”Your skin just like pearls; the best thing in the world; never trade you for anybody else, Brown Skin Girl!’
Beyonce wanted to pass a message to the world, to Africans and every brown/black skin girl there is, but her message particularly struck deeper than the beauty of its delivery. I saw Nigerians in the picture. Putting Wizkid on board to make what is an unarguable quality even passed a stronger message.
Skin bleaching has become an epidemic in Nigeria. From the highbrows of Lagos to the local Ibadan markets, up North to Kano, through Abuja and back to the Delta, ladies, and even men have found solace in lightening their skins.
It is a strong whim in Nigeria and the least surprising of sights must be that of a beautiful black girl gone white. Global market statistics show that an estimated $20bn is spent on skin bleaching products, with a huge demand from Africa, and Nigeria.
The next advert you may probably see on the social media is one about a very expensive skin bleaching product, by the many businesswomen online. Information gathered by this writer suggest these products are as expensive as 100-200,000 naira.
Controversial reports by the international media places the percentage of Nigerian women who use bleaching creams at 77%. This is however unproven, but the epidemic is yet to be stemmed and has grown in leaps and bounds in the past few years.
Many of the ladies who have bleached their skins to white have pointed fingers to the need to look more attractive, and better acceptance by males as reasons for towing the path.
In my interaction with some sex workers, there is the belief that looking ‘yellow to white’ attracts more customers, hence better bargaining and more money. Majority of this group of people stop at nothing to bleach their skins.
On the dusty streets of Nigeria, there is the huge presence of bleaching cream stores, of different brands and products. Gluthathione is doing the magic for many but a legendary woman, in conjunction with one of the finest from where seems to be mostly affected by the ‘Whitening Epidemic’ have passed a message of note. That the brown skin is beautiful; just like pearls and is the best thing in the world.
The ‘Brown Skin Girl’ song off Beyonce’s Lion King: #The Gift Album is a message to Africa and the continent’s most populous nation, Nigeria. Irrespective of what the world thinks about Africans and people of colour, ‘never trade you for anybody else’, it says.
Beyonce further sang; ”There’s complexities in complexion” and that seems the greatest pressure to contend with for the average Nigerian lady.
While there is a lot of pressure from the public over looks and skin colour, the adverse effects of bleaching the skin are too great to be bullishly executed as Nigerians have.
Ladies have resorted to glutathione pills, injections to have their preferred white skins. Mothers now go all out to cream stores to change their babies’ skin colours right from cradle. These however leave such kids with what locals tag ”water colour”, describing the multitude skin colours bleaching leaves them with.
Areas of the skin like the knuckles and knee caps are stubborn to change and they remain resolute at the face of these creams. These are not good sights to many who carry such bodies as they keep spending to have generalised white bodies.
Many others also bleach the entirety of this huge organ except their legs giving them bodies that almost look like ‘chocolates in yellow wraps’.
Beyond the superficial devastations this ‘menace’ leave bleachers with, the use of chemical products to change skin colours has been tagged by medical reasearchers as one of the leading causes of skin cancers in Nigerians. The chemicals in these creams in combination with the sun rays of a tropical society like Nigeria’s sets the ground for a great weapon of mass destruction.
The ‘Brown Skin Girl’ may be a saviour to many who will discern beyond just entertainment to see the strength of the message within. It is indeed part of Beyonce’s gift to Africa, and greatly, Nigeria.
The song is a message to quash the complexities there are, and give people who bleach their skins a reason to shine with their God-given beautiful skins. The song may not have come at a better time, and it is one that will last a lifetime. A legendary woman’s message to generations unborn; to every brown skin girl.
Opinion contained in this article is strictly the writer’s and not Aledeh’s.