Does Sammy Sosa’s Skin Rejuvenation Matter?

November 9th, 2009, byStaff

Questions abound. People want to know why former Chicago Cubs player Sammy Sosa appeared several shades lighter at the Latin Grammy Awards last week (pictured right) than he did several months ago at a People En Espanol event in May 2009 (pictured left).

What the heck happened?

His friend and former Cubs employee, Rebecca Polihronis, told the Chicago Tribune that it was a skin rejuvenation process.

Why does any of this matter?

Because historically, deeply entrenched racism and discrimination conditioned many people of color to believe that dark skin is bad. And therefore, lighter skin (and straight hair, and blue/green/light brown eye color, and thinner noses) are good.

So when Sammy Sosa goes off and rejuvenates his skin, people don’t just laugh and say, “I think you overdid the rejuvenation! LOL. Lay off the skin treatment, Sammy.”

Instead, people question whether his lighter complexion isn’t the result of deep-seated self-hatred, especially since it appears he also wears green contact lenses. They compare him to Michael Jackson and ask, “Do you want to look white, Sammy?”

What do you think? Does Sammy Sosa’s appearance have larger implications? Do you think the light skin vs. dark skin issue is still prevalent? Is it relevant? Share your thoughts below.

  • Jennifer M

    As someone who suffers from a skin disorder it should not matter what is going on with Sammy Sosa’s skin because we don’t really know what’s going on in his private life. If he really wants to share what he is doing don’t you think he should do it on HIS time?
    I’m self conscious about my condition and I cover up that
    I have dark splotches from a genetic condition. I don’t use make up to cover it up, nor do I bleach my skin or do anything about it but pray people won’t talk about me to further augment my insecurity. I didn’t want kids in school to know about my issue so I never wore skits, dresses or shorts or even tank tops to show my skin problem. I stopped going to the swimming pool to in fear of being pointed at.
    If Sammy Sosa weren’t a public figure do you think it is of importance to know WHY they are changing color? Is it YOUR business to know it? Why is it so important?
    The mainstream media and gossip media talked about Michael Jackson like a DOG when he said he had vitiligo and the media still debates IF he had it since the man has died.
    Please stay OUT of people’s skin issues if they aren’t going to discuss it openly.
    Curiosity killed the cat!

  • Quinlan

    As a person of color who was much much lighter in complexion before I started laying in the sun for long periods, I do not see what the big deal is. For some people of color the sun causes a condition called hyper pigmentation. This makes scars or acne spots darker when exposed to sunlight. I also causes the sin to darken to protect itself from the suns rays.

  • Rosa A. Clemente

    yes it does matter as an afro latina myself, it is disturbing o see one of the few self proclaimed afro latino men in baseball look this way, it sends a horrible message, particularly to young Dominican youth and other afro latino youth in the caribbean and in the united states, if it is a skin disorder i want him to say it, i myself have family members with hyper-pigmentation who’ve become lighter due to that, but unless he makes a clear statement around what has happened to his complexion we are left to assume that this was by choice and if so, the levels of self hatred speaks volume,

  • Kathy-Ellen

    No one seems to make a big fuss when other celebrities with light skin use tanning beds. Often they end up with brown blotches that don’t clear up.

  • Fred G. Sandford

    I think that Sammy has had to deal with what is known as racism within ones own race. The brown bag theory is deeply rooted in the south in the AfroAmerican culture. I have many latin friends and it is also a part of their culture as well. This is where people of a race treats its members different according to the shade and not exactly the color of their skin. My family has many shades, almost like a rainbow of brown, but we accept each other as the same. I think Sammy hasn’t learned to accept/love himself. Issues such as this one start on the inside and have a way of working their way outward. More than Sammy has to rid himself of this “resentment” but some cultures as well. God gave me the skin that i am in and I am very happy with it. I was onced told by an older member of my family that ‘You was who you was, before you got here…’.

  • misstickle

    Complete self-hatred. So sad.

  • Allana Lake

    Evidently it matters to most of America, so much so that someone is now selling Sammy’s “blackness” on Ebay. I guess if u win the auction you can become an honorary black person lol. Here’s the link:

  • being latino

    Yes it does matter! This video pretty much sums it up.

  • Bateaux1999

    He looks absolutely ridiculous to me. Lots of women and men get plastic surgery for boob enhancements, booty implants, lace topped wigs from Hollywood. I remember a time when some black people believed that Palmer Skin Sucess Bleaching Cream would make them appear lighter and acceptable to white people. To each his own. Black and Proud of my butterscotch skin and dimples on my face and behind! (smiling)

  • Rodney Jean

    This is a tough one but I have to be on the fence with this one. I’m a first generation Haitian born in Brooklyn, NY. My mother was a Haitian/Dominican immigrant. I say this because it seems to be a struggle for some African and Hispanic american this day and age to hold on to roots. Everyone just wants to make it in life and some are plagued with the elision that you must look a certain way in order to be excepted. For many years it was the clothes, hair and the way you talk. Technology now brings us change of eye color and the ability to lighten ones skin. It’s a shame but there’s a market out there will be exploitative to those that are concerned with bridge of genetic appearance and success. Love yourself people. If you can’t, start small and get a pet to love you and grow from there.

Last modified: May 4, 2011 at 9:39 pm