Beyonce is once again being scrutinized for allegedly agreeing to have her skin colour altered for marketing purposes. In 2008 she came under fire when she appeared in a L’Oreal ad with noticeably paler skin. L’Oreal was accused of ‘whitewashing’ her. While Beyonce was perceived to be detached from her own blackness.
Now Beyonce is being scrutinised for doing the opposite- having her skin darkened in an “African-inspired” photo shoot for the March issue of L’Officiel Paris. The French magazine is celebrating it’s 90th anniversary, and Beyonce’s photo shoot is intended to be a homage to Nigerian musician/activist, Fela Kuti. Apparently she went to see the Broadway show, Fela! (which Jay-Z produced) and was inspired to reference his music in her upcoming album.
In the glossy Beyonce appears in a series of photographs in blackface make-up, tribal paint and a dress that’s designed by her mom.
According to a statement by the magazine Beyonce is “far from the glamorous Sasha Fierce, the beauty posed for the magazine with amazing fashion designers clothes, but also in a dress created by her mother. [It is] A return to her African roots, as you can see on the picture, on which her face was voluntarily darkened”
For some people outside of the US the backlash is unwarranted. But blackface makeup is historically controversial because of it’s origins. It was used in the 19th century on stage performances as a method of mocking African-Americans in shows. So the photoshoot has sparked numerous debates about the perception and portrayal of (black) beauty, what it means to be African and more so African-American and whether racism is being disguised as art in race related magazine shoots and covers.
I don’t think the real issue is racism, black face or not. The root cause of the scrutiny, in my opinion, is the fact that this is not backed by research.
As an African and Nigerian woman, it is extremely disappointing. If you’re paying a tribute to Fela Kuti, please conduct your research (a plane flight would have sufficed) and learn that Nigerians do not wear tribal paint, leopard prints, and bone necklaces. That is the slanted view Americans have of Africans.
Secondly, the need to go darker is stereotypical after all, there are lighter Nigerian women than Beyone back in Nigeria.
Thirdly, please be respectful of a legend (Fela had his faults like every other great person we admire) and know your heritage, that is of course, if Beyonce is even linkaged to Fela which I doubt she is.
Did anyone even think to consult with his family? To get a true rendering? No, not at all. This is all about a magazine’s 90th anniversary. Fine you want to promote your mother’s clothing line for Walmart. Does that warrant this negligence?
Just because you are a young black woman that has a huge following (I am one), who was inspired by Fela, and therefore wanted to pay homage, it doesn’t mean it’s okay to not get it right.
Because it is “high art”, it is still not okay. Just because it’s Beyonce, it is not okay (besides, this further demonstrates the ineptness of this situation because I would hope that no other black woman ever leave her brain at home when this idea was vetted).
To claim ignorance is not bliss. For the sake of self promotion, it is not.
People jst need 2 totte over and take a fat 1……….cuz people jst trippin cuz its beyonce……we as blacks cld put white on our face but bey as an African American cnt b artistic and paint her face black……wht ? Its not artistic enough even to be black……I am red and I think black is beautiful so I wld love 2 try a darker tone…….by people bringing a race thng back n2 this …jst mean they still got the power ……wht was said back then dnt got **** 2 do wit now cuzz we proved them wrong over and over wht we are made of…………and no 1 said anything when MJ wnt white and wanted white kids
African roots? I would be surprised if she has more than 1/32 black genes. That’s not black, it’s wannabe black.
Man, how the hell is that blackface?? Blackface was used by white people to degrade and make fun of black people in this country; even tho i’m not a fan of Beyonce, she’s not doing that to degrade Black people. Maybe this homage is iffy, but it isn’t blackface and folks need to shut up about it. i mean really. No one said a thing when she did that in dream girls. Besides that, i think it’s kinda cool and that it kinda honors chocolate skin. Good grief, masses and their constant bitchin’.
The greed, arrogance and ignorance of American stars – Beyonce, Jay-Z, Will Smith is mind boggling. Why would any African American support blackface which is such a stark reminder of racist America’s demeaning portrayal of black people and intended for their ultimate ridicule. And to associate this image with the legend of Ransome Fela Kuti shows such disrespect for Africa.
What is black man/woman, what is Negro? Black people, why do we degrade our race? Why do we pollute it with all kinds of colours, why do we allow it to be a dumping ground for rejects from other races. Example 1) white and black couple mate, the child is termed black. 2) chinese and black mate the child is termed black. Whites, Chinese, Indians, Arabs will not accept anyone that isn’t the definition of their race but blacks do. Why is that? I will ask you one last question WHY IS OBAMA BLACK? From now on all black people must say “anyone who is mixed with any non-black race is not a black person” full stop!!
Just a small point of correction Fela’s last name is spelt Kuti.