Colourism debate ignites after Shenseea’s son is named Chubby brand influencer

Shenseea’s son was named the newest brand ambassador for Chubby, a soft drink company, on Tuesday and congratulatory messages have been rolling in since.

Dancehall artiste Shenseea

However, the news has not been without controversy, with the discussions around five-year-old Rajeiro Lee’s latest endorsement deal triggering the colourism debate once more.

Online, some users said the company’s selection reinforced the widespread prejudices in Caribbean society, questioning whether the Trinidad-based Chubby would have selected the child had he been of a darker skin tone.

“Y’all wouldn’t have used him if he was darkskin with 4c hair though,” said one Instagram user in reacting to Chubby’s announcement.

“Never saw any representation of kids with kinky hair like most kids in the country. Diversity is needed.”

– Social media user

The comment, which received numerous likes, got the discussion going with many users who acknowledged that ads in the region tend to only showcase lighter skinned individuals, but said this was not an example of that.

While others thought that the colourism debate needed to be had because such ads subtly influence notions on beauty and contribute to anti-social behaviours like bleaching, some felt that the forum was not the place, as a child was involved.

“Colourism is indeed still a problem as why would people even think of this in the first place? But come on guys, he’s a kid,” said one social media user.

“Which is why i say it’s unfair to this kid. i dont think anything is wrong here. he deserves the shot. but what ppl are complaining about is something that exists but i dont think it can relate to raj,” added another.

However, the discussion was far from over with others using the occasion to decry the lack of diversity in advertising in the region which needs to be addressed.

“When I was growing up in Jamaica the ads with kids in it that you see on TV you’re ALWAYS “tall” hair pickney. Never saw any representation of kids with kinky hair like most kids in the country. Diversity is needed,” said one user on Facebook.

However, it was an Instagram comment that seems to have found the most favour in the discussion, which suggested that it wasn’t so much that companies were promoting colourism but that individuals generally tend to suffer from colourism, preferring lighter shades. The user went on to say if there was a societal shift, advertisers and companies would be forced to shift as well.

“If yall was following up any nappy 4c hair type kid am sure chubby would have considered dem .. but unfortunately this Jamaica where ur parents, skin colour and hair texture has alot to do with how ppl deal with u,” added another Instagram user.

Colourism is a type of prejudice or discrimination against individuals with dark skin tones, typically among people of the same ethnic or racial group.