Veteran Nigerian actress Taiwo Ajai-Lycett advises celebrities and women alike to stop bleaching their skin in order to show off their beauty.
Ajai-Lycett made the recommendations at the inaugural session of the Creative Designers Association of Nigeria (CDGN) Culture and Entertainment Exhibition at the Citiheight luxury hotel in Lagos on Friday.
The theme of the programme is “Expanding Cultural Creativity through Entrepreneurship”.
“It’s frustrating that celebrities and women who are supposed to be role models for young people spend huge sums of money bleaching their skin because they can’t see the beauty of Africans,” she said.
However, she urged celebrities to take pride in being African, as much business can be generated when African beauty is creatively explored.
Filmmakers should also break the habit of always looking for light-skinned women in their films, she noted.
According to her, when Nigerians look to the Western world to develop almost everything for the country, pretending to be sophisticated, the country is ignorantly killing an industry and creativity.
“As celebrities and women, we need to respect, love, and be proud of who we are, starting with our appearance. A lot of us don’t want to be dark, we don’t like our skin tone, and that’s what I call low self-esteem.
“As women our responsibility is to represent our race and we are raising children and when they see that we are unhappy with our skin and hair you convince those children that bleaching their skin and wearing a wig will beautify them more .
“What breaks my heart the most is that celebrities have a habit of promoting skin bleaching, wearing wigs, and they even sell it to the public, which is bad and I recommend that they stop that bad habit.
“If we embrace keeping our natural skin and hair, we’ll work with them to creatively improve our economy as a country because that’s a huge business for us, but we don’t realize it.
“We don’t need to imitate the western world, I suggest we stay black, bold and beautiful,” she said.
Ms Ajai-Lycett said people had to be careful about the health effects of skin bleaching as it could affect the liver and could lead to skin or liver cancer.
Earlier, Joy Akinyemi said the exhibition would be an annual event to ensure that young people are familiar with various aspects of the creative industries that can be explored for wealth creation.
She thanked the Lagos State Department of Tourism, Arts and Culture and the Lagos State Film and Video Review Board for their cooperation in hosting the program.
Veteran Nollywood actor Dr. Tommy Akbosheli encourages young people to discover their innate artistic talents as a weapon for their own and the country’s economic growth.
He usually advises actors to explore more love-related themes than rituals.
He said they should focus more on telling African history in films to educate children about the rules of African culture and history.
Film production designer Iyen Agbonifo-Obaseki urged Nigerians to take pride in patronising local prints and food, which can boost the country’s economy.
Additionally, communications consultant Sewedo Nupowaku urged young people to explore the latest technologies to promote the country’s cultural heritage.
The highlight of the event was an exhibition of cultural clothing spanning different races, beads, different forms of makeup and African hairstyles.