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Model in ‘racist’ Dove ad speaks out

Lola Ogunyemi

Image caption Lola Ogunyemi says the ad was taken out of context

The model in the controversial “racist” advert for Dove says it was actually meant to represent diversity.

Lola Ogunyemi has defended the Facebook ad which caused an internet backlash after it appeared to show her turning white after using the body wash.

She told Newsbeat she was excited to be part of the campaign as it was “supposed to be about all skin types deserving gentleness”.

She says the ad was taken out of context but gets why people were upset.

The ad posted on Facebook showed Lola pulling her t-shirt off to reveal a white woman underneath, followed by her doing the same to reveal an Asian woman.

This is a photo of the Dove advertising campaign.

It was part of a longer ad which featured five women of different ethnicities.

Lola says she was excited to be the “black face in the campaign”.

“I wanted to get involved because as a black woman, my race and colour in beauty and media tends not to be represented.

“Sometimes, if my skin tone is represented, it usually about skin lightening products so I was excited to be the black face in this campaign.

“I knew the concept and understood what they were trying to do creatively. I wasn’t aware of the order of which we would appear, but we were all excited about it,” says Lola.

A screenshot of the ad went viral which featured Lola and the white model.

Several people took to twitter to criticise the beauty brand.

https://twitter.com/blackgalsmagic/status/917041085746155520

“The social ad wasn’t a fair representation of the full thing,” Lola says.

But she admits Dove has previously faced backlash about the way they’ve dealt with race in its ads.

“While I think Dove has been celebrated and congratulated about campaigns in the past, they’ve also faced significant backlash about the way they’ve handled race.”

Lola, who was born in London and raised in Atlanta in the US, says she was overwhelmed by all the comments online about the ad.

“To wake up one morning to all of these messages, was unbelievable. I think the main issue is the outrage being sparked by screenshots that were posted.

“It wasn’t even the full ad that people had issue with. Because of this, a different narrative has been presented.

“Once Dove pulled the ad, it left no room for the public to get the full story.”

https://twitter.com/Dove/status/917444642047778816

Lola adds: “I’m not necessarily defending Dove wholeheartedly but I would say Dove had good intentions.

“Given the backlash they’ve faced in the past, you can see why people are upset. The fact that this could have happened should have been discussed.”

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