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Sammy Sosa’s Curious Skin Care Regimen

November 14, 2009

Sammy Sosa

Former baseball superstar and home run slugger, Sammy Sosa had a little surprise for fans when he made an appearance in Las Vegas recently.

The former Chicago Cub star showed up at the Latino Grammy Awards in Las Vegas with bleached White skin.

It seems that Sosa has been using some kind of “skin rejuvenation” cream which just so happens to cause his skin to lighten in color.

An acquaintance of Sosa, Rebecca Polihronis, explains: “”He’s not trying to be Michael Jackson…. He is in the middle of doing a cleansing process to his skin. The picture is deceiving. He said, ‘If you saw me in person, you would be surprised. When you see me in person, it is not going to seem like the picture.'”


This doesn’t explain why Sosa also sported green contact lenses and a relaxed hairdo at his Las Vegas appearance. Indeed, ESPN’s Jemele Hill raises some disturbing questions about Sosa’s “skin care” regimen:

Sosa certainly isn’t the first sports figure to use cosmetic assistance — [cough] Jerry Jones — but when a once-dark-complected man from the Dominican Republic is whitening his skin and wearing green colored contact lenses, it suggests he’s suffering from issues that extend well beyond dermatology.

Sosa’s new look implies that he has a “color complex” — a term used to describe those who have been brainwashed to believe adopting more “white” features will help them gain mainstream acceptance.


The Grio website delves into the broader cultural politics that may underlie Sosa’s change in appearance, noting that:

In the Dominican Republic, Sosa’s country of origin, people are overwhelmingly black: 90 percent have African ancestry. Yet only 11 percent identify themselves as black. And as UN experts found, there is “a profound and entrenched problem of racism and discrimination against such groups as Haitians, Dominicans of Haitian descent, and more generally against blacks within Dominican society.”

Hyphen Magazine also had a post on this subject and compared it to Asian Americans’ own issues of self-hate and beauty images:

Hearing about Sosa is disheartening, given how it relates to Asians’ and Asian Americans’ own concepts about beauty standards and body image. Eyelid and nose ridge surgeries are among the top surgeries performed in East Asia, and here in the states there are well-known Asian Americans like former LA news anchor Mia Lee who change their eyes, nose, breasts, and hair, (on top of wearing green or blue contacts). (More recent photos of her are even more dramatic and striking). It is also not uncommon to hear remarks nowadays about how much more beautiful half-white babies are, compared to say, non-white babies.

In light of these issues of race and beauty, Hyphen Magazine is holding its annual Mr. Hyphen Contest. The point of this competition is to question mainstream stereotypes about Asian masculinity (as emasculated, geeky, nerds, etc.) and celebrate a different definition of what it means to be a man. A provocative discussion about this contest and male beauty pageants in general can also be found at

3 Comments leave one →
  1. November 21, 2009 11:40 pm

    Great story!

  2. November 22, 2009 2:29 am

    nice post, I like

  3. January 5, 2012 7:27 am

    I’ve said that least 380230 times. The problem this like that is they are just too compilcated for the average bird, if you know what I mean

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