Beyonce in Blackface Sparks Major Criticism

Beauty & Style 8

Beyonce BlackfaceJust a few days ago, she went blond and was accused of betraying women of color.

Now, Beyonce is wearing blackface for an editorial spread in French magazine L'Officiel Paris and critics are baring their claws once again.

The inspiration for the makeup for the photo shoot is the result of "several African rituals during which paint is used on the face," according to a statement from the magazine given to Access Hollywood. "We find the images beautiful and inspiring."

But not everyone agrees.

Jezebel writer Dodai Stewart writes:

It's one thing to feel moved by Fela Kuti [a Nigerian musician who inspired songs from Beyonce's upcoming album], and quite another to treat blackness as a fashion accessory, like a pair of glittery heels you put on because it looks cool.

Charing Ball from the Atlanta Post adds:

While my adoration for Beyonce’s talent and work ethic are unparalleled, I’m not quite sure as to why she would agree to do a photo shoot that associates her with one of the most deeply rooted racist images in American history.

And Nadra Kareem Nittle from Bitch Magazine writes:

I have no idea what Beyoncé’s politics are or if she’s at all socially conscious, but blackface is terribly offensive—no matter if the person wearing it is white, black, or from another racial group ... Blackface simply can’t be separated from its ugly history. It was used to literally paint African Americans as cartoonish and sub-human.

The photos are going viral on the Internet and everyone seems to have an opinion about them, mostly negative.

What say you?


Image via YouTube

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Madel... MadelynMc

That doesn't look like "real" blackface at all to me. If they explained that it had to do with honoring an African ritual, then why is it a big deal? Why do we over-analyze these things so much?

Zamaria Zamaria

Ok I am definately not a Beyonce fan. But seriously, come on. Dying her hair is turning her back on black women? I dye my hair brown. None of my Irish relatives think I'm turning my back on them. And wearing paint is not wrong. It looks nothing like blackface paint. Some people will make drama out of absolutely anything. Get a life!

angev... angevil53

so i wonder what those people have to say about the tribes in africa that "paint" their faces white for rituals? i think it's just art, and how are we to show the newer generations about blackface without doing it every once in awhile(in the name of history)? and how about embracing as a new custom to show how beautiful being black is instead of always going to the past.

i feel sorry for beyonce at this point, she's too white and now she's too black...

miche... micheledo

Blackface is BLACK.  Not dark brown.

And calling it racist - to imitate the African rituals.  The African tribes still do this today.  So they are being racist?

She's gorgeous and this photo reminded me of a strong African women (I have traveled in 3 different African countries and lived in one of them).  The African women are some of the MOST beautiful women I have ever seen.

vicesix vicesix

Why does it feel like when dealing with issues of race, you just can't win?

Poor Beyonce. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

lkm091 lkm091

Is it me, or does she look a lot like Naomi Campbell in that picture?  

On another note, I couldnt' have stated it better, vicesix.

bills... billsfan1104

I feel so sorry for Beyonce. If they understand what blackface really was and what it looked like, they wouldnt be bitching. But it is obvious, they dont know squat.

mandy... mandyhornbuckle

Oversensitive much?

Let me hop down a bunny trail for a minute here - during the Mastership ceremony in my husband's taekwondo organization, the Master Nominees get down on their knees and bow all the way down to the ground toward the Grand Master. I've seen the ceremony every year, and it makes me a little uncomfortable every time, because to me, in my culture, it looks like they're worshiping him, and I'm not cool with that.

However, when you understand the reason behind it, the culture from which it comes, you understand that this bow in Korean culture is like a really, really, respectful handshake. That's it. It's a way of showing respect, not worship.

Now, I don't know if this Beyonce paint thing was a publicity stunt or really was an artistic shoot honoring "several African rituals during which paint is used on the face," but if it's explained that way, despite the history of what that kind-of-sort-of looks like to us, it could be very different. I don't think this means Beyonce is racist against her own race (really?). I think probably it's just a fashion/art/tradition thang.

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