We've been hearing the term 'bleach' in the lyrics of our music for years, so this is definitely not a new thing, but the sales of bleaching cream continue to rise in Jamaica.
At every street corner in downtown Kingston you can purchase a bottle of bleaching cream. Men are bleaching, women are bleaching, boys and girls are bleaching. At every Passa Passa fete you will see a lot of girls who are bleaching, or just take a drive into the ghetto and you will see girls, their faces covered with a white cream busily bleaching.
While the sales are rising, people do not seem to realize that bleaching cream is actually illegal. It contains Mercury which is a toxic chemical that accumulates into the body which is linked to liver damage.
There are many ill affects of skin bleaching - thinning of the skin, a severe form of acne called steroid acne and the appearance of a lump of fat at the back of the neck called cushings syndrome. Once the skin is lightened, the probability of skin cancer also increases because the skin no longer contains melanin which protects most African Americans from the harsh damages of the sun.
The Jamaica Observer states that it is hard to believe that in the 21st Century in Jamaica the country which is the heart of black pride - a country which gave the world Garvey and Marley and Rastafari - is still bleaching.
Listen to Queen Ifrica - Mi Nah Rub, and learn a quick lesson about the effects of skin bleaching!