Fans of Vybz Kartel were a bit stunned and outraged earlier this year when the Jamaican dancehall artist appeared several shades lighter than his normal chocolate brown complexion and exclaimed: “This is my new image.”
Now the artist, who is also awaiting trial on a charge of conspiracy to murder, is bottling up his new image in a line of cosmetics for men which includes a number of skin lightening items.
Kartel originally claimed to use cake soap to lighten his skin but after the Jamaican manufacturer of the clothes-bleaching product, Blue Power Group, denied his claims, Kartel said that he actually used his own special concoction which will soon be available under the Vybz label.
The 35-year-old Kingston native who obviously sees nothing wrong with such practices, likened skin lightening to straightening your hair or getting a tan—guess he failed to realize neither of those processes is permanent. In a statement to Vibe.com, he was rather straight forward about his thoughts on the backlash: “When black women stop straightening their hair and wearing wigs and weaves, when white women stop getting lip and butt injections and implants, when bald men stop getting hair transplants, and when people stop getting nose jobs and cosmetic surgery then I’ll stop using the ‘cakesoap’ and we’ll all live naturally ever after. Until then F**k you all.”
In 2007, the Jamaican government reportedly ran a Don’t Kill the Skin campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of skin-lightening products and Jamaican health authorities have stated that local doctors are dealing with increasing numbers of patients who have burnt their skin with black-market bleaching products. It does not help the cause to have a prominent entertainer advocating such physically and mentally harmful behavior.