Earlier this year, retired baseball star Sammy Sosa caused a stir on social media when he appeared in an interview ahead of the MLB All-Star game.
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
His lighter-than-ever complexion caused a lot of concern and sparked speculation about the motives behind his look.
Well, Sosa has managed to get the Twitterverse talking once again. People cannot believe that new photos circulating of the baseball legend on vacation feature the same Sammy Sosa they grew up loving and admiring.
These are the photos of Sammy Sosa that have created a whole new uproar on social media.
In 2009, Sosa told “Primer Impacto” that he uses a skin-softening cream that also happens to bleach his skin. According to ESPN, Sosa claims that he needs the cream to make his skin soft after all the time he has spent in the sun playing baseball.
“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,” Sosa said in the interview according to ESPN.
Some fans couldn’t believe it was actually Sosa.
I didn’t even recognize him at first pic.twitter.com/MQqDd66bbu
— dassit (@tiajosephina) November 7, 2017
The increased lightening of his skin tone has led many to express concern about his mental health.
The Sammy Sosa transformation in 3 pictures pic.twitter.com/JOMl5upVTk
— Eric Fawcett (@Efawcett7) November 8, 2017
And the social media jokes about his situation have made many people uncomfortable.
Can I just say that the stuff where people make fun of Sammy Sosa's lighter-skinned appearance makes me deeply uncomfortable? Not even from a racial perspective, but mostly from a health/mental health perspective. Lay off.
— Brett Taylor (@Brett_A_Taylor) November 7, 2017
There have been jokes made about the progression of his skin tone changing and they are pretty cringe-worthy. While the jokes are frequent on social media, there are also people who seem legitimately concerned with Sosa’s overall well-being.
The discussion of Sosa’s skin has inevitably circled back to the discussion of colorism in the Dominican community.
If you want a glimpse at the depth of anti-blackness and colorism in Dominican Republic, just look at Sammy Sosa.
— Lil Uzi's shoulder (@solopolo808) July 13, 2017
Miami Herald reporter Francis Robles, who has covered the Dominican Republic at length, explained to NPR that many people in the Dominican Republic who are black don’t realize they are black until they go to the U.S.
Robles says part of the colorism in the Dominican Republic influenced by Haiti’s 22-year rule over the Dominican Republic:
“The Dominican Republic is the only country in Latin America that got its freedom – not from Spain – but from Haiti, from a black country. In the 1800s, Haiti gets independence, and then a few years later it takes over the entire of island of Hispaniola. So for 22 years, the Dominicans were under the rule of the Haitians. And for many years after that, even after they were freed, you have presidents in the Dominican Republic who really instigated a sense that anything Haitian was bad, anything black was bad.”
While many fans remain sad that Sosa has changed his appearance so drastically…
That Sammy Sosa pic super, super sad.
— Bran. (@brandometry) November 8, 2017
… Others are trying to remember the baseball legend as he was in the past.
— mannish & ornery® (@theindigocode) November 8, 2017