CCLLC, DavidPersonMedia collaborate to educate women about the potential risk of skin lightening

Feb. 6, 2023 at the  duPont-Columbia Awards in New York. At the podium, actress Erika Alexander, host and producer of the award-winning Audible Original Finding Tamika. Behind her, from left to right: Producers Ben Arnon, Rebkah Howard, James T. Green and David Person.

Communication and Culture, LLC (CCLLC) has received a new award from the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (FDA OMHHE) for research titled: “Content analysis of advertisements and news of skin-lightening products targeting black women and community outreach program.”  

The research findings will help educate women from diverse communities about the potential risk of using over the counter (OTC) skin lightening products that contain mercury or hydroquinone. “The effects of skin lightening on the physiological and psychological health of Black women have been well documented. This project strengthens the science base for education and public health awareness on the use of and potential risks from skin lightening products,” said Donna Oti, Chief Executive Officer of CCLLC.

CCLLC is partnering with DavidPersonMedia, LLC on this project. Its founder, David Person, was awarded the 2023 duPont-Columbia Award along with the other creators and producers of Audible’s Finding Tamika audiobook.  

“I’ve seen the damage done to Caribbean women who attempted to bleach their skin with skin lightening products,” Person said. “My hope is that this project can help prevent the medical and psychological damage that skin bleaching causes.”  

Skin lightening represents a global health crisis rooted in colorism. This study will contribute to the research about skin lightening in the United States, which is rarely discussed in many communities because of social stigma and the advertising practice of masking skin lightening products with euphemisms such as “radiant” and “brightening” instead of stigmatized terms such as bleaching or whitening. 

“Our goal is to communicate scientific evidence to help women make informed decisions about using OTC skin lightening products,” Oti explained. “We must protect women of diverse skin types and backgrounds who are disproportionally affected by products with harmful agents. We also seek to encourage research that contributes to health equity by addressing concerns affecting women from various racial groups.”  

This project is supported by the FDA OMHHE of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $245,000 with 100 percent funded by FDA OMHHE/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by FDA/HHS, or the U.S. Government.