Kartel has been embroiled in controversy over the visible lightening of his skin, admitting to the use of ‘cake soap’ which has grabbed the attention of overseas websites and radio stations. Last week allhiphop.com, as well as www.rollingout.com discussed the deejay’s skin lightening. On allhiphop.com, Kartel was featured with the headline ‘Hip-Hop Rumors: Dark-Skin Reggae Artist Lightens Skin’ in which they wrote, “I thought black was beautiful!? Well, it is, but reggae artiste Vybz Kartel is doing the opposite of what people do when they tan. He’s been lightening his skin.”
On www.vibe.com last Wednesday, the website also featured the deejay with the headline ‘Peep This: Vybz Kartel Defends His Newly Bleached Skin’ in which they commented, “Jamaican reggae and dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel has resurfaced as a much lighter-skinned man. Although his transformation has caused much backlash from fans and critics, the musician (born rather dark-skinned) compares his decision to fairer people getting a tan.”
Two days later Kartel responded on the website commenting, “I’m my own man, and as such I do my own thing. When black women stop straightening their hair and wearing wigs and weaves, when white women stop getting lip and butt injections and implants, when bald men stop getting hair transplants, and when people stop getting nose jobs and cosmetic surgery, then I’ll stop using the cake soap and we’ll all live naturally ever after. Until then —— you all.”
Kartel makes reference to cake soap in a number of songs, the most recent being Look Pon We featuring Russian in which he deejays, “Di girls dem love mi bleached out face,” further referring to himself as ‘Michael Cakesoap Jackson’. In an interview with The Gleaner late last year, Kartel said the cake soap he refers to in his music, and which is responsible for his changing appearance, is his personal soap which he is planning to release on the local market soon.
The overseas attention kept coming in this week as on Monday the artiste was interviewed via telephone by New York’s Hot 97FM’s Cipha Sounds and Rosenberg about his skin-bleaching controversy. Speaking with The WEEKEND STAR recently, Kartel, however, doesn’t seem to be dismayed about the negative attention. He said, “I love attention, and, more importantly, I love to get my point across especially in situations like this.”
As to whether he feels the skin-bleaching issue will be affecting his career and image overseas he said, “No. And if it does, so what? I am who I am. I do what I feel as long as it is within the confines of the law. And funny enough, both interviews I did on two major stations abroad (Ciphersounds on Hot97 in New York and Tim Westwood, BBC in the UK) both hosts expressed their admiration and respect for my statement as it relates to the issue.”
The deejay also added that he has big plans this year saying, “My new hobby for 2011 is philanthropy. I have quite a few projects in the pipeline. Won’t delve into detail but trust me, they’re gonna be quite a lot.”