I know…not this again. But while I was checking one of my favorite sites about African music and culture, AfriPop magazine, I ran across a story about South African singer Nomasonto Mnisi, or as she’s most commonly known, Mshoza.

If you aren’t familiar with Mshoza, this is probably not the best introduction. However, she’s one of the most popular Kwaito artists on the scene, and like any good artist, she likes to push the envelope.

Apparently, Mshoza has a penchant for cosmetic procedures, and after augmenting her breasts, getting a nose job, and having liposuction, Mshoza is taking her quest for perfection to another level: Skin bleaching.

Recently, Mshoza sat down with Motswako, a popular South African talk show. During the interview she talked openly about why she decided to bleach her skin and get “Christina Aguilera white.”

AfriPop reports:

This week [Mshoza] appeared on the popular South African talk show Motswako to declare her “passion to be white.” The horrified interviewer, Penny Lebyane, later said “Yes I was angry, Yes I took it personal! Yes I even wanted to shake her so I can get her to realize what she’s doing to herself!”

Apparently, many of our South African brothers and sisters are comparing Mshoza to Michael Jackson. However, unlike Mike who never mentioned wanting to be white or bleaching his skin, Mshoza is open about her desire to be white.

AfriPop continues:

Mshoza’s declaration goes one better than the king of pop ever did – she admits she wants to look more white. To her whiteness is something she intrinsically believes will make her happy. Is she really to blame? Or is it the society we live in? As one smart person put it: “our femininity and aesthetic, particularly as Black womyn is a highly politicised space…”

Skin lightening is big business. From China to Jamaica, and India to the U.S., men and women all over the globe are bleaching, and in many cases scaring, their skin in a quest to be lighter. Although some like to brush this off as yet another cosmetic procedure, it’s hard to overlook the social cues that tell people of color that white is right. And white skin is more beautiful than other colors of the rainbow.

While many of us have successfully escaped this tragic line of thinking, others are buying into it and passing on the myth that White skin is better than all others.

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  • LMO85

    I really hate that people always bring MJ into this–it is easy to see why since he has been made the poster child of this phenomenon. But the man said he had Vitiligo and his autopsy confirmed this fact. He bleached to remain a consistent color, he has said repeatedly that he was a proud to be black and never wanted to be white. Lazy people can research via google, it ain’t that hard to do.

    As for this issue, it is a sad state of affairs– but then when you have advertisers and societies at large constantly telling you that you are not good enough, so you buy make up, botox, plastic surgery, spanx, butt padding, penis enlargers, liposuction, sun tan, weave it, wig it, flip it and rub it down, is it so hard to imagine some darker hued people going to this extreme? Not really.

    • Ocean

      Many people who have vitiligo do not go further, like a nose job, frying your hair, cheek implants etc. I know people have a sentimental attitude towards Michael, understandably, but: his children? Just…him. This is why we cannot excuse him, because he really was the poster child for black turning to white. He still could have looked black, even with vitiligo.

    • secret ninja

      like @LMO85 said, please do your research. his plastic surgery did not have anything to do with him wanting to look or be white. his father made fun of his “big nose” so he got rid of his big nose because he was tired of Joe ridiculing him. he didn’t have cheek implants, it was his nose and permanent tattoo coloring on his lips, eyebrows, and possibly his hair line because of loss of pigmentation. he wasn’t the only black man in the 80’s who had a Jerry Curl and that curl caught on fire. what was he supposed to do, wear an afro wig or some type of hair piece that looked like a fade? that’s ridiculous.
      if anything, he sounds more like he had Body Dysmorphic Disorder, he dieted heavily when he was in his early twenties in order to stop the bad breakouts he was getting, but i think that coupled with the surgeries had more to do with BDD. having the severe form of Vitiligo that he did most likely only compounded his situation.

    • apple

      i agree with the body dysmorphia..doctors offend mention Michael Jackson has the poster child for body dysmorphia

  • Kesha

    Wow. More than anything this is sad. Live your life, do what you do, but at least own up to the fact that you have been brainwashed into thinking that “white is right.”

  • B.Payne

    I’m sorry but we can’t blame society for OUR self, I’ll retype, SELF-esteem. Anyone who’ll let the opinion of other imperfect, screwed-up, issue-having human beings dictate how they should look to be qualified as beautiful has issues larger than the issue at hand. Of course we’re bombarded with the standard beauties in media but it comes down to the individual.

    Now on this chick, obviously this is a desire that is skin-deep and when it’s that deep, all we can do is wish her well and feel blessed that we ourselves aren’t caught up in such a detrimental mentality. Stories like these make me want to call my mom and thank her for the encouragement/constant reassurance/compliments she gave me when I was growing up.

    • kai


    • The very people who say this: “We can’t blame society for OUR self, I’ll retype, SELF-esteem. Anyone who’ll let the opinion of other imperfect, screwed-up, issue-having human beings dictate how they should look to be qualified as beautiful has issues larger than the issue at hand.”

      Are either 1.) Heartless souless robots. 2.) Inexperienced. 3.) Lack Empathy. 4.) The very same people who are trampling over Mzhosa’s self esteem. 5.) Irresponsible and selfish.

      WE ARE HUMAN! I REPEAT. WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS, and we seek the approval of others. We do not live in a vacuum. Other people’s judgements of us Do affect out well being very tangibly. News flash dark skinned women are penalized in society for being dark skinned! So putting the onus on the individual is simply passing the buck, and blaming the victim.

  • rhea

    I totally, unequivocally disagree with what this girl is doing, but at least she is being honest about why she does it. She wants to be white. If more people were honest with themselves and others, they would admit to the same things.

    I think the doctor in this video has a point. Women undergo a lot of pressure from various sources to maintain a certain appearance, and we cannot judge this particular girl for what she is doing if we are unwilling to examine the choices that we make regarding our own appearances. Why do we perm our hair and wear weaves? Why do white people insist in tanning? Why do we diet and starve ourselves? What are we saying about ourselves when do these things? I think that the whole “I just do it to feel happy. It makes me happy” thing is a cop-out that we think allows us not to say aloud the things that we really think about ourselves.

    • grandgryph

      i agree. i respect mshoza’s honesty – and articulateness. there are plenty of closeted black euro-philes, everyone would be better off if they were able to live out that mentality.

      i am concerned however that she really might be negatively impacting her health for what might be a fleeting feeling – and that she’s really not challenged the `received’ ideas that pre-figure her `happiness’ and `passion’, but of course it is her choice.

      many of the women who talk about the pressure of beauty standards, often subscribe to a `i determine my destiny’ idea. if that were true, what of the pressures? or why do you let them take root? is it not in her power to ignore them?

      i think that the reason why so many women are receptive to those pressures – which are typically controlled and enforced by men – isn’t the need to feel beautiful per se – but the need to feel and display an idea of privilege.

      it is somewhat disappointing that relatively few women – and very little female thought and life choices – are devoted to undermining the links between beauty and social status, or do things to make women economically autonomous from industries that men benefit from disproportionately. rather, it seems that mainstream feminine discourse is careful to accept those standards, make them as real and make space for an even deeper investment in the `beauty-status’ relation. how much money do women spend on beauty? and who enjoys the returns?

      the narrow and the shifting beauty standards – and the expense – is a way for men to control and generally fug with a woman’s attempt to self-image which is almost always linked to social status – not to mention the definition of ‘up’.

  • TheBestAnonEver, Part 2

    I am amazed at how they move between english and their mother tongue within the same sentence. I love it!

    Honestly, I think she is just seeking attention and she will get it. South Africa is also a bit of a unique situation; I give them a pass on most things given their history. As late as 1990, a black person was stripped of their citizenship and restricted to less than a tenth of country, was trained under an educational policy that asserted they could never be equal to white people, and lived under a labor code that pegged them to a life of servitude to Afrikaners. Post-apartheid babies are just turning 20.

    I cannot even be mad at her, I just cannot. Those with a healthy dose of self-esteem are nothing short of heroes.

    • B.Payne

      You’re right, I forgot about this: “Post-apartheid babies are just turning 20”

      So when living under such scrutiny for so long, I can only imagine the mentality…it’s “almost” like they can’t help it.

    • Xhosa_Girl

      @ TheBestAnonEver, I’m South African, and we speak like that everyday. Mixing our moter tongues with English, and in the video Mshoza and the interview are mixing 2 South African languages (Zulu and Sotho) with English and the doctor is mixng Xhosa and English, totally beautiful! We speak ENglish fully when we speak to white people, they don’t know any of the 9 indigenous South African languages!

      Anyway back to the point, Mshoza is a clean example of what happens when you have money and have nothing to do with it. My mom always says an idle mind is the devil’s playground. Her husband is rich, she got with him while he was married to his first wife, they got married, had a lot of drama that they both went to the media to report and now this. This gilr just loves attention. She was a lesbian some years ago. She has deeper issues I guess, she did have her first child at 14. She can do what she wants with her body, but my worry is her health and what example she is setting for her children.