Sammy Sosa’s decision to change his skin hue isn’t new, but after a recent appearance on ESPN Deportes, fans were left scratching their heads over his lighter appearance.
On Wednsday (July 12) ESPN Depores aired a special about the All-Star Home Run Derby with Sosa making a brief appearance. As he shared his thoughts on the game he owned over two decades ago, social media was left fixated on his skin tone.
They need to do a #30for30 on Sammy Sosa and not even talk about baseball.
“What if I told you that this guy…was also this guy…” pic.twitter.com/94JK1CjdTs
— BigHeadSports (@BigHeadSports) July 13, 2017
The retired baseball player shared his decision to lighten his skin in 2009. “It’s a bleaching cream that I apply before going to bed and whitens my skin some,” Sosa said to Univision’s “Primer Impacto.” “It’s a cream that I have, that I use to soften [my skin], but has bleached me some. I’m not a racist, I live my life happily. What happened was that I had been using the cream for a long time and that, combined with the bright TV lights, made my face look whiter than it really is. I don’t think I look like Michael Jackson.”
Nonethless, his transformation has been hard to digest by fans.
During his heyday in ’03, this is what the former Cubs player looked like:
And later at his birthday party in 2009.
And during another celeb swanky event with David Arquette in 2014.
His ESPN Deportes look hints Sosa has continued the bleaching process, with Twitter taking immediate notice.
Sammy Sosa out here lookin like Pepto Bismal. pic.twitter.com/1xdKo84Bko
— OXTAIL GAWD (@ThatDudeMCFLY) July 13, 2017
Sammy Sosa really living his life as a one man Neapolitan Ice Cream pic.twitter.com/enU75FS5ML
— Ol’ QWERTY Bastard (@TheDiLLon1) July 13, 2017
Sammy Sosa look like the milk at the bottom of a bowl of Fruity Pebbles. pic.twitter.com/y3nPyL1HtF
— Craig Bro Dude (@CraigSJ) July 13, 2017
Sammy Sosa then, and Sammy Sosa now, don’t look like the same human being. They don’t even look related to each other. pic.twitter.com/bp9QxysV3y
— LEFT✍🏾 (@LeftSentThis) July 13, 2017
Jokes aside, it’s hard to ignore the lingering factor of colorism that plays apart in the existence of bleaching creams and other methods some people of color have used to change their skin tone.
Sammy Sosa lightening himself is a result of a perverted system of white supremacy that causes ppl to take extreme measures to feel “safe”
— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) July 13, 2017
It’s sad that the emotional pain Sammy Sosa feels about being black is so sharp he was willing to endure bleaching himself pink.
— roxane gay (@rgay) July 13, 2017
Skin Bleaching is a billion-dollar business in places like Asia, with it catching popularity in West and South Africa, as well as Jamaica. Newsweek reports Ghana placed a ban on the product, but has faced issues removing skin bleaching products from retail shops. While over the years, ads have been less problematic, it hasn’t changed the curiosity of those interested in bleaching their skin.
Watch Sosa’s interview with ESPN Deportes here.