The Black Model In The Controversial Dove Ad Responds To The Backlash

The powers-that-be over at the Dove headquarters have been wading  through a sh*t storm over the last 48 hours after a video ad they released was met with fierce criticism.

Take a look at a snippet of the ad yourself:

Most people haven’t actually seen the ad, though. Instead, this  screengrab from the ad has gone viral, sparking swift and brutal social media outrage and calls for a boycott:

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Dove responded by pulling the ad and offering a public apology:

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On the whole, the apology hasn’t been accepted:

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Real talk? we’re not really feeling the outrage of the black collective on this one, though. We like to consider ourselves as fairly woke over here on the LALM team, and even we struggled to feel up in arms.  The model featured in the ad offered some perspective in this facebook post:


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For the last year or more, Dove’s been bending over backwards to up their inclusivity game, too. Take a look at their #BeautyBias campaign ads:

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dove grey gorgeous



dove half empty half full


dove wrinkled wonderful


dove pro age merinete


Dove real beauty sketches

Dove consistently creates campaigns  featuring  different body shapes, different age ranges, and different ethnicities, so I’m sure heads are rolling over this missed mark.

What are your thoughts?

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  1. I was confused about the issue as well. This was a helluva reach. I think a lot of people jump on this mess so they seem woke. In the end, they are making us look ultra sensitive (maybe we all need some Dove). I will be using my Dove Sensitive to cleanse my sensitive skin.

  2. Wow people. I got the message that the product could be used by everyone and thought it was nice to see the beautiful young black women be first , the the red head and the middle eastern women. I did not feel that there was any racist intentions in the message. Yes I am a black women of maturity and have experienced being discriminated against. Seems that this was a innocent take. Would it have been better for a blonde to be first? I know that there is a lot of racial tension going on in this world especially in America but truly it has to stop somewhere why not here and now. Don’t perpetuate the negativity and hatred.

    1. I Love your take on this. This is how I feel also. I’m 56, and black, been discriminated against, etc. I felt the ad was innocent and well done. Insecure people will play the race card for anything. This is the America we live in today. People applaud hate today instead of standing against it. It’s just sickening.

  3. People are tired of unconscious supremacist thought permeating everything, even the brains of self-described “woke” black people such as yourself.

    Dove has “missed the mark” once before, so they obviously didn’t learn anything at all. And for all their “inclusive” advertising in the Western world, they’re busy selling bleaching creams and playing on the “the whiter the better” stereotype in poor black countries.

    Dove can have several seats. My only satisfaction is that I’m already boycotting them due to their products being absolute crap. (Most commercial body wash products are, to be fair).

    1. Please stop. No ‘unconscious supremicist thoughts permeating’ anything. People like you perpetuate discord for the love of God. It was simply showing inclusivity. Stop w the melodrama.

  4. Wow! I didn’t get offended at all! I only use Dove, and will not change! The outrage is so interesting and I wonder if it would be the same if the brown-skinned model was last. When you’re not racist, it’s difficult to think like a racist, and unfortunately that fosters a potential misunderstanding. It is also sad that some are just looking for a reason to be mad. Dag!

    1. When you are not BLACK it’s hard for you to feel the outrage that Black people feel. I really wonder how you would feel if it showed white going to Black if they used this product. . FURTHER, it’s not about thinking like a racist it’s MORE about BEING HUMAN and THINKING ABOUT THE AFFECT AND OUTCOME it will have on others. I MEAN really, everyone in the room thought this was a good ad.

  5. I’m an African American I honestly don’t see anything offensive about the commercial either. I’m also a cancer survivor. chemo has compromised my immune system namely my skin and dove is the only soap I can use that doesn’t adversely affect my skin. Honestly battles need to be pick more wisely the cause is honestly being watered down with the trivial BS.

  6. “Bending over backwards to up there invlusivity game”, they should have to bend over backwards, it should be automatic!

    1. So I meant, they should “not” have to bend over backwards…Inclusivity is natural, no effort required, it just “Is”

  7. I agree. They know how to include our black dollar with no thought. Use that same process to use Black People in ads and product development. I’m done with dove.

  8. Great article. I couldn’t agree more. At least there is a major brand out there that is WOKE enough to TRY to represent diversity in their ads. Not sure the same can be said of other beauty brands. I think Dove has been consistent in trying to showcase the range, depth and diversity of beauty. They can still get my $$$ although I think they need to hire more Black women who have final say so that debacles like this can be avoided in the future.


    This is an old tactic. This is why history should not be forgotten. There were many ads of yesteryear in which black people’s skin was turned white after bathing using soap. The black woman in this Dove ad is not changing color. Everything is brown in her photo (“dirty”). The White model is changing from brown to white (“clean”). Stop making excuses. Wake up!

    1. So is she then making herself dirty again by becoming middle eastern?? Please refer to the whole ad not just the screen shot

    2. My thoughts exactly. I studied those old ads in middle school and thought most people in the US did too. Your comment is golden I agree 100.

    3. There was a time (and it still may be going on) that black people especially women were automatically treated as if they stink or nasty.

  10. Given the racial climate in today’s society and having studied racism white/supremacy, as it relates to, propaganda; in my opinion, it looks like you took off your black self to become the “other”. I mean, to me, historically, if they wanted to be “right”, you should’ve been last, since EVERY ethnicity started with the black woman; IJS.

  11. I didn’t get offended but I did wonder how did the advertisement team allow it to get posted it makes me think that perhaps their advertisement team is not as diverse as what they’re trying to make it seem no black person would have wanted that add to be presented and changes should have been made

    1. I wonder the same. It reminds me of the east asian, I believe Korean but not sure, commercial where the undesirable black man gets washed by the woman with a detergent in the washing machine and comes out as a desirable asian man. Its like who was at that round table?!!

    2. Clearly there are NO African-Americans on Dove’s ad approval team!
      I’ve seen the memes of Michael Jackson EXACTLY like this!! SMH
      (showing him young, darker with an afro, next showed him much lighter, nose job and long straight hair! Google it. I hate both ads.
      Sad days and times..

  12. After seeing the screen shot I finally viewed the entire ad. What I realize as a former journalism the reason for the sensitivity and offensiveness of the message. On the other hand, did the team that approved the ad present it to a focus group or a sample of their target market? Was there anyone on the Dove team who represents the market their trying to distribute their product? It doesn’t appear to be a blatant act but an example of limited capacity to comprehend what is or is not offensive. The narrative is an honest dialogue that should be taking place with the president of marketing and the individuals that didn’t test market this ad first. As an African American woman I saw it as indifference to people of color.

  13. When Michael Jackson morphed people in his “Black and White” video nobody cared. And anyone with a brain would label there product for normal and dark skin unless they were wanting to be sued. Everything is racist if a Lilly white person is included in a commercial or anything else. It’s racist,white supremacy,KKK driven it becomes exhausting after a while. And white Privilege that only applies to whites with lots of green money in there bank accounts. There may very well be a bunch of bad apples in this pathetic country but companies are typically there to cateer to everyone. You want to support the Black Dollar do it then. Nobody’s stopping you. You can even relocate if you choose to. If you show fear it will knock you down but if you show faith nothing can get in your way.

    1. for one, companies are not generally there to cater to everyone. there are companies that are niche brands, dare i say most companies are niche brands in some way. and without watching the video I believe that the “black and white” video had MJ morph first and an african woman morph last. you may be sick of it because you are not a direct victim but the US is a country that was built on racist principles and it continues to thrive on racism and prejudice practices from the highest offices to the lowest. In protest of the Trayvon Martin verdict I marched through the streets of my city with a sign that said “the whole system is racist” and i meant every word of it.

  14. I get the whole universal aspect they were going for, similar to Michael Jackson’s face morphing effect in his “Black or White” video.
    The order of transformation lends itself to the racial narrative too…
    However, given their PR history, they probably should have played up the benefits of the product for different skin types (oily, dry, sensitive etc.) as opposed to different skin tones.

  15. Yes, racism exists. That is an obvious and extremely sad fact. However, the extreme racists will continue to THRIVE and WIN if we continue to “make something out of nothing.” This ad actually made me think “great, products that cater to all skin types” – nothing about racism, one is better than the other, one is more beautiful than the other, etc. came to my mind. When we react so abruptly and, for lack of better word, irrationally, we are “feeding fuel to the fire” and making those extreme racists VERY HAPPY. Reacting to something that is most likely innocent, or, even if it WERE meant to be racist, something so MINOR and SUBLIMINAL does nothing but make the extreme racist sit back and smile and know they have yet won again without having to do anything. Please, I am begging all of you, for the sake of our futures, for the sake of our children’s futures and all posterity, DO NOT LET THE EXTREME RACISTS WIN – take this for the positive message it is – or – get this – let’s say this WAS meant to be racist – imagine what a slap in the face it would be if, instead, ALL races came together and said “hey, what a great ad, it emphasizes the beauty of all races and skin tones – LOVE IT!” – think about that…THAT is the kind of response extreme racists hate – but as long as we continue to respond the way we are – they win, and I for one DO NOT want them to win.

  16. My first thought was damn you trilly went hard defending dove. are you on the payroll? of course she will say that she is on the payroll. The ad was basically a throwback as mentioned above. I feel that the concept was weak at best and totally racist at worst. A black woman happily and eagerly becoming a white woman and not just any white woman but the ultimate white woman a red head who cant tan so the whitest of white women. Then that red head white woman happily and eagerly becoming a tan white woman. hmmm just hmmm. So you are saying black is definitely bad but white is the best but the palest of the pale is not quite right you need a little tan with it. I see you.

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