. They are as black as Alek Wek. And if I was as black as Alek Wek, I would never ever use anything on my skin. Trust me I wouldn’t.”

However, Dencia did concede that Whitenicious can be used as an all-over skin-lightening product, but suggested few people would use it for this purpose, because it is too expensive.

“Whitenicous comes in 30 ml and 60ml. You cannot use the 60 ml to bleach your whole skin. It’s impossible. And that costs about $150 each,” she said.

“I don’t see anybody spending all that money to bleach their entire skin. I don’t see that happening.

“Now, do I have customers who come and buy stuff for over $2000? Yes, I do. Do I ask them what they want to do with it? No, I don’t.

“Do I know what they want to do with it? No, I don’t care because it’s their money, it’s how they want to spend it.”

Dencia went on to question the validity of medical research that links skin-bleaching products to cancer.

“Contrary to what people are saying ‘Oh, this is going to cause you cancer’. No, it wouldn’t. Whitening your skin will not cause you cancer,” she asserted. 

Check out these other controversial adverts

Skin-bleaching has been a controversial topic in recent years, with many high-profile celebrities being drawn into the debate.

Last month, Vanity Fair was accused of lightening Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong'o's skin when she appeared as the cover star of the February issue.

And in 2012, pop singer Beyoncé appeared significantly lighter-skinned in a L’Oreal Paris advertisement, while in 2011, Vogue issued a statement denying that they had altered the colour of Rihanna’s skin on the front cover of their November issue.

But for Dencia, the answer is simple.

“Whitenicious is what it is,” she said.

“Take people for who they are and accept people for being honest about who they are, what they do and all that.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Life and Style
techApp to start sending headlines, TV clips and ads to your phone
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan in What If
filmReview: Actor swaps Harry Potter for Cary Grant in What If
News
Our resilience to stress is to a large extent determined by our genes
science
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Asset Finance Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - ASSET FINANCE - An outstanding...

HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...

Assistant Marketing & PR Manager

£16 - £17 per hour: Ashdown Group: Marketing & PR Assistant - Kentish Town are...

Project Manager (App development, SAP, interfacing)

£50000 - £60000 Per Annum + excellent company benefits: Clearwater People Solu...

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment