Blac Chyna has put her finger on the pulse of colourism and controversy after it was revealed that she would be partnering with Whitenicious by Dencia to release a skin whitening cream which will retail at $250 (£195).
The American model has put her name to something called Whitenicious X Blac Chyna Diamond Illuminating & Lightening Cream.
Chyna has used Whitenicious dark spot corrector for a number of years for her hyperpigmentation, a rep tells TMZ.
Her latest cream promises to give skin a “natural glow” reducing “the visibility and intensity of age spots [by] lightening their appearance,” and “improving the appearance of dull, discoloured skin [by] visibly stamping out unevenness to leave the complexion illuminated.”
The cream description adds:
Whitenicious X Blac Chyna collection was created for women of all skin tones and types who want to regain their youthful glow. Every crystal on the jar is a reminder of the diamond beauty inside everyone.
Blac Chyna believes that being photo-ready even without makeup means being dark spot free, hyperpigmentation free and younger looking.
The cream also claims to preserve the complexion and “lighten without bleaching skin out.”
In an Instagram post, Chyna encourages people to join her for the cream's launch in Lagos, Nigeria on Sunday.
However with black women encouraging a natural movement, including Black Panther actress Lupita Nyong’o, who often talks about overcoming struggles she had as a child accepting her dark skin and embracing her natural hair, Chyna’s cream seems to many, a step back.
Black women took to Twitter to criticise the cream for being an abject rejection of their natural beauty, and they argue it posits a western notion of beauty as superior to all other forms of beauty.
Actress Kelechi Okafor wrote a thread outlining why the cream is so problematic:
Bleaching creams and the demand for them are inextricably linked to colonisation and internalised inferiority complexes. You can argue with your mother. I said what I said.
If white supremacist patriarchal ideologies weren’t so successful we wouldn’t have the constant aspiration to be as closely linked aesthetically to whiteness. I aim not to shame those who bleach but rather those who are complicit in marketing it.
Others are pointing out that Nigeria has a "real colourism problem" - the idea that the lighter skin you have, the more beautiful/ desirable you are.
In Nigeria, bleaching, lightening or whitening one’s skin is fairly common. A 2013 report by the World Health Organisation found that 77 per cent of women in Nigeria use these products.
And people are calling on Chyna to drop the 'Blac' from her name
Those in Nigeria are angry that Blac Chyna is travelling there to promote the product
Dencia initially defended the cream and said it wasn't marketed at a Nigerian consumer, and that they are travelling around to different countries to promote the product, which she says is American.
"No it’s not targeted to the Nigerian market, stop the ignorance, whitenicious has store in Nigeria, whitenicious is made and sold in America and our clients are 70 per cent Americans," she wrote on Twitter.
No one is targeting anyone the average Nigerian can’t afford a $250 cream monthly.
She also clapped back at accusations that it's a skin bleaching cream:
Does it remove dark spots? For we sell dark spot removers? If u answered yes to the above then we sell dark spot removers. Bye
Still, people are arguing that Dencia and Blac Chyna are monetising colourism in black communities across the world.
When indy100 asked about the criticisms against the cream, a rep for Whitenicious sent a product description and said they hope it helps to understand "what the product is about."
Blac Chyna did not immediately return a request for comment.