Robyne Robinson was in a gift shop two years ago when she discoverd a box of vintage products aimed at black women, including skin lightening cream products. “She said it blew her mind” recalls Robinson who is 48 years old. She said the images invoke conversation about race and advertising. Robinson decided to sell T-shirts and posters featuring the designs created byChicago’s Morton Neumann and has since launched an online store. “As slaves black people were considered three fifth human,” she says. “So post-slavery, the more white blood you had, the more opportunity you had. It was imbedded in the black community that you were better if you were lighter. Advertisers tapped into that.” Robinson sells about 20 pieces a month, named the business after her mother, whose siblings called her Black Betty because her skin was darker than most of her family’s. She hopes to evoke advance discussion about the relationship between skin color and beauty that still exist in the United States.
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