Fair & Handsome, Meet Dark & Confident

A chat with David Livingstone
Sales pitches for fairness products suggest that a man needs to lighten up to get the job, to get the girl, to get more out of life. Twenty-nine year-old David Livingstone says that’s “hideous,” and in this interview with Dark is Beautiful, he offers his own take on what it means to be fair.

DisB: Have you ever tried fairness products?

David: I have never tried them or wanted to try them. I always felt fairness creams make you look unnaturally a shade whiter. I have seen it on other people and have not liked it. They look like they are painted white. I just use cologne and shave cream. That’s it.

DisB: What do you think about ads that promote fairness creams?

David: I find the whole concept of people wanting to be fair and the cosmetic industry promoting that idea quite hideous. Advertisements promoting fair skin always bothered me. I kept asking myself, “Why do they do this? What’s wrong with them?” Thankfully, I never thought that something was wrong with me 

DisB: Have you been passed up for opportunities in jobs, marriage/dating (or anything), because of skin colour?

David: I am not aware even if I was.


DisB: Tell us about your childhood; how did you feel about your skin colour growing up?

David: My siblings are coloured lighter than I am. My parents never mentioned anything about my colour or made me feel less than my siblings. In fact, they helped me accept myself the way I am. 

In school, we all had nicknames. In my case, being nicknamed because of my colour was part of it. I had other nicknames, too. I just took it in stride. I didn’t let it affect me in any deep way. 

Over the years I have learned to accept myself the way God made me— in His image. I have confidence in who I am, just the way I am. I don’t feel the need to change my skin colour. 

DisB: You travel a lot for your job. Is there a difference in how people treat you in North India vs. South India? 

David: Yes, definitely. In the North, some people try and stay away from you and make you feel different because you are dark. They may call you “Madrasi” if they think you come from Chennai/Tamil Nadu. 

But I don’t care. I reach out to them and let them see me for who I am. I am not so bothered by how they treat me, but rather by how they perceive another human being based on their skin colour. I used to think, “They know no better.” I felt sad for them. 

DisB: What are your observations about the proportions of fair and dark skin in India?

David: If I walked into a room full of people here in India, definitely the ones who are fair-skinned would catch my attention. But only initially. It is probably because the others are darker and the ones with fair skin stand out. Eventually I’d look beyond that. If I walked into a room filled with fair-skinned people, the ones that are dark would catch my attention. Why make such a big deal about colour?

DisB: Any final comments? 

David: Stop worrying about skin colour. Beauty is about character. To me, the word “fair” isn’t about skin tones; it’s about who you are and what you do.

That’s why I think the Fair and Handsome ad is unfair, and I support the petition to take it down. Why demean people who are dark? We need more responsible advertising. 



Click here to say NO to unfair advertising and YES to take down the Fair and Handsome advertisement

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