Leadership (Abuja)

7 March 2014

Nigeria: Between Lupita Nyong'o and Dencia

Photo: The Star
Dencia takes a swipe at Lupita.

Saying Lupita Nyong'o is probably the most famous African at the moment is an understatement: she is the world's newest break-out star. The Kenyan actress who recently won an Oscar for her role in the movie 12 Years a Slave seems to have angered Cameroonian songstress Dencia for mentioning Dencia's skin-whitening cream, Whitenicious, during a speech she gave recently at the Essence Black Women's Hollywood luncheon.

In her speech, Nyong'o talked about how she learnt to love her black skin and how comfortable she is in her "own skin". She further read a letter from one of her fans who said she was about to buy Dencia's Whitenicious cream to lighten -up her skin when Lupita "appeared on the world scene and saved" her. Dencia, on the other hand, is quite unhappy with Nyong'o's comment. Though she describes Whitenicious as a "spot-removing cream," various media outlets (including Perez Hilton.com) describe it as a "bleaching" cream. In a series of tweets she posted after Nyong'o's comment, Dencia first reacted by saying she did not know who the actress was.

She took it a little too far when she branded the actress "a slave," saying she only got the role in the celebrated movie, because she "looks like a slave". Critics have blasted the singer taking the issue too far. According to them, Lupita just said "what most feel about Dencia's bleaching cream".

Some strongly held that in an era where African women are being encouraged to be proud of their skin, women like Dencia should not take advantage of the insecurities of a few to launch products like Whitenicious which may be detrimental to their health in the long-run. At the same time, one should not forget that it is, indeed, a free world and one is allowed to do almost anything he or she pleases.

Also, Dencia need not be angry over a negative comment about her product. It might not be the first only one she'll get, anyways. If she really wants to survive in the business world, she has to develop a thick skin against comments such as Miss Nyong'o's.

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