Korean brand StyleNanda missed the opportunity for diversity inclusion in its latest campaign for its 3CE beauty line. In a new advertisement for its Lacquer nail polish, the brand featured two models showcasing the same nail color with one model’s palm being considerably darker than a palm’s natural color.
Korean beauty YouTuber, Darcei Amada first noticed the advertisement and brought it to the attention of her followers on her social media and later YouTube channel, MissDarcei.
“What in tarnation,” she tweeted.
Darcei initially thought seeing a dark hand was nice because it was something she had never seen the brand do before. On closer inspection, she noticed something was wrong with the picture.
“I looked closer and saw the dark hand looked weird,” she said. “I noticed the palm was unnaturally dark.”
Darcei made light of the situation acknowledging Korea’s unfamiliarity with dark-skinned tones as the basis for the mistake.
“I know Koreans aren’t educated about dark skinned people, so I wasn’t offended,” she said. “But, I was also very confused as to why they would use a dark hand in a campaign period.”
The racism displayed in the advertisement shows the current disregard for Black people. There is the possibility the company simply altered the hand of an Asian model. Altering the hand of any person to replicate darker skin is abominable. If a company cannot find some who has dark skin to fit the concept of their promotions, then it would be wise to continue using the models it already has without editing their skin tone.
Blackface in any form is pure ignorance. Any body part darkened to imitate those of Black or dark-skinned people could be considered Blackface.
I don’t expect every country to know every country’s history with racism, but I do expect some form of research before considering some that can be controversial.
Black and dark-skinned people are underrepresented, mocked and disregarded in cultures around the world. Ultimately, the only way to fix these issues is willful education and inclusion.
About 2 million foreigners live in South Korea making 3.4% of the country’s population with Black foreigners being an extremely small fraction of the percentage. Black foreigners face racism throughout the country because of poor media representation. Stereotypes of black people around the world create a stigma that is difficult to break.
L’Oreal’s acquisition of StyleNanda’s parent company, Nanda, gives the company an opportunity prepare itself in marketing to diverse audiences. StyleNanda 3CE is a gateway to Korean beauty. Fans buy the products their favorite idols and celebrities wear.
StyleNanda 3CE is in a position to include diversity in their future advertisement which could break beauty stereotypes for darker-skinned women. It would accurately show soft shades of color look good on dark skin too.
Globalization’s impact on Korean pop culture consumption makes it hard to comprehend the ignorance of publishing such a photo. Korean pop-culture and Asian pop-culture imitate aspects of Western pop-culture popularized by Black people and darker-skinned people of color.
The rise of K-pop has increased interest in Korean beauty among darker-skinned youth. The brand’s neglect in acknowledging the features of dark-skinned people show just how far the Korean companies have before entering the global market.
Diversity is the driving force in successful beauty brands. It is beneficial for StyleNanda to take note.
Twitter user @RBCA07 hits the nail on the head as she mentions the list of people the advertisement had to go through.
Darcei is hopeful Korean brands will improve their marketing when becoming a global competitor.
“I just hope people understand that Korean brands in general have a long way to go in terms of knowing what is appropriate marketing for the global market,” said Darcei. ” Give them time and education and things will change. They really are still learning.”
StyleNanda deleted the image and apologized to its customers.
Written by Nnhkai Agbor