One luxury toilet paper company is being accused of racism for using a popular slogan, known to uplift African-Americans, as a part of its marketing.
Santher, a Brazilian corporation that manufactures toiletries, recently launched Personal VIP Black, the country’s first black toilet paper. The advertisement campaign featured Marina Ruy Barbosa, a white actress, swaddled in the product, and the words “Black is beautiful” plastered across the image.
Many said the company was appropriating black culture, because it borrowed a phrase used to uplift African-Americans in the 1960s during the height of the civil rights movement.
“People died so that this expression could be revered until today. People continue dying and this expression is more important and vital than never before. But in Brazil if you key in #blackisbeautiful you are going to find [expletive] paper,” Brazilian writer Anderson Franca said on Facebook.
He also called it "racist and irresponsible, conscious and deliberate." As of Thursday afternoon, his post had been share more than 3,000 times.
And he wasn’t the only one offended. Others took to social media to express their thoughts about the ad.
Amid the outrage, the company apologized on its website and Facebook page.
“We would like to clarify that we have never had any intention of provoking a racial discussion through the launch campaign of our Vip Black Personal Paper. We seek to emphasize the beauty and sophistication of the black color, emphasizing its luxury and refinement, in a mistaken association of the phrase adopted by the black movement, which we both respect and admire,” Santher said.
It also removed the slogan from the campaign and any ads that made it to social media.