'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.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Developer - HTML, CSS, Javascript

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Application Developer - ...

Ashdown Group: B2B Marketing Manager - Events, Digital, Offline

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: B2B Marketing Manager (Events, Digit...

Day In a Page

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable