Story at a glance:

  • Prince Harry and the former Meghan Markle are partnering  with Procter & Gamble .
  • P&G sells a controversial Olay skin-lightening cream in India, Malaysia and Singapore.
  • Some say the couple has to address the cream.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are in trouble on social media after they announced a partnership with a company that sells skin-lightening — undermining their collective efforts to call out racism.

Prince Harry and the former Meghan Markle have a partnership with Procter & Gamble through their nonprofit, the Archewell foundation, focused on "gender equality, more inclusive online spaces, and resilience and impact through sport." 

However, the announcement is ruining their social justice credibility over a controversial Olay skin-lightening cream called “White Radiance” that the company sells in India, Malaysia and Singapore.

“Meghan has talked a lot about the issue of race and racism, so this does stick out like a sore thumb,” Alex Malouf, a former Procter & Gamble executive, told the the Mirror, which first reported the story.

Prominent figures including Nina Dovuluri, the first Indian-American Miss America, have said that skin lightening — or whitening — creams like White Radiance are racist because they reinforce the idea that white skin is superior to brown skin.

“[It says] that you need white skin to be beautiful, you need white skin to be successful,” Dovuluri said.


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“Like everyone else around the world, I saw that interview with Oprah that Meghan did,” Joanne Rondilla, a professor at San José State University, told The Mirror in regards to the royals’ “responsibility” addressing the product.

“It was important for [Meghan] to bring up these issues of colorism. I don’t think this partnership advances that conversation,” she continued.


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Published on May 17, 2021