OITNB’s Danielle Brooks asks: ‘Did Dove just call me dirty?’

“Thank You For The Apology, Because I Was Hurt By This”

Orange is the New Black’s Danielle Brooks has found the controversial Dove advertisement “painful”.

Brooks — who had modeled for Dove in the past — wrote in a letter for Lenny what had unfolded in the ad.

There were women on the screen, one of whom was white, and the other black. The black woman removed her brown shirt to show that there was another brown shirt underneath. But when the white woman removed her brown top, she had a white one underneath. Viewers all over the world took offense to the message.

Dove has taken the ad down, making a pvblic apology on Twitter:

Brooks wrote:

I pause. Scratch my head. Think for a minute. Wait. Dove, you want me to believe that using your soap will turn my skin into that of a white woman? No — that can’t be it. You want me to believe being black isn’t clean? You want me to believe that black = dirt and white = purity and using your soap will make me clean? Got it. You’re telling me my skin, the deep, rich melanin that I was born with and cannot change, is filthy. Got it.

“That’s painful. That stings,” she added.

And Dove, I understand that you’ve apologized for your racist, “missed the mark” ad. Good for you; we should apologize when we offend others. But do you even know what you are apologizing for? I appreciate your expression of “deep regret,” but what is it exactly that you regret?

Do you regret that your ad has caused controversy, that people were offended by the ad? Do you regret the negative publicity? The potential damage to your bottom line?

Or do you regret that you put this racist piece of nonsense out into the world? That, apparently, not one person in your organization even questioned its insidious message before approving it for release? That you put it onto Facebook with its platform of two billion users? That you fed that monster of my childhood and gave it the strength to whisper into the ears of another generation of children born a rainbow of shades? Do you own it?

Do you regret that you’ve labeled one of your products a “nourishing lotion for normal to dark skin”? Do you even have black people on your marketing and advertising team?

Do you regret becoming the most recent addition to the historical legacy of detergent companies using racist images to sell their soap?

In the past, you have shown your commitment to “thoughtfully representing women of color.” I even participated in one of those ad campaigns myself, and I was proud to be a part of it. Do you regret taking that feeling from me?

You were disrespectful, Dove. Thank you for the apology, because I was hurt by this. Thank you for reminding me that it’s not only about seeing more representation. The way in which we see representation is what truly matters. And thank you for reminding me that the whispering monster still lives, that it has not been vanquished. Thank you for reminding me that the “Black Girl Magic” and “My Melanin Is Poppin” T-shirts and jewelry I rock aren’t just statements of pride. They are armor, armor against the sneak attacks like the one I experienced over my breakfast yesterday.

Danielle Brooks is an actress, singer, and activist.

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