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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Marketing Beauty To African Women



Written By: Nani Hapa—There is no denying the global pervasiveness and stickiness of western pop culture. BeyoncĂ© means “music phenom” in English, Swahili, Yoruba, and Zulu, but Miriam Makeba does not translate to the same across cultures, even though there is no serious question that Makeba has defined that space in Africa. Although African countries have local celebrities—Omotola Jalade Ekeinde (Nigeria), Lira (South Africa), Jackie Appiah (Ghana), Angelique Kidjo (Benin) to name a few—as a general matter, Africans have imported and correspondingly celebrated western pop culture en masse without critical regard to who or what we are celebrating. As a result, western celebrities have been elevated in
Africa—translating directly into dollars and cents with respect to everything from album sales to endorsement deals—at the expense of African celebrities. This is most apparent in the fashion industry where marketing campaigns targeting African women are littered with western celebrities: Scarlett Johansen for Dolce & Gabbana, Kate Moss for Yves Saint Laurent, and Halle Berry for Revlon, to name a few.

Increasingly, however, the fashion industry is becoming hip to the star power of African celebrities, and it is paying off for African celebrities who are ever more scoring endorsement deals as brand ambassadors, not just because of their beauty (as has been the case with African models such as Liya Kebede for Louis Vuitton) but because of their celebrity status. Read about Marketing Beauty To African Women.

(Photo Credits: L'Oreal)

6 comments:

ThePurpleSky.com said...

Excellent post.I am an African American and wish there was more crossover of African fashion and African celebrities to the West. I feel we're missing out but even here when it comes to high fashion we are still left out ourselves in the larger sense. Keep doing what you do Mimi. You're fabulous!

Mimi Reader said...

I could not agree more with this article; although I get the point about African American celebrities being marketed towards an African market, I am not troubled by that because I do think that when we start having an "us" versus "them" attitude, we are divided and quickly fall. BUT I do wish that the African American celebrities that were celebrated were more diverse (i.e. not just Queen Latifah, Beyonce, and Halle Berry ... hm, what do they all have in common? LIGHT complexion). And I do think that African celebrities need to get a piece of the pie when it comes to endorsement deals, at least in the African countries where they are widely celebrated.

Anonymous said...

How can one determind beauty for another or market it for that matter. wake up people our we originals or trying to portray a front. You mean what The master created is not beatiful enough that we have to attempt to recreate, it a failed effeort for the lost ones. Esi, MD.

Anonymous said...

Beyonce is a horrible role model for African women abd i've seen much better looking African women than her. I don't know why she is put on a pedastal when nothing about her is special and/or real. I agree with the poser above that the only select women of color tend to be light skin which is a major fail since beauty comes in all shades and African women favor the darker end of the spectrum. I would absolutely love to see a African movie star, athlete, model, singer etc land a major endorsment deal with a high end brand,there is just to much talent in the African market for them to be looked over.

Anonymous said...

From the outside looking in, this is a #fail on the part of advertisers who use American celebs in African magazines for women. I picked up a copy of True Love South Africa while I was there this summer and almost all the ads featured American celebs AND models. I felt like I was browsing through an American publication for black women. Glad to hear about the successes in the article, but from the outside looking in, it seems as though they are in the serious minority and nothing is about to change anytime soon. #fail

terry's biggest fan said...

Terry Pheto makes for a lovely L'Oreal spokesperson! Let's see more of her in Mimi.