Soap company Dove has been slammed for being racist after one of its adverts showed a black woman turning white apparently after using a Dove body wash.
The post has been removed and the company has not released any other content related to the ad. Ogunyemi also said, "I am not just some silent victim of a mistaken beauty campaign".
The ad was a gif showing a black woman taking off her brown shirt to reveal a white woman, who then took off her lighter-colored shirt, revealing a woman of color in a slightly darker shirt. For the most part, what went viral was her morphing into a white woman.
They partnered with Shonda Rhimes to celebrate real beauty; they have ads that feature all skin colours and body types, and they champion everyday women as brand ambassadors, as opposed to air-brushed celebrities.
"I had been excited to be a part of the commercial and promote the strength and beauty of my race, so for it to be met with widespread outrage was upsetting", she wrote in The Guardian. There were seven of us in the full version, different races and ages, each of us answering the same question: "'If your skin were a wash label, what would it say?'"
But that being said, Ogunyemi still believes in Dove's concept, and wishes that the company would have fought back against these racist claims, and also highlighted Ogunyemi's participation.
While she agreed with Dove's unequivocal apology, she said it could also have defended its creative vision and its choice to include her as the face of the 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", the model says in her closing remarks.
Dove posted the short video on its Facebook page on Friday, October 6. The beauty brand followed up with a lengthier post Monday explaining their concept to "be a celebration of diversity". "Calls were being made to boycott Dove products, and friends from all over the world were checking on me to see if I was OK".
However, images for the Facebook advertisement caused a social media frenzy when she was pictured removing her t-shirt only for a white woman to appear. No lie. If you Google "racist ad" right now, a picture of my face is the first result.
Ogunyemi does understand how the snapshots could've been interpreted the way they have, given Dove's history, receiving similar backlash from black women. "There is a lack of trust here, and I feel the public was justified in their initial outrage".
Dove said the three-second clip "missed the mark in representing women of colour thoughtfully" and deeply regretted any offence caused. "I am strong, I am attractive, and I will not be erased".
"The narrative has been written without giving consumers context on which to base an informed opinion", Ogunyemi wrote.