||How do you tell your teenage self to stop drinking those bottles of bleach?||
The lacerations left behind by Dove’s latest racist ad campaign
Slices its way through layers of caramel and chocolate skin.
And apologies may be made,
We did not endeavour hate
But this nation knows all too well of e m p t y apologies to
People of Colour.
‘The diversity of real beauty is core to our beliefs’
But this core is only skin deep
This core is the rotten apples laced with poisoned tongues
Words washed away with the same soap used to
Scrub away at
Have you heard of ‘Nulla Nulla’ soap
‘Australia’s white hope’
Soap scrubbed the black from this nation’s skin
Through ethnic cleansing we’ve killed our kin.
The white dove sneers at us as though we’re pigeons
‘This is diversity’
When all we feel is adversity
Dove’s corporate cousin Fair and lovely
Stocks supermarket shelves across the globe.
There is nothing
fairin genocide nothing fairin the racial barometer that determines
who is worthy and who is not nothing
fairin claims to crack through coconut husk skin to
ooze the white that lies inside nothing
fairin the hands that tan in the sun squeezing the
bottles of bleach upon our skin.
Sun kissed s e a s of the Philippines
Cascade every colour under the sun
Yet every billboard on every road
Lacks the magandang morena girl
So I ask you
What the Beckery is this shit?
How are we so complacent to this?
Leaving the white prints on our face
From those who tried to slap us into place
This skin is not mud splashed on our faces
From the stomping feet of the conquistador
This skin is not yours to fetishise
This skin is not yours to demoralise
We will decolonise and moisturise
This Skin Does Not Come Off
And I am tired of always being a dark cascade to a sea of twinkling white stars.
But there’s no market for your type your face and words are all the same
I’m sure we did all we could do to try and acknowledge you
When Rihanna released 40 shades in her foundation collection
New faces entered Sephora’s reflections
Hoping to get a better inspection
Of colours that matched to our complexion
After years of beauty counter retrospection
Scanning colour palettes with circumspection
Hand and product made no connection
Hearts pumped blood laced with dejection
Of an entire industry’s outright rejection
It feels like colour correction
When you are shade twenty-one
Instead of the only one
Who wriggles their way
Into whatever shade of tan they have available that day.
It feels like antiseptic for the lacerations that seek to drain
The melanin from our skin.
It feels like hands r e a c h i n g out to teenage girls
Pulling the white masks off of their faces
You are magandang morena,
A beautiful brown skinned girl
You need not drink
Those bottles of bleach
- 100: BROWNFACESUBMIT NOW with W S Dunn 99: SINGAPORECOMING SOON with A Pang and J Ip 97 & 98: PROPAGANDAwith M Breeze and S groth 96: NO THEME IXwith M Gill and J Thayil 95: EARTHwith M Takolander 94: BAYTwith Z Hashem Beck 93: PEACHwith L Van, G Mouratidis, L Toong 92: NO THEME VIIIwith C Gaskin 91: MONSTERwith N Curnow 90: AFRICAN DIASPORAwith S Umar 89: DOMESTICwith N Harkin 88: TRANSQUEERwith S Barnes and Q Eades 87: DIFFICULTwith O Schwartz & H Isemonger 86: NO THEME VIIwith L Gorton 85: PHILIPPINESwith Mookie L and S Lua 84: SUBURBIAwith L Brown and N O'Reilly 83: MATHEMATICSwith F Hile 82: LANDwith J Stuart and J Gibian 81: NEW CARIBBEANwith V Lucien 80: NO THEME VIwith J Beveridge 57.1: EKPHRASTICwith C Atherton and P Hetherington 57: CONFESSIONwith K Glastonbury 56: EXPLODE with D Disney 55.1: DALIT / INDIGENOUSwith M Chakraborty and K MacCarter 55: FUTURE MACHINES with Bella Li 54: NO THEME V with F Wright and O Sakr 53.0: THE END with P Brown 52.0: TOIL with C Jenkins 51.1: UMAMI with L Davies and Lifted Brow 51.0: TRANSTASMAN with B Cassidy 50.0: NO THEME IV with J Tranter 49.1: A BRITISH / IRISH with M Hall and S Seita 49.0: OBSOLETE with T Ryan 48.1: CANADA with K MacCarter and S Rhodes 48.0: CONSTRAINT with C Wakeling 47.0: COLLABORATION with L Armand and H Lambert 46.1: MELBOURNE with M Farrell 46.0: NO THEME III with F Plunkett 45.0: SILENCE with J Owen 44.0: GONDWANALAND with D Motion 43.1: PUMPKIN with K MacCarter 43.0: MASQUE with A Vickery 42.0: NO THEME II with G Ryan 41.1: RATBAGGERY with D Hose 41.0: TRANSPACIFIC with J Rowe and M Nardone 40.1: INDONESIA with K MacCarter 40.0: INTERLOCUTOR with L Hart 39.1: GIBBERBIRD with S Gory 39.0: JACKPOT! with S Wagan Watson 38.0: SYDNEY with A Lorange 37.1: NEBRASKA with S Whalen 37.0: NO THEME! with A Wearne 36.0: ELECTRONICA with J Jones