- The Washington Times - Monday, February 18, 2013

Senegal women seem to be facing an identity crisis of sorts. Recent advertisements and posters aimed at teaching black women how to bleach their skin — and go lighter, or whiter — have now been met by a backlash of activists.

Black is beautiful, these outraged activists are claiming, according to a report by Agence France-Presse.

The cultural beauty trend toward white started a year ago, with ads in the capital Dakar for a cream called “Khess Petch” — meaning “all white” in the local tribal language, AFP reports. The ads showed before-after pictures of cream users who were black, but 15 days later, appeared with much fairer skin, AFP reports. Activists have started a counter-campaign, rooted at the website Agendakar.com.

“We were scandalized [by ads] suggesting that black is not beautiful because it recommends that young women should transform themselves in a fortnight,” said Aisha Deme, who runs the website, in the AFP report. “In spontaneous response, we wanted to elevate the black woman and we launched ‘Nuul Kukk,’ which means ‘all black.’ “

The “all black” campaign has countered with its own advertisements — these ones, of proud black women, Ms. Deme said, in the AFP report.