Blackface or not blackface? The online reactions to SkinWhite’s controversial ad

Local beauty brand SkinWhite recently posted an ad promoting both light and dark skin tones, emphasizing that they’re beautiful. However, the whole thing felt like an April Fools’ joke—except it’s not.

The video and poster showed two sets of men and women with contrasting skin tones. At first, people thought it had an empowering message, even praising SkinWhite for finally highlighting a skin tone other than white.

But here’s the kicker: The two models, sisters Marianne Bibal and Martha Bibal, aren’t dark-skinned. SkinWhite darkened the skin of the latter to portray their message. Some even thought they were “fraternal [biracial] twins” before finding out the truth.

If you want to see what Marianne and Martha look like, here’s a series of photos from netizens, including other models they allegedly black/brownfaced for the shoot.

More proof that SkinWhite darkened their models’ skin: their Twitter page’s cover photo.

Several called out SkinWhite for using this tactic and not hiring actual dark-skinned talents for the ad, and rightfully so. For the longest time, we’ve seen ads that say “looking dark is bad or ugly,” and lighter skin is glorified.

What’s even more interesting are netizens defending SkinWhite’s ad. Many insisted it wasn’t blackface nor racist because “they’re (the Bibal twins) both Filipino.” Wow, that’s a lot to unpack right there, honey.

Diversity means including people of all types, regardless of their gender, body type, and skin color. You include with the mindset that it’s normal, not because you want to meet a quota or gain popularity points from the general public. Especially when you’re misleading your audience with your promotional material.

 

Video screengrab from SkinWhite’s Instagram account

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