Skin bleaching in Jamaica has become a pathology, says Jamaica health officials. Despite public health campaigns and reggae hits, such as Black and Proud Nuh Bleach, blasting the reckless practice, people in Jamaica are determined to achieve lighter skin, thus ignoring the risks. They believe fairer skin is their one way ticket to a better life, with better jobs.
“I hear the people that say bleaching is bad, but I’ll still do it. I won’t stop ’cause I like it and I know how to do it safe,” said a 23-year-old Kingston ghetto slum resident, who hopes to transform her dark complexion to a cafe-au-lait-colour, common among Jamaica’s elite, and favored by many men in her neighborhood.
Another 20-year-old resident of the Matthews Lane slum, said skin bleaching just makes her feel special, like she’s walking around in a spotlight. She was taught to bleach by her older sister and her friends.
One Jamaica resident even went as far as putting out a public service announcement on Youtube, with claims that skin bleaching for black people is more important than food itself (watch below).
“Bleaching has gotten far worse and widespread in recent years,” says the ministry’s director of health promotion and protection. “(Bleachers) want to be accepted within their circle of society. They want to be attractive to the opposite sex. They want career opportunities. But we are saying there are side effects and risks. It can disfigure your face.”The problem is serious. Health officials are running warnings on local radio stations, putting up posters in schools, holding talks and handing out literature about the dangers. But a similar anti-bleaching campaign in 2007 called “Don’t Kill the Skin” did nothing to slow the craze.
Jamaican reggae artist, Vybz Kartel, is another resident who doesn’t care what people say. He made headlines a while back for his controversial image after bleaching his skin. The reggae star admitted to using the bleaching method, and when critics bashed him for his choice to turn lighter shades, he responded via Vibe.com saying this:“I’m my own man, and as such I do my own thing. When black women stop straightening their hair and wearing wigs and weaves, when white women stop getting lip and butt injections and implants, when bald men stop getting hair transplants, and when people stop getting nose jobs and cosmetic surgery then I’ll stop using the ‘cakesoap’ and we’ll all live naturally ever after. Until then F**k you all.”
Source: Associated Press