Are we selling Whitenicous for that purpose? No, we’re not. Whitenicous comes in 30 ml and 60ml. You cannot use the 60 ml to bleach your whole skin. It’s impossible. And that costs about $150 each. 60 ml can’t even go on your whole feet. I don’t see anybody spending all that money to bleach their entire skin. I don’t see that happening. Now, do I have customers who come and buy stuff for over $2000? Yes, I do. Do I ask them what they want to do with it? No, I don’t. Do I know what they want to do with it? No, I don’t care because it’s their money, it’s how they want to spend it.
EBONY: I want to go back to something you said earlier. About your definition of white having to do with purification and clearing obstacles. Ok so that sounds like how the dictionary might define white. But what about how society defines white? You know that for many African people they see white--as in White people--as better. Still. And for some of the women who bleach, not that they are trying to be White women per se. No, not at all. But what they are trying to do is to gain access to whatever it is they see White people having, whether that’s being seen as being beautiful or making more money or being more successful in society. And so people look at your ad, it’s called Whitenicious. They see Dencia in a way that they’ve never seen her before. Whether you care or not, whether it was your intention or not, do you understand that the success of your product could be because people think that they can use it to get as white as you?
Dencia: No, that’s not how I see it. This is how I see it. Everybody that has something negative to say, 1- doesn’t need it and 2 - don’t have the money to buy it. First of all, let me clear this up. As of now 80% of people that buy my products are African American. It’s not Africans. People are saying that it’s Africans because they think I live in Africa. I go back and forth but I live here. I can send you the stats - it is African Americans. I have to be honest with you – I have TV personalities buying Whitenicious for over $1000. People who work for TV stations like Fox. I have celebrities buying Whitenicous and all of these people are African Americans, they are not Africans. My African market is just 10% because guess what? They don’t have credit cards to buy the products and I’m only taking credit cards or PayPal. And they don’t have that access, do you get what I’m saying? It’s these people that can access that.
Now, my other 10% is White people – I have White people from Europe, America, and everywhere buying Whitenicious. Now, I’m thinking to myself, what do they want to do with it? Of course they’re not trying to bleach their skin. Are Black people trying to get White to be accepted in society? No, I don’t think so. Now I can’t speak for everybody but first of all, White people love the darker skinned Africans. They like the African that is Alek Wek. There’s no in between for them. It’s extreme. You’re either at A or you’re at Z. Now, do you think Africans are lightening to appeal to the White man? No, they’re not because the White man doesn’t even like the light Africans. They like the Black Africans. Look at all the Africans that are successful in the world. They are as Black as Alek Wek. And if I was as Black as Alek Wek, I would never ever use anything on my skin. Trust me I wouldn’t.
EBONY” And I hear you in terms of those extremes, you’re right. Alek Wek, dark. Lupita N’yongo, dark. The mainstream loves that. And you’re right, there’s no in between or appreciation for in-between colors. So did you feel like because you weren’t that extreme color that you needed to kind of move to the other end of the spectrum?
Dencia: Honestly? Yes, I do feel that that is why I did it. I used to tan a lot. When I moved to America and I moved to L.A. I used to tan a lot to be dark like you see on that one picture because I wanted to appeal. I wanted to be an African. I wanted to come out as an African because that is what was winning. The dark African. And I would tan and but then I looked at it like, ‘you cannot go darker than you are. You can’t. There’s nothing in the world that can make you go darker than you are. But guess what? There’s something in the world that can make you lighter than you are.’ And listen, I grew up being a sickly. I’m always constantly sick and from the time I was a little girl. I’m not going to do anything that will put my life at risk because God has given me so many opportunities to be alive. Contrary to what people are saying “Oh, this is going to cause you cancer.” No, it wouldn’t. Whitening your skin will not cause you cancer. There is no, how do they call this thing?
EBONY: Medical research?
Dencia: Yes, there is no medical research!
EBONY: But there is.
Dencia: That it causes cancer?
Dencia: But guess what? The air you breathe outside causes you cancer. Everything in the world causes cancer.
EBONY: If I tell you that for the last 40 years dermatologists all over the world, many of whom are in Senegal, in Nigeria, in Ghana, have done research to show that bleaching products, particularly those products with hydroquinone and corticosteroids, those products stop the production of melanin. And you know in West Africa we need melanin to protect our skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Naturally African people don’t get skin cancer because of how much melanin we have. But when we stop producing melanin, we make ourselves susceptible to skin cancer. And so because of that, because of skin bleaching, and because of the use of these products, we see an increase in the numbers of cases of skin cancer in Africa, when that wasn’t a medical issue that we suffered from before. Do you understand? So if I tell you, Dencia, yes you can get skin cancer from lightening your skin, are you concerned?
Dencia; You know what? I’m not. First of all, body lotion cannot stop melanin. Melanin comes from inside, not externally. That’s why people still have hyperpigmentation. You can bleach your skin all you want you will still produce melanin. Body lotion does not stop your melanin from coming. It does not.
EBONY: But it does.
Dencia: I can assure you. It does not. It doesn’t, you can’t rub oil on your skin and stop melanin. It is something your body produces from inside. That doesn’t even make sense. And now, secondly, if hydroquinone and all those things cause cancer why do dermatologists in America still prescribe it? Straight up. Why do they do that if it causes cancer? Why is it FDA approved in America if it causes cancer?
EBONY: We can go back and forth about the medical evidence. And there is medical evidence. Hydroquinone is approved because it was originally created for White bodies and White people don’t need melanin in the ways that Black people do. Now that they prescribe it to Black bodies, or bodies that have higher doses of melanin, we see more of these damaging effects. And it’s not that hydroquinone by itself causes cancer. It’s the higher, unregulated doses that we find in other so-called Third World countries, mixed with the steroids and other things. Prolonged used over time while still having to be under the hot sun is what causes cancer. In the United States you’re not supposed to be able to get more than 2% without a prescription, and only up to 4% with a prescription, but when you travel to other places in the world, you can find upwards of 25-30% of hydroquinone in these products.
Denicia: Yeah, well, Whitenicious doesn’t have hydroquinone and it doesn’t have steroids and it doesn’t have mercury because guess what? I’m not gonna put those things on my body because I am very conscious when it comes to my health. My grandmother spent millions on me as a child growing up being sick and I’m not gonna grow up and mess up my life after all that money was spent to keep me alive. And anybody who knows me knows that I’m the girl who will go to the doctor for anything. My doctor is tired of seeing me by the way. And I can assure you that they’ve tested me for everything and it’s never caused me any harm. I’m being honest. If you want, I will send