I'm Sammy Sosa And Whitening My Skin Makes Me Happy

Ladies and gentlemen, it's NOT vitiligo. The once handsome Sammy Sosa has admitted to purposely bleaching his skin.

According to Sosa's interview with the TV show Primer Impacto, turning into Casper the Friendly Ghost is merely a side effect of his skin moisturizer.

He says, "It's a bleaching cream that I apply before going to bed and whitens my skin some."

Funny how the story's changed. A couple of days ago his camp was claiming Sammy's appearance was the result of a skin rejuvenation process and too-bright lighting. Now it's a moisturizer that has skin bleaching as a major side-effect.

"It's a cream that I have, that I used to soften (my skin), but has bleached me some."

Some? Is he for real?

"Some" is not the word I'd use to describe how bleached Sammy's skin is. But clearly, he and I have different standards.

wouldn't continue to slather on a moisturizing cream if I discovered it inadvertently lightened my skin. If the moisturizer didn't explicitly say on the box that it has a skin lightening effect, I'd hire a lawyer to draw up a suit against the manufacturer.

The only reason to not sue is if I bought the cream intending to purposely lighten my skin. And if I was Sammy, why would I purposely lighten my skin? Because I'm acting out my own internalized racism.

If you feel a little uncomfortable when that word "racism" pops up, no worries, Sammy wants us to know, "I'm not a racist. I live my life happily."

Don't you feel sooo reassured Sammy's not behaving in a racist manner simply because he said he's not racist?

Never mind that in our society lighter skin is presented as being all butterflies and ponies while darker skin is portrayed as hell on wheels. Nuh-uhh, Sammy Sosa hasn't internalized any of that.

In fact, we 100% believe Sosa would've kept applying a moisturizer that made his skin turn darker instead of lighter. As long as it made his face baby bottom soft, right?

I guess we're supposed to forget that Sammy also ran out and bought himself some straighter hair and colored contacts to go along with his new skin tone. But nope, he has no self-hatred going on whatsoever.

Sosa thinks we're stupid, doesn't he? He thinks that we believe our society is so post-racial a dark-skinned man can morph himself into a lighter skinned man with straighter hair and light eyes, and we'll all think it's simply about soft skin and living life "happily."

Even my eight year-old son isn't buying what Sammy's selling. My boy took one look at Sosa's side-by-side pictures and said, "Eww, what's up with him?"

"Eww" is right. Sammy used to be such a good looking guy but now he's positively wrecked his looks. "Looks like he lightened his skin," I said to my son.

"That's racist," my son replied. "That's gross."

Thank God my boy feels that way. I'm sure there are plenty of people of color out there wondering what the cream is that Sosa used to get his "living-life-happily" lighter skin.

They'll know the brand soon enough since apparently Sosa says he bought it in Europe and he's considering becoming a spokesperson because he's so happy with the results.

Yes, folks, Sammy Sosa likes his happy new light skin so much he wants to help sell it to all the rest of us.

If that's really true, maybe we'll see Sammy starring in an ad like this one that got shown in India last year for "White Beauty" -- manufactured by good ole Ponds and their parent company Unilever:

I'm sure the makers of "White Beauty" -and the gut-wrenchingly sad commercial for it- say the same thing Sosa does: "I'm not a racist. I live my life happily."


alyosha19 said…
I nearly jumped out of my skin when I saw the photo of Sammy Sosa. He looks scary. Why, oh why do people still do this kind of stuff?
Liz Dwyer said…
He looks very scary. It's sad.

I think people still do this stuff because they either consciously or subconsciously believe they're less than due to the deeply negative psychological and spiritual effects of racism. I say spiritual because if I don't have a firm grip on my identity being one which is beyond the opinions of mere mortals, I have no ability to combat the racism the world teaches me.
Sundry said…
You're right. It doesn't look good and it's hard to beleive it's healthy. And oh-my-god, that Ponds commercial. Well, you already said it: gut wrenchingly sad.
Carmennc said…
This is terribly shocking. After seeing the constant taunting that people gave Michael Jackson about his skin bleaching, I cannot believe Sammy Sosa has done this. I would to say that he was a decent looking man, I would have dated a man that favored him. This is wrong way beyond being skin deep. I'm still waiting for somebody to say this isn't real like the Katt Williams burglary.
Karina said…
I was hoping you would comment on this. When I first saw the pictures the first words out of my mouth were expletives that will not be mentioned here. But it was a "What the ****?" That was heard by my hubs in the other room. Sammy was a handsome with an endearing personality with a wonderful smile and sweet manners that always brought a smile to my face when he was on television or featured in magazines. Now he looks like some odd Charlie Chaplin-esq version of himself. Granted yes, I'm sure after years and years of playing baseball he did have skin damage, many baseball players, and tennis players do because the nature of their sport is to be outside, and like a lot of men (lets be honest- most men) likely did not take care of his skin while being exposed to the sun for hours at a time.....but this? This? I cannot fathom! Rejuvination, yes! Lightening, hell no! Are we suddenly in Japan where the whiter the better? Oh, and skin lightening aside, what's the reasoning for the green contacts?

I still have that Sports Illustrated with Sammy and Mark McGwire on the cover.....so many years ago they both brought me so much joy. Now? It's a sad reminder of things that once were and are no more.

I want chocolate Sammy back!
Mizrepresent said…
hahaha, i loved this post...and you are so right...out of the mouth of babies, the truth will be revealed. Hi Los Angelista, i've been a lurker for soooooo long, but i wanted you to know that i am here.
Liz Dwyer said…
If he's using hydroquinone to lighten his skin, that stuff's a known carcinogen & skin irritant so it's definitely NOT healthy.

Isn't that Ponds commercial beyond disgusting? It's hard to boycott a company as big as Unilever for making a product and advertisements like that. They make hundreds of food, personal care products & cleaning products. :(

I keep waiting for someone to say it's not real, too. Like, PLEASE, come out and say it's a Sammy impostor taking those pictures & making those comments. It just goes to show you never really know what's going on with people or what their demons are.

My initial response was pretty much the same as yours. I've had a Sosa magnet on my fridge for over a dozen years and I took it down today. Broke my heart but I just couldn't bear to look at him anymore. I remember that SI cover. The homerun race was an exciting time. Too bad how things turned out with both of them.

Three cheers for your bravery! SO glad you decided to de-lurk! Yeah, my son nailed it right away. We watched the commercials all the way thru the final one and he was seriously outraged. It really makes me angry as well that these commercials are shown in other parts of the world.

Come back again and say hi anytime! ;)
Leili said…
Two things:

If it is just a moisturizer with bleaching as a side effect, *why do his ears and neck perfectly match his (new) skin tone*? Do you often slather "moisturizer" all over your damn ears?

Furthermore, the "I got dumped because my skin is darker" commercial is just shameful.

Both are sad and shocking.
My first thought while reading this was "Ewwww" but I decided I should probably make a more mature comment. Then I got to your 8-year old son's remark and realized that no one needs to be more mature than that.

It's just sad. Are they calling it Michael Jackson Syndrome? "He suffers from MJS, you know. It's very serious."
Unknown said…
I can't believe this. Sosa, out of nowhere! Why can't we get passed this?! Well, "light makes right" is unfortunately thought of as truth in almost every country that I've visited so far. The fact that it is being advertised as a way to improve your life is also sad, sad, sad. I love how my skin is adaptable to almost all weather, I don't have to worry about sunscreen and blemishes as much. Sigh...
Liz Dwyer said…
Ooh, excellent point about the neck and ears. I just can't get over that he did this to himsef voluntarily!

Did you watch all the commercial "episodes"? They're disgusting.

I don't know if they're calling it MJS syndrome or not but with the way Sosa is looking, it's going to be known as Sosa Syndrome. I felt a little juvenile sharing what my son said, too, but he's correct. It IS totally "Eww!"

So sad that you've seen the Sosa Effect all over the world but that doesn't surprise me. When I was in China, women would go around wearing makeup WAY too light for their skin. Just nuts. -- and heck yeah, your skin WAS made to adapt to any weather. It's a gift, not a curse. I wish more people could see that.
nick said…
Why oh why are people so desperate to fit in with aesthetic norms? I can only wonder what has been said to him to make him so keen to "remedy" his natural appearance.
j'taimee said…
that commercial is crazy! i'm literally in shock...
Miz JJ said…
Part of me feels that it is sad, but part of it makes me so angry. Seriously, you hate yourself that much?!? What the hell? I suppose he just doesn't have the strength to be black anymore. Lord knows it ain't easy, but to bleach your skin, relax your hair and wear green contacts? Ugh.
allison sara said…
ew ew ew. I thought this was a thing of the past... thanks for shocking us back to reality, uncomfortable as it is.
Mes Deux Cents said…

What I'm really interested to know is how Sammy's new complexion is being received in the Dominican Republic and in Latin America in general.

Many Dominicans have some serious issues with Blackness, so they might not see Sammy's lightening up the way we do here in the U.S.

Anyway Sammy looks horrible.
CreoleInDC said…
I disagree with this partial statement: "The once handsome Sammy Sosa..."

LOL! You're spot on about everything else. I've never thought dude was handsome but it didn't have anything to do with his skin color. Now? He looks like a dang fool.
Liz Dwyer said…
Because they really do believe it'll make their life better. The "White Beauty" commercial says it all -- lighten your skin and you'll get the man of your dreams (or a job, success, etc.) - Sammy's already successful but that's how powerful the psychological effects of racism can be. Make you do crazy stuff to yourself.

Totally crazy. This is where the being a global citizenry comes into play - once I'm aware of what unilever does in Asia, do I still buy Dove anti-perspirant?

Miz JJ,
Makes me angry as well. I keep thinking of all the little kids he's been a hero for. The steroid thing was bad but to me this is worse.

Allison Sara,
Nope, not in the past at all. It's VERY much alive and well. I really wonder if anybody told Sosa, dude don't use that crap.

That's what I've been wondering as well. Do folks in the DR just see Sosa's transformation as a normal thing? A good thing? Maybe it's more prevalent down there than we realize.

hahahaha! Really, he is totally cute and charming in person. Or rather, he WAS before he decided to slather himself with this "moisturizer".
MFA Mama said…
Oh. My. Goodness.

He looks TERRIBLE. Unhealthy, even. And um, yeah, I'm sure that's a side effect of a moisturizer and that everyone but me puts their facial moisturizer on and in their ears and down the front and back of their neck. I'm just, um...doing it wrong I guess.

I'm already about as white as it gets but if I found that a product I was using on my skin was changing the color in ANY way I would freak out, stop using it, and at the very least blast them on Twitter and via their customer service number. If a product I was using on my skin changed the color THAT MUCH? I'd call a doctor and then a lawyer.

Since I am not a person of color I can't claim to fully understand what Mr. Sosa is feeling on this one, but it seems to me like he needs therapy more than this "moisturizer." Or else, y'know, if that's just what he as a grown person chooses to do with his skin and he understands the risks (I can't believe that any topical product with such a drastic effect is in ANY way healthy...) then he should just own it. Go ahead and put it out there, say "I wanted my skin to look different so I used a product to make that happen." Sure it would offend and disappoint a lot of people, but hello? Anyone who sees his pictures before and after can tell what is going on if he has already clarified that there is no medical condition causing the change and if someone is going to be offended and disappointed they already are.

My children's father is a person of color and my three kids' skintone varies quite a bit. One is the same color I am, one is LIGHTER (due to a heritable genetic condition that causes pale skin), and one is quite a bit darker than me or the other two. He's too young to know who Sammy Sosa is or grasp any of the implications of what the guy is doing, but personally? I think if my kids ever see this hot mess and come to me about it I'll tell them that the man seems to have a lot of bad feelings on the inside that he is trying to change by altering the way he looks on the outside, and explain that that just doesn't work and is very, very sad.

My two cents.
He looks awful - really awful. I hope he gets over himself. What a weird thing.
Eve said…
Oh, dear. I thought only freaks did that. I saw an indie short film once about Mexican-Americans lightening their skin to blend in. I feel for these people ... they must really hate themselves, or they feel it's necessary to "pass." I feel ... an indescribable feeling. Not quite pity. Not quite empathy. Not quite sadness. It is a feeling I cannot describe. But there is a very heavy feeling in my chest right now after seeing those photos.
Daniel said…
Just a brief comment, about the ad.
The Indian Caste system, in which color played a significant role, was put in place by Hinduism long, long before the exploitative British Empire arrived. They may have accepted, even used it, but they did not invent or impose it. Hinduism did.
Gina Carroll said…
I suppose he is employing the same only-tell-the-truth-when-cornered-like-with-the-steriod-inquiry approach!!

Seriously, though, the combination of the Sosa pictures and that devastating Ponds commercial is forcing me to take to my bed!!
One question---is the nose comin' off next?!?!?
2009 and he's bleaching his skin?

this is crazy...I never would have know if I hadn't seen the two pictures side by side.

It makes me wonder why did I personally wish my daughter had come out my complexion as opposed to my husbands.

I want to say it's because I love the caramel toffee color that I am, but I wonder if there's something deeper than that or is it nothing more...I'm just not sure.
Liz Dwyer said…
MFA Mama,
I'm grateful to know I've been applying moisturizer incorrectly all these years.

It's so important to talk to kids about how nuts this, and about the racism that causes this, because it's all around them and if we don't talk about it, who will?

I think it made his skin texture even worse looking.

I know the feeling you mean. I really do. Every group of people around the world that's been colonized or, in the case of India, been colonized and also ruled by lighter-skinned ancient invaders (Persians) has this desire for lighter skin. We can break this cycle in our own personal lives and circles of influence. I really believe we can.

I'd argue that Hinduism did not exactly cause the caste system. I don't think God wants people to divide themselves based on color. However, people do bring their own cultural negativity/baggage to their religious practice all the time. That said, I don't think we can at all downplay the impact of British racism and exploitation on India. I think the legacy of that, much like the legacy of chattel slavery here in the States is STILL playing itself out.

I have a feeling that if Sosa could get rid of the nose he would.

He sure is and seems to be real proud of that fact. SMH.

Brown English Muffin,
Yeah, if I sat next to him I wouldn't know he's Sammy Sosa. I completely understand the questions you're asking yourself. I think we all get impacted by the colorism we've grown up with and been surrounded by our entire lives. It seeps into our lives sometimes, sometimes consciously, sometimes not.
Tafari said…
"It's a cream that I have, that I used to soften (my skin), but has bleached me some."

Clearly, he's still having a problem grasping the English language.
Liz Dwyer said…
Haha! Maybe he should've worked on some personal improvement of a different kind!
Unknown said…
There is a difference between a actual skin condition called vitiligo and fakes like this

He’s deniying the fact he doesn’t like his skin tone, so what he does is bleach it, Are you kidding me. No one is stupid enough to believe it’s skin softener.

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