Yes to light skin, no to dark skin

Last week a call was placed to my phone from a young lady with the ambition of becoming an actress. She also has the interest to present or host events. My number was given to her by a colleague who thinks that I can be of help.

After making series of calls, I arranged for her to be auditioned by a company that was in need of female emcees to replace the existing ones who were about to leave to do one thing or the other.

I’m sharing this experience with you for a reason and I will not disclose the name of the company, the program they run and the television stations that telecast it. Mentioning names won’t necessarily add anything to whatever it is that I want to share with you.

I’m writing about it because of the recent report that gained currency in the country to the effect that American artiste Akon and Nigerian act, Wizkid had requested that  dark skinned models brought for their music video shoot in Ghana be sent away and replaced with light skinned models.Black and White

The rate at which the entertainment industry in Ghana is gradually turning its back on dark skinned artistes and gladly welcoming light skinned persons is something to worry about. Don’t you think, it is the reason why bleaching is becoming rife in the industry?

It appears that the era when sex was used to get roles and other benefits is gradually being replaced with skin colour.

The fact that an upcoming female actress, model or presenter is asked to warm the bed of some big man before opportunities are made available to them to do what they enjoy doing or what they are good at doing to meet their future aspiration is one thing that has been widely discussed and is still being talked about in the entertainment industry in Ghana.

The big man in this context can be a director or producer in the movie industry who by virtue of his position, capitalises on that to exploit young ladies before offering them roles in movies. Sometimes, there are no guaranteed roles to fill even after the innocent and desperate young ladies have been exploited.

Nollywood actress Thelma O’ Kaz

Nollywood actress Thelma O’ Kaz

When it comes to modelling, it is about that big man who visits the honey pot of ladies before he pens down a contract for the services of the young models who are employed as ushers at his company’s event or an event that he is in charge. The same goes for young ladies with the zeal to become a presenter. It has become an industry of ‘you scratch my back I scratch your back’ thing.

All that a young lady need to do is to know how to scratch the back of some big man if only the one wants to be given the chance to try out something he or she really desires. In the process, one get her back scratched by the big man and is granted her wish. Win-Win situation, you might call it.

The practice is as old as Adam. I mean it is not new and from the look of things and stories that are told almost on daily basis, it is not dying anytime soon as many ladies are themselves even ready to give in before they are asked. However, discussions are still ongoing to curb the trend.

But, it will be difficult to curbe it totally, after all, if the victims themselves are quick and willing to give in, then what purpose is there to try to eradicate it?

That said, a totally different trend has also reared its ugly head and is partly to blame for the upsurge in black or dark skin ladies turning themselves into light skins overnight. Many of them have resorted to bleach to catch the eyes of big men in charge. How do they do this and why do they do that?

Nigerian man

The trend can best be described as ‘no to dark skin’ and ‘yes to light skin’. Occasionally, it is made to believe that being black or dark is beautiful but being light skinned is more attractive in this part of the world. This is not a 19th century belief. It is what is happening now!

Strangely enough, despite dangers associated with skin bleaching, there are still some who are willing to bleach and damn the consequences. Shouldn’t society be blamed for the upsurge in skin bleaching nowadays? I think so!

Admittedly, there is a growing perception in the Ghana entertainment industry that light skinned personalities or those of mixed race have advantage over their counterparts who unfortunately have dark skin colour. I said unfortunately not to mean that being dark or black is bad, not at all.

Is it the fault of those of mixed race to be light skinned? If no, then why are we making it seem as if being light skinned is alright but being black or dark skinned is a curse? Why are we glorifying the light skinned and shunning the dark skinned? Why are there more opportunities for light skin people, then there is for dark skin people in the entertainment industry in Ghana?

Being light skin has some degree of attraction attached to it and people with that skin colour appear as confident if not over-confident, than perhaps those with dark skin. This is debatable, but admittedly that’s the impression out there.

Ghanaian actress Salma Mumin shares that sentiment, “I admit being light skinned is nice because it gives you some confidence …”

South African Kwaito artist Mshoza

South African Kwaito artist Mshoza

Back to my early story. The lady in question was left disappointed because she was boldly told that the company was looking for people with light skin to host the show; meaning she’s not going to be given the chance because of her skin colour. I could feel how heartbroken she was even on the phone as she conveyed the information to me.

When I tried to pry into why such degrading statement was made, I was told that the directive came from the boss of the company. Should society, as it were, blame the lady when she begins to bleach her skin in order to be noticed?

Now, the next time an observation is made of people in the industry toning their skin, perhaps it may not be because they enjoy doing so, it might be because they want to be noticed. Well, look around now, the attention is on the mixed race or light skinned people.

By:  Ebenezer Anangfio / Graphic Showbiz

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