On 6th July, Larry Madowo interviewed Vera Sidika on the Kenyan TV show ‘The Trend.’
That interview has spawned many articles since then. The best being from no nonsense Kenyan activist Orie Rogo Manduli on The Standard newspaper
And I quote: “What is your take on the current trend of socialites, particularly the famous Vera Sidika?
I think they are all a bunch of takataka (rubbish). You media people are spawning something dangerous by promoting such characters. I think this Vera Sidika woman is very stupid. Shame on her. She is an embarrassment to women, and I feel sorry for her parents. I hope they tried their best to advise and guide her. By bleaching herself, it‘s obvious that she is ashamed to be black. If she‘s embarrassed of being black, why can‘t she just emigrate and live with people whose skin colour she considers ideal? Why come back to Africa and sell us her fake silicon behind? My daughters have posteriors that would probably bring Africa to a standstill! But they don‘t flaunt them in people‘s faces. Vera is the most despicable woman we have ever had in this country, and should be given a media blackout to protect our young girls from her bad influence and misguided ways.”
I mean this whole Vera Sidika debacle has even appeared on the BBC. It’s so depressing.
I first of all don’t get why Larry Madowo interviewed her.
He said he thought the intense criticism he got on social media was hypocritical since many Kenyan men prefer light skinned women. So was he interviewing her to please all those men? I don’t get it. I know it’s all about ratings in the media and having a blog makes me understand how getting a following is important. But at what cost really?
I mean Michael Hyatt said when you have 500 to 1000 daily unique visitors to your blog then you can get a book publisher to work with you. I want to get published but I would NEVER EVER interview her on my blog. I’ve never even seen her before July 6th, 2014.
Larry should know that there are many young girls in Kenya who watch his show and many of them can start questioning their skin color. I have a 16 year old niece in a Kenyan high school who is very tall, dark and very beautiful. My family has ensured she feels good about herself, feels beautiful and I would hate her to see Vera and start questioning her looks. We have also ingrained the message of the need to work hard in school and then here comes Vera on a national platform saying all you need is a big butt to get ahead in life (as Vera called it spongy).
Anyway I was mad at all the attention Vera got because it made me wonder aloud, “What if everyone thinks that all Kenyan women aspire to be like her and are bleaching themselves?”
What if the worlds perception of Kenyan women is that we are all like Vera Sidika? Shiver.
There’s also been a lot in the news about skin bleaching. I read a very long article on that topic that had videos and videos and more videos of how society views dark skinned women and how black women want to look lighter. And that article made it look like there is a crisis that is affecting each and every woman in Africa.
Let me set the record straight and maybe shock the bejesus out of everyone. There’s a whole bunch of African women who love themselves as they are and would not dream of using a skin lightener.
I for one have never ever wanted to mess up my skin. I had no idea there was something wrong with it to start with. Really I did not.
I was raised by loving parents who told me I could be anything I wanted to be. They took me to the best school in my town. I always did well in school. I was popular, I had many friends and everyone in my town knew my Dad and my family. I grew up in a bubble where I was Daddy’s spoiled princess. I was loved and felt loved and knew I was the best thing since sliced bread:)
There was no mention of the word skin color. There was no growing up aspiring to be a white person. White people were not my role models. Smart people were.
So my self esteem is intact. You could tell me I am a baboon that came from a jungle; you can throw a banana at me, you could put me up in display in a silly European zoo, you can write a million pieces about how being African is the worst thing that could happen to you or write about the racism in the modeling world. You could brainwash me and hypnotize me with your images of what beauty is and I’d simply yawn and try not to fall asleep.
These things don’t affect me in the least. You can think my IQ is lower because I’m African and sometimes I’ll even act it out for you, but boy are you wrong.
Don’t come to me with your skin colour s**t. Don’t come to me thinking you deserve a medal coz you are white or light skinned or yellow.
And all the men who prefer light skinned people…you will marry me if I ingest mercury to lighten my skin. Keep your proposal. It’s not that serious.
Now the best part about all this is there is a huge group of Kenyans who are like me. I have many Kenyan friends of many skin complexions. We have never even one day had a discussion about which skin lightener to use. NEVER.
We discuss getting higher education. “I’m doing my masters. I’m doing my PhD.”We discuss investing in Kenya, “I bought a one acre beach plot and I’m planning to build a bunch of apartments on it.” We discuss what kind of business to get into. We discuss health and fitness. We discuss where we want to travel to next.
My gorgeous friend has veneers and when I recently saw her I said to her, “Damn Lucy you beat me to the punch. I love your veneers.” Yeah, Lucy has Nene Leakes veneers and she’s not on any reality show.
WE NEVER DISCUSS SKIN LIGHTENING.
Actually in Kenya, people can be quite snobbish and in general people who use skin lightening creams are looked down on. I met a Kenyan lady in Malmö who lightens her skin and everyone makes fun of her. We call the skin lightening cream mkorogo (swahili for mixture) and woe unto you if you use mkorogo. It shows your lack of proper upbringing and an education (the things that people term important in Kenya).
So yeah, this Vera Sidika. First of all I think socialite is being thrown around loosely over here because a socialite is someone like Dorothy Wang who’s father Roger Wang is a billionaire and all she does is party and be fab. Or Paris Hilton.
Not Vera. Socialite my ass.
Vera is not articulate. Her educational background is very questionable. Her upbringing is very questionable as well.
I mean if I pulled a stunt like Vera my Dad would rise up from the dead like Jesus and ask me, “Like seriously is this how I raised you? I can’t stay dead anymore. You are seriously embarrassing me.”
So I don’t want to be represented by this silly girl with a spongy ass (have you ever heard of squats?) who also can’t count.
I want the whole world to think of me in the same light they think of Lupita Nyong’o. Yes. Smart, articulate, dark and gorgeous and from a good upbringing. Who goes to the gym a lot.
If I ever meet Lupita and start talking about a skin lightener she would NEVER give me the time or day.
Instead we’d be talk about a book I wrote with her in mind and I would ask her to buy the film rights for the book so she can star in and produce the movie based on my book.
And she’d be asking Oprah to meet me.
And for all the women in Nigeria using skin lighteners you seriously need Jesus. I will pray for you. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gave a TED talk and said we should all be feminists but really it should have been “I’m starting a self esteem class for my fellow Nigerian women.” (I still love her though)
So Larry Madawo for the sake of my niece please track Lupita down and bring her on ‘The Trend.’ And please read the chapter on “responsible journalism” in your school books coz we see you missed that bit. Do that instead of getting ‘fascinated’ and ‘astounded’ by the criticism you deserve.