Sammy Sosa made an appearance this week on ESPN before the MLB All-Star game and made waves with his new look. Not only was the retired baseball player wearing an all pink outfit, complete with a magenta fedora, his skin was even lighter and rosier than the last time he made a public appearance –where his lighter skin was called into question. If you’ll recall back in 2009 for a Latin Grammys appearance in Las Vegas, Sosa’s skin was much lighter. He even wore contact lenses. After the Latin Grammys, he was interviewed by “Primer Impacto” about his skin. Sosa told the news show that he wasn’t trying to be like Michael Jackson, who had vitiligo and used skin lightening creams to reduce the spots that develop due to the condition. Sosa denied having vitiligo and said, “I don’t think I look like Michael Jackson.”
Sammy Sosa’s skin lightening took a giant leap recently.
In this interview for ESPN, Sosa talked about his experiences as a player in the Home Run Derby. But it is his extremely light skin, much lighter than his last appearances back in 2009, that sparked conversation on social media.
Seeing Sosa in this state, on the surface of it, it appears funny and it clearly sent some on social media into a laughing frenzy.
Sammy Sosa out here lookin like Pepto Bismal. pic.twitter.com/1xdKo84Bko
— OXTAIL GAWD (@ThatDudeMCFLY) July 13, 2017
Pepto, is apt, but definitely a low blow.
This one went as far as comparing his looks to Neopolitan Ice Cream.
Sammy Sosa really living his life as a one man Neapolitan Ice Cream pic.twitter.com/enU75FS5ML
— Ol' QWERTY Bastard (@TheDiLLon1) July 13, 2017
Sure, some laughed, but others are genuinely concerned.
I don't know what Sammy Sosa is going through, but the most important lesson I've learned in life is to love yourself for who you are. pic.twitter.com/uZ5hH2dTG9
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) July 13, 2017
This Twitter user seemed to be offering Sosa some helpful advice on self-love.
Some see Sosa’s changes as a sign of self-loathing.
This is what self-hate looks like: Sammy Sosa before and after pic.twitter.com/UsOkhk7zxp
— Little But Talawa (@LittleButTalawa) July 13, 2017
This Dominicana called out her countryman for what she sees as an issue in her community.
sammy sosa = the perfect example of a dominican that doesn't want to be defined as black. self hate is real. dominicans in denial is real.
— Jessica Johnson (@iheartdilla) July 13, 2017
Others just can’t get over how different he looks.
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
And while Sosa has said he is “not a racist,” there are some that claim Sosa made disparaging remarks about dark skin.
i talked to a makeup lady once who said sammy sosa asked her to make sure not to make him look "demasiado negro" https://t.co/lIzzYcMdE8
— El Flaco (@bomani_jones) July 13, 2017
Sosa previously mentioned what changed his skin, telling ESPN in 2009, “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.” Sports journalist Bomani Jones thinks otherwise, though, having tweeted about a makeup artist he knows who recounted Sosa asking her not to make him look “demasiado negro.”
Sosa’s odd behavior hasn’t been limited to his altered appearance. Earlier this year, in a February interview with Chuck Wasserstrom, Sosa compared himself to Jesus:
“Chuck, it’s like Jesus Christ when he came to Jerusalem. Everybody thought Jesus Christ was a witch (laughing) – and he was our savior. So if they talk (poop) about Jesus Christ, what about me? Are you kidding me?”
This was a response to Wasserstrom’s questions about the home run chase between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in 1998. It was a never before seen hit for hit attempt to break the home run record in one season. Both players beat the previous record of 61 home runs, but ultimately, with the aid of steroids, McGwire beat Sosa 70 to 66. There were rumblings that Sosa had also been using performance enhancing drugs, but no tests ever turned up positive for it.
It appears that Sosa has gotten as light skinned as he can probably get, but will he stop there? Can he stop there? We hope that if this is more than skin deep, he can find the self-love he needs to be happy with who he is.