It might have been just a publicity stunt, but she hasn’t changed her look back yet — so does Spice from LHHATL bleach her skin, or not? The “Black Hypocrisy” singer stirred up a hornet’s nest of attention by appearing to go light ahead of her new single’s release. Since then, Spice has gotten the views she (presumably) wanted, and gotten plenty of people talking. But is her new look for real?
Does Spice from LHHATL bleach her skin?
Earlier this week, Spice shocked her sizeable fanbase by deleting everything on her Instagram page and giving herself, in Spice’s own words, “a fresh start.” This would hardly be news, except that the first image Spice posted was of herself with a considerably lighter skin tone and blonde hair. (For comparison’s sake, the screenshot on the right at the top of the article is from Spice’s 2017 video for her track “Sheet.”)
Naturally, this caused no end of drama for Spice’s fans, many of whom accused her of selling out by (allegedly) bleaching her skin.
Spice’s track “Black Hypocrisy” takes aim at what she says is a double standard
Of course, the reality of the move turned out to be a bit more complicated. It emerged that Spice changed her appearance specifically to help promote “Black Hypocrisy,” her latest single, which she dropped just hours after the controversy over her appearance began to boil. The song addresses what Spice sees as a harmful double standard within the black community: she’s faced criticism for being *too* dark-skinned, but the same critics would likewise lash out at her for trying to go lighter.
Or, as Spice herself raps in the first verse: “I get hate from my own race / Yes, that’s a fact / ‘Cause the same black people dem seh I’m too black / And if yuh bleach out yuh skin dem same one come a chat.”
Love & Hip Hop viewers have been confronted with similar accusations before. LHHMiami star Amara La Negra spent her publicity tour leading up to the show’s first season attacking Afro-Latino stereotypes and claiming she wanted to be a role model for girls and women watching the show who look like her but don’t see themselves elsewhere on television.
And the video for “Black Hypocrisy” has tallied an impressive 1.4 million views since Spice dropped it just under two days ago. So it seems safe to say the skin bleaching controversy worked.
Spice is brushing off the anyone who doesn’t get the joke
Her fans weren’t the only ones to take issue with Spice’s stunt. Wendy Williams called her out on her show, using the term “publicity stunt” pejoratively and dismissing the whole thing. Spice didn’t seem too upset:
It’s also worth pointing out that, whether or not Spice from LHHATL bleaches her skin permanently, skin whitening is more common in Spice’s native Jamaica than it is in the United States. The most high-profile contemporary black performer to have been accused of skin bleaching is probably Lil Kim; she’s denied the accusations several times over the years, even as her appearance continues to change. (Click here for a year-by-year photo gallery of the changes in Lil Kim’s appearance.)
But, as several outlets have noted, Spice’s friend and collaborator Vybz Kartel came under fire for bleaching his own skin several years ago. It seems that in Jamaica the preferred method is cake soap — Vybz has even spoken of creating and marketing his own brand, specifically for skin whitening.
At least one of Spice’s Love & Hip Hop peers has her back. Amara La Negra has been vocal in her support of Spice’s efforts, saying she doesn’t “approve nor support skin lightning,” but “I support the message [Spice] is putting out…Sometimes you have to take extreme measures like her controversial “Skin Lightning” Picture for people to pay attention.”
One group we know for sure that’s paying attention: Love & Hip Hop Atlanta‘s producers. The eighth season of the show is filming now and expected to premiere in the spring of 2019.
(Photo credits: Does Spice from LHHATL bleach via Instagram, YouTube)
John Sharp is a Starcasm’s chief editorial correspondent-at-large. Tips: E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or send on Twitter at @john_starcasm.