From an opening in the thicket we witness naked figures gathering around a growing fire. Their hair is long and their language foreign. Their chants intensify and they begin to dance, then levitate, with flailing arms and jackknife knees. Herbaceous smoke and sweat mingle. Are they witches or are they Indians? In the film The Witch , this iconic round-the-fire ritual is a climactic reveal of witches living in the woods. But through subtle, fleeting cues throughout the film, we have been made to understand their association with Natives lurking just off frame.
I know that the beauty industry has fueled this opinion with its long history of presenting lighter, mixed-race or white models as the beauty standard. And this is why, when Dove offered me the chance to be the face of a new body wash campaign , I jumped. Having the opportunity to represent my dark-skinned sisters in a global beauty brand felt like the perfect way for me to remind the world that we are here, we are beautiful, and more importantly, we are valued. I went online and discovered I had become the unwitting poster child for racist advertising. No lie.
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