Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dem a Bleach! Dancehall Artist Vybz Kartel Compares Skin Bleaching to Tanning

Vybz Kartel, a Jamaican dancehall reggae artist, has been taking a lot of flack (and double takes) of late for his drastic change in appearances. The 32-year-old, who went from a healthy dark chocolate to looking like walking corpse, says black folks who bleach their skin is akin to white people tanning.
"This is my new image," Kartel said in the interview. "You can expect the unexpected. I feel comfortable with black people lightening their skin. They want a different look. It's tantamount to white people getting a sun tan." Kartell is endorsing his own brand of cake soap and claims that the soap lightens his skin. However, Bounty Killer countered by saying that his mother has used cake soap and it has yet to bleach her skin. Bounty Killer believes that Kartel is using something stronger to lighten his skin. But Kartel's choice to bleach his skin stems from a deeply rooted form of self-hatred that has permeated the black community for hundreds of years. Because blacks have been under white hegemony for so long, many blacks have idolized the caucasian image while detesting black images. Furthermore, white slave owners often created discord between dark and fair skinned slaves to minimize the chances of a slave revolt. As a result, that form of thinking was passed along through generations of black culture. Many dark-skinned kids are picked on by their peers at school, and some black fraternities and sororities have a history of segregating themselves based on skin complexion. The media has also historically centered on fair-skinned blacks in ad campaigns and in Hollywood.
So, are we to believe that cake soap (a bar of soap used to do laundry) is lightening Vybz Kartel's skin? Hell to the naw! In fact, the soap's manufacturer has gone on the record to say "Blue soap does not bleach. It has no ingredients in it that damages the skin. If anybody is saying that it will discolor the skin or take off pigmentation that is absolutely not true." He needs to just come on out of the closet, like Sammy Sosa, about his bleaching habits. Anyway, skin bleaching has been a part of the culture in Jamaica for years, with some women (and men) using household items like toothpaste, curry powder, milk powder, household bleach, cornmeal in addition to traditional bleaching creams. Health officials soon launched a campaign to educate citizens of the dangers of the practice, but folks don't listen.

Update: Vybz Kartel is defending his skin bleaching addiction. He fired off this statement to the folks over at Vibe: "I'm my own man, and as such I do my own thing. When black women stop straightening their hair and wearing wigs and weaves, when white women stop getting lip and butt injections and implants, when bald men stop getting hair transplants, and when people stop getting nose jobs and cosmetic surgery then I'll stop using the 'cakesoap' and we'll all live naturally ever after. Until then F**k you all." Hilarious! Wait, we have an idea: He should make an appearance on My Strange Addiction, the show we're addicted to on TLC.

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