First we'd like to clarify some things: We're not thinking full-baked on race performance or how standards of beauty develop here and now. Also, cake soap is soap that is used all over the West Indies to wash white clothes. There's no proof that it has bleaching qualities of any kind, but it is definitely accepted and works as laundry soap. That established, we don't think what has happened to Vybz Kartel is the work of cake soap. But it is sad. In this Bridalplasty "change every thing you hate about yourself because you can" moment, Vybz Kartel may not be any more guilty or misled than other over-watched celebrities and reality contestants. Except this type of shit is actually harmful! Don't you remember your mother telling you never to stick your hand into anything that had bleach in it? How can it make sense to rub that on your skin? Vybz, seriously, you look ill dude and this makes us sad because 1) obviously we love you and 2) because you're hawking your own cake soap to other folks and they're getting excited. Can you even go out in the sun anymore? You said you "feel comfortable with black people lightening their skin," and that "it's tantamount to white people getting a sun tan.” Excessive tanning is dangerous and cancer-causing. Somebody could and, probably is, writing a thesis about the socio-psychological long standing implications of the skin bleaching but that's not why we're here. We're just here to say: this blows. For a bit more, this is NPR's take and some thoughts from their listeners.
January 20, 2011