The black model, who featured in the controversial Dove ad accused of being ‘racist’, has finally spoken out, saying she is not a “silent victim” of Dove’s beauty campaign.
Lola Ogunyemi, a British-Nigerian model, in an interview,said that Dove should have defended their “creative vision”.
“While I agree with Dove’s response to unequivocally apologise for any offense caused, they could have also defended their creative vision, and their choice to include me, an unequivocally dark-skinned black woman, as a face of their campaign,” she wrote .
Dove, a unit of Unilever, shared a three-second video on their Facebook page on Saturday, showing a black woman taking off her shirt to reveal a white woman underneath.
Screengrabs from the video were widely shared on social media, with many criticising the ad for being racially insensitive. The soap company was quick to apologise and regretted having “missed the mark in thoughtfully representing women of color.”
However, Ogunyemi insists that the images circulated on the web have been “misinterpreted”.
“I can see how the snapshots that are circulating have been misinterpreted, considering the fact that Dove has faced a backlash in the past for the exact same issue. There is a lack of trust here, and I feel the public was justified in their initial outrage. Having said that, I can also see that a lot has been left out. The narrative has been written without giving consumers context on which to base an informed opinion,’ she wrote.
She went on to say that the message was lost in the editing of the clip. ‘I think the full TV edit does a much better job of making the campaign’s message loud and clear.’
‘If I had even the slightest inclination that I would be portrayed as inferior, or as the “before” in a before and after shot, I would have been the first to say an emphatic “no”. I would have (un)happily walked right off set and out of the door. That is something that goes against everything I stand for,’ Ogunyemi added.
She finished her piece with a strong message: “I am not just some silent victim of a mistaken beauty campaign. I am strong, I am beautiful, and I will not be erased.”