A black model who appeared in a Dove advert denounced as racist by many social media users has defended the clip, saying that it celebrated ethnic diversity rather than belittling black women.

Lola Ogunyemi found herself at the center of an international furor over a 3-second video posted on Dove’s Facebook page which showed her removing her t-shirt to reveal a white woman, who then took hers off to reveal an Asian woman.

Many Facebook and Twitter users said the clip signaled that white people were cleaner or more beautiful than black people and likened it to 19th century soap adverts that showed black people scrubbing themselves to become white.