Those of you who are not well accustomed to Nigerian news like myself, will read the title and have many questions. Why are they banning white models? What does this mean? How is this affecting the country?
For starters, over many years, advertisements in Nigeria have been casting white actresses/actors. They have also been narrated by people with British accents and various other non-native models and foreign voiceover artists. The kind of change happening is widely positive. They are taking back their power as Nigerian indigenous people who deserve to be on the face of advertisements and voiceovers.
Steve Babaeko, president of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria tells Times Magazine that Nigerian brands would quite often use foreign faces over the last eight years or so. Babaeko stated his reasoning being, “A new sense of pride emerging” amongst its population. He added, “People will tell you there are 200 million of us. Are you telling me you could not find indigenous models for this commercial?” This is not about being spiteful to white or foreign people, but rather a much larger issue. When the beauty standard is made up of white and foreign models, skin bleaching becomes a problem in a country dominated by melanated skin tones.
User @elefaantzz on twitter responded under a thread to the article by saying “I pray this lowers bleaching” referring to how people in Nigeria often romanticize being the lighter version of themselves and often do so with this treatment.
The ban takes effect October 1st 2022. They are requiring advertisers to pay 100,000 Naira (approximately U.S. $236) for every foreign model in advertisements. They hope this will boost home-grown talent, and branch new creativity. The British agency AMV BBDO has already shot an African campaign for Guinness entitled “Black Shines Brightest” in Lagos with a Nigerian director and local models reflecting the change coming forth with this advertising industry.