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by - January 08, 2019

fela yellow fever

 You dey bleach oh you dey bleach...
The song blasted from Ovie’s mini speakers as she got into the shower, thanks to her parents, she listened  to a lot of Fela growing up. 
This particular song had always been comical rather to her. As children, she and her brother always looked at one another and snicker at the line;
“You get your double colour, your nyash go black like e coal.”
It had been an hour since she read an article about Nigerians being the number one consumers of  Bleaching products, and so this time, as Ovie listened to her favourite Fela record, the song became less comical, in fact she felt a bit attacked by the song,
Wasn't it a bit extreme to compare Hay fever and Malaria to altering your skin tone, she thought.Especially since those that did it were in no way affecting anyone, as a matter of fact, for as long as she can remember the good that came skin lightening always outweighed the so called negatives.
Right from her high school days, she witnessed one of the outcomes of skin lightening, watching her bunkmate Jessica  empty a tube of Anti-inflammatory cream into her jar of lotion for its lightening side effects. 
“It’ll help return me to my natural complexion” she would say. 

University wasn’t any different, Ovie had friends who used expensive products to lighten their skin. Once she had a friend tell her she needed it to give her an edge in the labour market, especially at marketing jobs.  That year she would've  purchased the same products as her friend if it wasn't so expensive.  
She had to wait three years till she secured a good job to afford for some of the products available. 
As the music played, she recalled how at different points in her life, she was convinced lighter was better, Like the time her baby sister was born, and her uncles celebrated the fact she came out fair unlike her, 
"You'll collect big bride price for this one oh,"  they said.
Or the numerous times she was entertained by the constant online battle between Nigerians and Ghanaians, her side always led with jokes about most of the opposition being extremely  dark in  complexion. She also remembered the times she spent hours playing in the sun and her mother scrubbed her down, and made her stay indoors for days.
"I won't have you looking like coal," she would say. 

Maybe Fela was right after all, maybe our obsessive adoration for lighter skin could actually be likened to a fever,   because just like every fever, it’s  a symptom to a bigger issue, an issue most people are aware of but would rather not talk about because it puts us in a position of vulnerability.
She found it funny how since the dark is beautiful era caught on, most people spend their time policing men and women who altered their skin tone, rather than being more aware of how we on our own drive these people into altering their skin. For one she had friends who still made snarly comments whenever they saw dark babies, and then there are people she also knows, who think scoring a white husband or wife will give them beautiful  babies.
As the saxophone solo faded at the end of the record, Ovie stared at her naked reflection in the bathroom mirror, it’s been years since got self-aware, stopped using her products and became caramel tone again, and even though she had become a champion on matters involving self-love, it was impossible not to think about her level of guilt in the matter.

I'd like to your know your opinions on Ovie's thoughts on the issue of skin lightening in Nigeria, kindly do this by making use of the comments section below.
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  1. I really enjoy reading your blog. You have really good contents. I’m also proud that we have started seeing skin bleaching as a problem in Nigeria. Well done ����