Dove Model Lola Ogunyemi Speaks Up Following Controversial Racist Ad

Carla Harmon
October 11, 2017

Ogunyemi ends by saying that she thinks that the company was right to apologize but should have defended its creative vision, including "their choice to include me, an unequivocally dark-skinned black woman, as a face of their campaign". Now, Lola Ogunyemi, the lovely model featured in the ad, is taking aim at racism in the beauty industry in an essay she penned for the Guardian.

The Dove commercial draw backlash after it featured a black woman taking off her brown shirt and revealing a white woman wearing a beige shirt underneath.

She also said that people were quick to judge because of past ads that Dove has circulated that have been seen as racist, so consumers assumed it was more of the same.

Had she known that she would be "portrayed as inferior" because of her dark skin, she would have turned down the job. Dove moved quickly to remove the ad from Facebook following the outcry and issued an immediate social media statement in which it admitted to missing the "mark in representing women of color thoughtfully".

Even after the filming the ad and seeing the final edited version, Ogunyemi loved the concept and was "over the moon" when she saw the final product.

But when the ad was released on Facebook, everything changed.

The 3-second video clip, posted on Dove's US Facebook page on Friday, reminded some social media users of racist soap adverts from the 19th century or early 20th century that showed black people scrubbing their skin to become white.

Lola Ogunyemi appeared on BBC Breakfast this morning to speak about the controversy caused from the social media campaign. "There is definitely something to be said here about how advertisers need to look beyond the surface and consider the impact their images may have, specifically when it comes to marginalized groups of women".

"I think the way it has been taken out of context is a bit upsetting", said Ms Ogunyemi. That part of America's whitewashing history is why many were up in arms over the weekend when a screenshot of a "racist" Dove ad went viral.

Ogunyemi says her experience with Dove was "positive" and that all the actresses on the set understood what Dove was aiming for. She added that she is also aware of previous advertisements that have sparked outrage from the public due to their offensive nature.

Ms Ogunyemi, who was born in London, responded on Wednesday by saying she felt that the outrage over the short snapshot of the ad was "initially justified" as the viewer may have lacked context, but felt the images were "misinterpreted".

While Ogunyemi has taken a stand against the controversial ad, she revealed she had a positive experience working with Dove: "I had an wonderful time on set. I am strong, I am lovely, and I will not be erased", Ogunyemi concluded.

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