November 3, 2009
Star Entertainment



'Mi proud a mi bleaching
Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter

Lisa Hype, member of the Portmore Empire crew, held in the Gleaner's Studio, North Street, Kingston on Thursday April 30, 2009. - Rudolph Brown

Skin bleaching has been a phenomenon, particularly in the poor inner cities, for many years now. Its association with the same socio-economic class as dancehall has manifested in the songs with multiple references to the practice.

One reference that is highly uncommon though is a deejay glorifying the use of bleaching. In steps Lisa Hype, an upcoming deejay who is affiliated with Vybz Kartel's Portmore Empire.

In the song Proud A Mi Bleaching, which was released last month, Lisa Hype explains that she isn't shameful of her skin bleaching practice. Since its release, she said the song has been a hit, especially among women who do it as well.

"Di girl dem seh mi a lock it fi dem this year. A me alone a talk fi dem. Mi nuh know which girl nowadays nah bleach, even fi use likkle Nadinola and rub on fi mek dem face cool," Lisa Hype told THE STAR.

"A bleaching a run the place and it all right because dat fi show yuh seh yuh a tek care of yourself."

But not everyone loves it. Prior to her song, there were several artistes who lashed out against the act like Nardo Ranks in Dem A Bleach and Buju Banton in Black Woman.

More recently, Queen Ifrica recorded Mi Nah Rub, in which she sings "di person weh seh black nah wear again insecure wid demself, so nuh follow dem. Mi nah bleach mi nuh care if dat a di trend. Proud to be black."

she liked the look

Lisa Hype says from what she's been hearing, the song "gone".

"People a bun it (bleaching). Nuff a dem a bun it and dem gal a do it. Mi nuh hear nobody lash out against the song. Everybody see mi and seh it gone," Lisa Hype said, while noting that she has been bleaching for about two years because she liked the look.

Examining the bleaching syndrome in a July 9, 2003 Gleaner article, Dermatologist Dr Clive Anderson wrote: "The bleaching syndrome appears to be a combination of several symptoms, some psychological, some social and medical, that manifests in the determination to lighten ones skin colour regardless of the damage done to this vital organ."

In another Gleaner article on May 11, 2003, Dr Glenda Simms, Executive Director of the Bureau of Women's Affairs, argued that while the practice is physically damaging to the user, it is psychologically hurtful to children.

"In the process, it is not only about black women and teenage girls and how they see themselves. Black children are also affected in very deep-seated psychological ways," she said.

There are products in skin bleaching substances, like hydroquinone, which it is said can cause skin cancer and other skin disfiguring conditions.

Dr Anderson listed some effects of skin bleaching as stretch marks, acne, increased blood vessels, thinning of the skin, increased susceptibility to skin infections, increased bruising, increased sensitivity to the sun and increased likelihood of skin cancer.

While Lisa Hype said the response to the song has been good, the more than 100 comments on the video, which has been posted on, varied but with most persons against it.

One person said, "Yuh proud of bleach, hope yuh proud of the skin cancer yuh get later." Someone else said, "another black girl lost."

"When I go Jamaica I see chicks and dudes can't even go out in da day without dressing as if they in da arctic," said another user.

In other posts, some people said it was a sad reflection on our society.

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