After years of promoting racism in the guise of selling skin-whitening products, Unilever has decided to change the name of its controversial brand ‘Fair & Lovely.’ The company has said that the next step in the evolution of its skincare portfolio was ‘to a more inclusive vision of beauty – which includes the removal of the words ‘fair/fairness’, ‘white/whitening’, and ‘light/lightening’ from its products’ packs and communication.’ The company said that it will announce a new name for the ‘Fair & Lovely’ brand in the next few months. The company’s sudden concern for diversity comes amidst the Black Lives Matter campaign across the globe.
Sunny Jain, President Beauty & Personal Care, said in a statement, “We are fully committed to having a global portfolio of skin care brands that is inclusive and cares for all skin tones, celebrating greater diversity of beauty. We recognise that the use of the words ‘fair’, ‘white’ and ‘light’ suggest a singular ideal of beauty that we don’t think is right, and we want to address this. As we’re evolving the way that we communicate the skin benefits of our products that deliver radiant and even tone skin, it’s also important to change the language we use.”
Unilever’s decision to correct its years of falsehood did not go down well with activists. Kavita Krishnan wrote, “Hey @Unilever, stop piggybacking the BLM movement for profits. You weren’t just selling a cream, your ads preyed on racism, sold the notion that dark skin = insecurities, white skin = confidence, success. Drop the disgusting bleach product, not the name! Issue a public apology.”
One user, Siddharth Singh, wrote on Twitter, “I don’t see an apology anywhere for your years of nationwide propaganda, fueling anxiety and bias based on skin colour.” User Payal Gupta commented, “Damage has been done. It’s like ‘hey, we will drop the word “fair” from the title coz we want some cool points but who doesn’t know what this product does. It WHITENS you, that too unnaturally. So long u know what it does, how does it matter what it’s called?”
As well as rebranding ‘Fair & Lovely,’ Unilever has also decided to change the name of its ‘Fair & Lovely Foundation’ later this year.
Black Lives Matter campaign protests have erupted across the globe after a White US policeman mercilessly killed a George Floyd, a Black American.