As we wrestle with colorism in the black community we can forget that it is a near-global phenomenon thanks to the ongoing effects of slavery and colonialism. A jarring ad for Snowz skin-whitening pills is a sobering reminder of that. It features 35-year-old Thai actress Cirin “Cris” Horwang wearing blackface against voiceover saying you “need to be white to win.”
The actress explains how she uses the skin-whitening pills to keep her ahead of the competition, and that if she stops she’ll become a “dusky star” competing with younger actresses who are trying to steal her shine. The blackfaced Horwang is a representation of what she’ll look like if she stops “taking care of herself” via the skin-whitening pills. (Translation courtesy of CNN.)
It didn’t take long before the ad, produced by company Seoul Secret, was plastered all over social media. The company tried to apologize in a rambling statement on Friday.
“Seoul Secret would like to apologise for the mistake, and claim full responsibility for this incident. Our company did not have any intention to convey discriminatory or racist messages.”
But you did tho…
The statement continues…
“What we intended to convey was that self-improvement, in terms of personality, appearance, skills, and professionality, is crucial.”
As you can imagine, Twitter wasn’t here for the apology and many were surprised that these kinds of ads are still being produced in Thailand.
The ad has been viewed over 100,000 times on YouTube, but has since been pulled down by the company.
Thailand is a country in SouthEast Asia whose citizens come in many shades.
But although darker skin is prevalent, it is seen as undesirable.
Darker skin is often associated in Thailand with manual, outdoor labour, and therefore with being “lower class”.
Also much of the urban elite are of ethnic Chinese origin, who tend to have lighter skin than the indigenous people of the Thai countryside.
Ladies, what are your thoughts?