Woman in controversial Dove ad says images were 'misinterpreted'

Dove has removed a recent ad showing a black woman removing her shirt to reveal a white woman. The ad has caused an uproar on social media

The model in the controversial Dove ad speaks out: “I am not just some silent victim”

Screenshots from the ad quickly sparked a furious backlash and boycott declarations, with consumers suggesting its subtext was racist and tone-deaf.

"Having the opportunity to represent my dark-skinned sisters in a global beauty brand felt like the flawless way for me to remind the world that we are here, we are handsome, and more importantly, we are valued", Ogunyemi said.

Dove has removed the post from its Facebook page and posted comments on social media Saturday saying it "missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully".

"I feel the public was justified in their initial outrage", she said.

Overwhelmed by the controversy, Ogunyemi assured that she wouldn't have agreed to participate if she had any inclination that she, and other dark-skinned women, would be portrayed as inferior.

"I am not just some silent victim of a mistaken beauty campaign", Ogunyemi wrote. She said she understands why the snapshots of the campaign can be "misinterpreted", but said the outcry lacked context.

This also included "their choice to include me, an unequivocally dark-skinned Black woman, as a face of their campaign,"she added".

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 incident is not the first time the Dove brand has come under fire for "before and after" ads that are perceived to be racially insensitive. "I would have been the first to say an emphatic "no". I would have walked right off set and out of the door. "That is something that goes against everything I stand for". Consumers had reacted angrily to images of a black woman removing a brown shirt and appearing to transform into a white woman removing a similar shirt. "I am strong, I am handsome, and I will not be erased".

In defence of Dove, the model assured that her experience with the brand, and on-set, was nothing but positive, assuring that ad's concept was clearly communicated- using the models' differences to unite them in idea that all skin deserves gentleness. But a shortened GIF that circulated around social media may have lost the message, she says.

"I've grown up very aware of society's opinion that dark-skinned people, especially women, would look better if our skin were lighter", she begins. In an emailed statement Sunday, Dove said the ad, a three-second video clip, "did not represent the diversity of real beauty which is something Dove is passionate about and is core to our beliefs, and it should not have happened ... we apologize deeply and sincerely for the offense that it has caused".

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