A company in Brazil faced accusations of racism this week after it ran a toilet paper ad featuring the slogan “Black is beautiful.”
Santher, a Brazilian toilet paper company, released an advertisement for its new brand of luxury toilet paper featuring white actress Marina Ruy Barbosa wrapped in black toilet paper, reported the Telegraph Wednesday. The slogan “black is beautiful” accompanied the ad.
One Brazilian writer called out Santher for using the phrase, saying it held great importance for activists who had fought for equal rights for black people.
“People died so that this expression could be revered until today,” Rio-based writer Anderson França said in a Facebook post. “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 ass paper.”
Some Twitter users expressed outrage over the advertisement, while others said it wasn’t a big deal.
“Isn’t it just a color? White, Red, Black…. or everything in life has to have social context? Seriously, all I see is a toilet paper colour!” one person said over Facebook.
The term “black is beautiful” came out of the 1960s when black activists started championing for civil rights; it was also adopted by writer Steve Biko, an anti-apartheid activist.
Santher apologized for using the statement for its ad, saying they never intended to appropriate a slogan from the civil rights era. The actress involved also apologized for the ad.
“We would like to clarify that we have never had any intention of provoking a racial discussion through the launch of our Personal VIP Black Toilet Paper,” the company said.
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