Bleached Bleached

Bleached: The Quest for Lighter Skin

Colorism is a sickness that still plagues our society today. As absurd as it sounds in this day and age, the “White is right” mentality unfortunately still internally afflicts many. And there are individuals willing to go to extreme lengths to get there. One method is through skin bleaching.

Some skin creams promise to correct discoloration and even out hyperpigmentation, but many are used to completely alter one’s complexion. One online source claims that it is a “myth” that African-Americans use skin bleaching creams to look more Caucasian. But is it?

I grew up witnessing family members applying products in order to lighten their complexions. Over a decade later, they still swear by these same creams. “It makes my skin look smooth and clear,” a close relative told me. Her once-coco skin was now a golden caramel. It supposedly made her look younger and more radiant. She even bragged about the compliments she received after she started using the cream. Old friends begged her to divulge what she had been using. “I’ll never tell them,” she swore.

It no surprise that these creams are heavily marketed in urban communities and in neighborhoods with a population of color. A line blatantly called “Fair & White” claims to have products that “make your complexion radiant.” Then there are harsh creams like “African Queen Beauty Cream” that come under misleading names like “Organic Toning Body Lotion Skin Lightener System,” or “Complexion Lotion.“ Another called “ActiveWhite” says it makes “Whiter Skin possible, for a more beautiful you.” Really though? In 2010? The even sadder part is that there are women, like my beautiful aunts and cousins, who purchase and use these products.

Elise King*, a 22-year-old law student, started using bleaching creams at age 11. “I never thought anything was wrong with using bleaching creams,” she says. “In my community, like many African communities, it was common. My mother gave me these creams to use because she wanted me to be accepted the same way that she, a light-skinned woman, was.”

It wasn’t until she got to college that she started to question why she was altering her appearance. “I stopped using them, and tried to embrace my natural beauty,” King explains.

And it’s good that she did because, despite their seductive labels that claim the products “tone” your skin and make you “glow,” these creams can cause harm. Some imported creams made in Germany and South America have a high mercury and arsenic content and can lead to death. Too much mercury intake can shut down your kidneys, while arsenic and hydroquinone both have high cancer risks.

King admits that she still uses bleaching creams to fade dark spots or to get rid of a dark tan: “I still struggle with this issue, since I receive more compliments when I appear lighter, but I'm learning to adjust to it.”

*Name has been changed.

- Audra E. Lord

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CupcakKe Reveals Abusive Boyfriend Led Her To Contemplate Suicide

Months of abuse led to the suicidal tweet posted by Chicago native CupcakKe, earlier this month. In a lengthy message posted to her Twitter account over the weekend, the 21-year-old rapper admitted that she’s been battling depression, brought on by an abusive ex-boyfriend.

In the post titled “my disturbing read,” CupcakKe accuses a man named, Christopher Terrell, of stealing her credit cards and terrorizing her throughout their relationship.

“This is someone I’ve been dating for the past [five] months,” she wrote in the now deleted post. “Out of the kindness of my heart I gave this man over [$30,000] during this period [of] time because I understand how it feels to be without (especially after me being homeless). He also has threatened to shoot my mom in the face [and] has threatened me on multiple occasions [and] said he can do it because he will get away with it!!!! I have screenshots, recorded calls, bank statements and all types of proof.

“Me being stupid in love I have [taken] this man back multiple times but every time I take him back the abuse gets [worse],” she added.

Further in the post, CupcakKe explains that her depression from feeling trapped in the relationship resulted in her contemplating suicide. “He [has] snatched off my wig in public, broke phones [and] continues to traumatize me every step of the way! This is what [led] to my ‘I’m committing suicide’ tweet…I have called the cops multiple times and they have yet to do anything about it,” she wrote, adding that Terrell is threatening her with revenge porn. She also admitted to posting his number on social media, and the numbers of women that he “plotted” with  to steal her money.

“Yes I am wrong for that,” she said. “But by me sending this message out it is not for harm to be sent his way, it’s for the police to make things way more serious!!!! Also this message is for every young girl or anyone in general that is struggling with abuse right now. I get u (once you see the first sign) leave!!!”

Read the full post below.

@Chicago_Police y’all really need to do something about @CupcakKe_rapper and her situation, she’s mentioned reaching out to y’all multiple times about this and nothings happened! Please do something before it’s too late... pic.twitter.com/ZczGq1jmcK

— moonlight_baes (@m00nlight__baes) January 20, 2019

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Kelly Rowland Says Her Highly-Anticipated Project Is "Definitely Coming"

Six years ago, Kelly Rowland released her fourth studio album titled Talk a Good Game. The project boasted hit singles like "Kisses Down Low" and the transparent "Dirty Laundry." Now, the Houston native is preparing to release a project that'll surely satisfy fans' patient earbuds.

In an interview with Billboard, Rowland shared her hopes for putting out a new body of work and the pressure that she's encountered since she's been in the studio. "This is by far the longest, most pressure-filled process ever, only because I know what it's supposed to be and I have been so hard on myself. I know it," she said. "And it's the first time I've said it out loud. I've been extremely hard on myself. But it's definitely coming, and I'm more so excited about this project than anything else."

The news follows the recent release of Rowland's "Kelly" track, which was met with critical acclaim in November 2018. In addition to preparing the release of new music, the "Motivation" singer discussed fans' wish for a Destiny's Child reunion. The rumors have been fueled by social media photographs of Rowland with either Beyonce or Michelle or all three, especially during Beyonce's past Coachella performance. But Rowland assures readers that it's not what they think.

"It's so funny. I guess every time people see us together, they just see music but I see sisterhood, and that's what we are and that's what me, her, Michelle [Williams] and Solange and I are. People see us all together, they immediately think music. I'm like, no. Just family." As Rowland previously mentioned Solange, she hopes to one day work with her again.

"I'm a huge fan," she said. "I love her writing and how detailed and particular she is. I always wanted to figure out how the heck she has so many different layers of harmonies when she is constructing these vocals, and it's so complex but simple. It's genius. It's the genius in her genius mind that she has in there." One of the last times the pair collaborated was on Rowland's "Simply Deep" track off her debut solo album of the same name. Solange also penned a few songs off the same project. Fast forward to 2016, and Rowland's vocals were featured on Solange's iconic A Seat at the Table.

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Teyana Taylor To Pay Homage To Ballroom Culture In "WTP" Video

Teyana Taylor aims to keep her hot streak of innovative videos coming thanks to this recent announcement. Taking to Instagram on Wednesday (Jan. 9), the "Gonna Love Me" singer will show adoration to ballroom culture in the visual for "WTP."

Directed by Gregory "Beef" Jones, The Aunties Inc., and Taylor herself, the Harlemite takes viewers on her journey to the expression-filled space where she hopes to rack up 10s across the board from a group of judges. The premise of the video also seems to follow a mockumentary format airing on a fictional network named FEMTV. Alongside Taylor, other men and women get ready to display their talents and confidence on the ballroom floor.

"WTP" is featured on the mother-of-one's sophomore album, K.T.S.E., which was released in June 2018. While the rollout's controversy didn't entirely muddle the excitement behind the project's debut, Taylor said she was sold on the idea that her album would be treated as the biggest out of G.O.O.D. Music's string of releases last year.

"I didn't know ahead of time that there wouldn't be any singles or visuals. But I knew that it was going to be the five-album thing," she said during a HOT 97 interview. "[Kanye] wanted [my album] to be last, he wanted mine to be the biggest. That's the way they sauced it up. I was sold."

The video will debut on Jan. 19. Check out the teaser below.

 

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👀 1.19.19 👀 #WTP Directed by @teyanataylor & @ogbeefjones @theauntiesinc 🙏🏾🙌🏾🙏🏾 The wait is ALMOST over. 😏 @museumofsex

A post shared by Jimmy Neutch- Shumpert (@teyanataylor) on Jan 8, 2019 at 6:32pm PST

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