Skin bleaching in Jamaica needs to be looked into, says American actorSaturday, January 16, 2016
AMERICAN actor and children’s book author Taye Diggs, who was in the island to promote his latest book,
Mixed Me, and endorse National Careers Week, said he was shocked to learn that Jamaicans are bleaching their skin.
National Careers Week was launched on Tuesday at JABizTown, the simulated business community that gives grade five and six students the opportunity to take on the role of employee, tax payer and consumer. JABizTown is a project of Junior Achievement Jamaica, with support from USAID and the ministry of Education. It is located on the CaenWood Centre property on Arnold Road in Kingston.
"I was just told that there is an issue with skin bleaching here and that shouldn’t be happening. I thought that that was... in my ignorance. I didn’t think that people still had those issues and that they were so serious and that they were trying to alter what they look like.
The practice struck a chord with the author because the storylines of both Chocolate Me and Mixed Me deal with self-esteem and self-love.
"We have these lines of self-esteem and self-love and I think that’s something we all could use," he said of the books. "People lightening their skin is something that needs to be looked at and I’m hoping that this these books will start that conversation."
Chocolate Me was first published in 2011.
"It’s based on my personal experince of feeling like I didn’t fit in, and my mother taking me aside and explaining to me why I should love myself, why I shouldn’t listen to what other people say, and that my love for myself became real. Black is beautiful," he said yesterday.
His other title,
Mixed Me, was published last October. It was inspired by his son Walker, who is bi-racial.
"These works deal with not just the idea of the surface of a person, they deal with the inner person as well," added illustrator of the books and Diggs’ cousin Shane Evans. "No one is chocolate and no one is black either; these are just ideas. They show how words can manifest inside a society. We’re trying to expand the dialogue around what race really is."
Diggs and his team landed in the island last Saturday and were scheduled to leave Wednesday. They visited Mt Alvernia Prep in Montego Bay, and St Richard’s Primary in Kingston and Fundaciones El Centro to read Mixed Me for the students.
"It’s great reading and sharing the book with young people who look just like the character in the book," Diggs told reporters.
— Kimone Thompson