I would have said no, says black model in Dove's controversial ad

DoveVerified account        @Dove

DoveVerified account @Dove

In an opinion piece published in The Guardian on Wednesday, Ogunyemi says she was excited about the ad, worked with a positive team and understood the concept and overreaching objectivity of the ad.

Lola Ogunyemi, the black model who was featured in Dove's recent controversial advert, has spoken out for the first time since the outrage on social media and subsequent apology from the personal care brand.

While that post has been taken down, there are screenshots from the ad circulating broadly online. Saturday, the brand said it had "missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully". Dove's intention may not have been to carry on the tradition of racist soap ads, but this is the likely result when companies want to practice diversity but fail at inclusion.

I found Ogunyemi's essay to be a masterpiece of emotionalintelligence(which is the focus of my work and the topic of my forthcoming book, EQ, Applied).

"There is a lack of trust here, and I feel the public was justified in their initial outrage", she wrote.

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However, images for the Facebook advertisement caused a social media frenzy when she was pictured removing her t-shirt only for a white woman to appear. "I've grown up very aware of society's opinion that dark-skinned people, especially women, would look better if our skin were lighter", began Ogunyemi. They also argue that there is a long history with the beauty industry of skin whitening products and depictions of women of color insensitively.

"If I even had the slightest inclination that I would be portrayed as inferior, or as the "before" in a before and after shot, I would have been the first to say an emphatic "no".

Ogunyemi herself knows quite a bit about how advertising works. And for a brand that has been determined to celebrate the "ordinary woman" - even though some ideas, such as various curvy-shaped bottles, thankfully never got past the whiteboards in a conference room - the fact no one within Dove or its external advisors stopped to think that the ad could be taken the wrong way raises plenty of questions. She earned an MBA and now works for a digital marketing agency in London, according to her company bio. However, she noted that her "friends and family loved" the video. The ad dropped on Dove USA's Facebook page on October 8th at an attempt to advertise Dove Bodywash.

'While I agree with Dove's response to unequivocally apologise for any offense caused, they could have also defended their creative vision, and their choice to include me, an unequivocally dark-skinned black woman, as a face of their campaign.

The post has been removed and the company has not released any other content related to the ad. Ogunyemi also said, "I am not just some silent victim of a mistaken beauty campaign".

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