A music video takes on a cultural obsession you may not know much about: skin whitening.

With the music video below, rapper Heems challenges the bizarre equation of skin whiteness with beauty.

As you'll see, skin whitening may not bring the joy and adoration users might expect.

There's a bummer history and psychology to skin bleaching.

According to Obiora Anekwe of Columbia University, people don't use skin whiteners because of happy thoughts and experiences. There's a history of prejudice and inequality behind the practice:


"Skin bleaching also symbolizes more complex psychological issues such as self-perception and self-esteem that have plagued people of color since the advent of international slavery, especially in the Americas."

In East Asia, there's an old saying — "One white covers up three ugliness" — which dates back to a time when people believed not only that white skin was cleaner, but also that lighter skin signified you were wealthy enough not to have to toil under the sun.

Skin whiteners are a potentially unsafe health choice.

The most common active ingredients are hydroquinone, steroids, and retinoids, all of which can be harmful to the skin and should only be used in consultation with a dermatologist. Some skin whitening products even contain mercury.

Not that Mercury, unfortunately.

I'm talking about the toxic metallic element mercury.

This stuff is actually used in some of those creams. According to WebMD, one study found mercury in 1 in 4 of every skin whitening cream made in Asia.

Prolonged use of mercury-containing skin whiteners can lead to kidney damage and a bunch of other serious health problems.

Skin bleaching has become a global health epidemic.

And who's to blame? I think you already know.

Professor Evelyn Nakano Glenn of the University of California Berkeley says skin whitening "has been stimulated by the companies that produce these products. Their advertisements connect happiness and success and romance with being lighter skinned."

Mercury-containing skin whiteners have been banned in some parts of the world, but between shops that still import the creams and the Internet, people can still get them pretty easily no matter where they are.

While a worldwide ban would be helpful, at the end of the day, it's an individual choice. So the most important thing we can do is keep chipping away at this "white is right" beauty standard.

Because this...

...is a scam.

And if you're still not convinced, just watch these ridiculous skin whitening ads. Hopefully they'll do the trick.

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This year more than ever, many families are anticipating an empty dinner table. Shawn Kaplan lived this experience when his father passed away, leaving his mother who struggled to provide food for her two children. Shawn is now a dedicated volunteer and donor with Second Harvest Food Bank in Middle Tennessee and encourages everyone to give back this holiday season with Amazon.

Watch the full story:

Over one million people in Tennessee are at risk of hunger every day. And since the outbreak of COVID-19, Second Harvest has seen a 50% increase in need for their services. That's why Amazon is Delivering Smiles and giving back this holiday season by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Second Harvest to feed those hit the hardest this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local food bank or charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your selected charity.

via Brittany Kinley / Facebook

Brittany Kinley, a mother from Mansfield, Texas, had a hilarious mom fail her and she's chalking it up to being just another crazy thing that happened in 2020.

When Kinley filled out the order form for her son Mason's kindergarten class pictures, there was an option to have his name engraved into the photos. But Kinley wasn't interested in having her son's name on the photos so she wrote "I DON'T WANT THIS" on the box.

Well, it appears as though she should have left the box blank because the computer or incredibly literal human that designed the photographs wrote "I DON'T WANT THIS" where mason's name should be.

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A lot of people here are like family to me," Michelle says about Bread for the City — a community nonprofit located in Washington DC that provides local residents with food, clothing, health care, social advocacy, and legal services. And since the pandemic began, the need to support organizations like Bread for the City is greater than ever, which is why Amazon is Delivering Smiles to local charities across the country this holiday season.

Watch the full story:

Amazon is giving back by fulfilling hundreds of AmazonSmile Charity Lists, and donating essential pantry and food items to help organizations like Bread for the City provide to those disproportionately impacted this year.

Visit AmazonSmile Charity Lists to donate directly to a local charity in your community, or simply shop smile.amazon.com and Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price of eligible products to your charity of choice.
via Richard Desmick / TikTok

Over the weekend, an estimated thousands of people ran 2.23 miles to show their support for Ahmaud Arbery, a former high school football player and avid jogger. Arbery was shot and killed in February near Brunswick, Georgia after being pursued in a truck by a former policeman and his son who claimed he resembled someone responsible for break-ins in the neighborhood.

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via UDOT / Facebook

In December 2018, The Utah Department of Transportation opened the largest wildlife overpass in the state, spanning 320 by 50 feet across all six lanes of Interstate 80.

Its construction was intended to make traveling through the I-80 corridor in Summit County safer for motorists and the local wildlife.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that there were over 100 animal incidents on the interstate since 2016, giving the stretch of highway the unfortunate nickname of "Slaughter Row."

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