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|Product type||Oral hygiene|
|Owner||Hawley & Hazel|
|Produced by||Hawley & Hazel|
Hong Kong (1973–)
|Introduced||December 7 1933|
Darlie, originally known as Darkie, is a toothpaste brand of Hawley & Hazel Chemical Company (Official Slogan: 'Powering Your Smile.'). Hawley & Hazel was established in Shanghai in 1933 and later based in Taiwan (1949) and Hong Kong (1973). In 1985, Colgate-Palmolive acquired 50% of Hawley & Hazel.
Hawley and Hazel marketed Darkie toothpaste as a parody of an American minstrel performer, Al Jolson, who became popular for his blackface performances. The whiteness of his teeth inspired the brand name and logo. Darky, or darkie, is a racist term used primarily in the Western World to refer to black people. The packaging featured an image of a wide-eyed, white man in blackface, wearing a top hat, monocle and bow-tie, an image associated with minstrel shows.
In 1985, after Colgate-Palmolive acquired 50% of Hawley & Hazel, great controversy erupted over the brand in the United States, to which Colgate-Palmolive CEO Ruben Mark responded by issuing an apology and replacing the English name of the toothpaste to "Darlie" in 1989, and altering the image on the packaging to show a racially ambiguous face in a top hat to avoid racial misunderstanding. However, the Chinese name of the brand, "黑人牙膏" (in English, "Black Person Toothpaste"), remains the same and a Chinese-language advertising campaign reassured customers that "Black Person Toothpaste is still Black Person Toothpaste".
After the entry of Colgate-Palmolive, the brand continued to be sold in several Asian countries, including Taiwan, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand where its brand and logo were not considered offensive. Colgate-Palmolive announced the brand would not be sold outside of Asia.
The brand experienced an increase of both popularity and notoriety in 2004, after the toothpaste, along with other allegedly racist brands, was featured in the mockumentary C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America. It was depicted as a fictional brand that is popular in the alternative history of the film; the final credits reveal that it, along with most of the other brands, is a genuine product.
On June 19, 2020, Colgate-Palmolive announced it will work with Hawley & Hazel to "review and further evolve all aspects" of the Darlie brand, including the brand name. At the time of the announcement, the Chinese name of Darlie still continues to be "黑人牙膏" (in English, "Black Person Toothpaste"). The announcement followed similar announcements made by PepsiCo/Quaker Oats (Aunt Jemima) and Mars, Incorporated (Uncle Ben's) for their respective brands. In November 2020, the blackface imagery of the brand remained unchanged.
The original flavor of Darlie was mint. Other flavors are available for children.
As of 1989[update], the toothpaste held a 75% market share in Taiwan, 50% in Singapore, 30% in Malaysia and Hong Kong and 20% in Thailand.Nowadays it is one of the bestselling toothpaste brands in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, with between 10 to 30 percent market share.
- Chocolate-coated marshmallow treats, which in many languages are named with words akin to "darky"
- Commercial products using the word "nigger"
- Stone Fish, Isaac (2010-11-30). "Back to the Days of Blackface". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 2010-12-02.
- "Darkie drops offensive name and logo". Straits Times. 1989-01-29. p. 6. Archived from the original (JPEG) on 2015-12-04.
- hkcfphobia (2007-08-01). "【HKTVC】Darlie 黑人牙膏 1990/20sec". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- "'Darkie' toothpaste puts company in a squeeze". Baltimore Afro-American. 1986-03-01. Retrieved 2015-12-04 – via Google.
- McCarthy, Todd (2004-03-09). "Review: 'C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America'". Variety. Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- Shakib, Delara (June 19, 2020). "Colgate-Palmolive to review product's name that translates to 'Black people toothpaste'". NBC News. Retrieved June 20, 2020.
- Grundy, Tom (November 27, 2020). "Darlie toothpaste remains on shelves five months after Colgate vowed to rethink 'racist' brand". Hong Kong Free Press. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
- http🖉"Darlie Hong Kong | Toothpastes, Toothbrushes & Oral Care Tips". Darlie Hong Kong Official Page.
- Whiting, Kenneth L. (1989-04-17). "Darkie Toothpaste Changes Name". Singapore. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 2013-10-30. Retrieved 2013-10-29.
- Christopher DeWolf (2018-12-10). "How Darkie, now Darlie, became East Asia's favourite toothpaste despite its blackface branding". South China Morning Post.