All Articles Tagged "blackface"

Senior Kicked Out Of Kansas State University For Blackface Snapchat Photo

September 20th, 2016 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Kansas State University


Last Thursday morning, Kansas State University (KSU) student Desmund Weathers posted two images to Twitter that instantly went viral. The photos were of his KSU classmate Paige Shoemaker and her friend wearing charcoal clay face masks with the caption “Feels good to be a n*gga” and a laughing emoji face. In the same photo, Paige and her friend Sadie Meir used the West Side hand gesture that was significantly used throughout the ’90s to distinguish rap artists/groups from the West Coast. Weathers captioned his Twitter post with: “Welcome to Kansas State University. Where breakfast in the morning is some K-State Family with a side of Racism.”

Paige, who was sought out by Fusion, told the online news site in a series of tweets that she indeed made her Snapchat picture public and sent it to her friends in a joking manner. “I am the least racist and most accepting person you will meet. Never would I send it in a derogatory way,” she claimed.

After the photo began to receive national attention, Kansas State University’s Vice President Pat Bosco released a statement last Thursday condemning Paige for creating such a post: “I have become aware that one of our students posted a racially offensive photo today on social media and used one of the most derogatory words in the English language. This photo has students, faculty, staff and other members of the K-State family upset. It rightly should, as there is no place for racism at our university, regardless of what the intentions may have been. K-State prides itself on being one family, no matter your race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or abilities. All members of the K-State family deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.

“We are firmly committed to the principles of community at Kansas State University, and it is important that we educate our students daily on these principles. We must do better, and we will do better,” he concluded.

Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority , a sorority Paige was a former member of released their own statement to us via email, regarding her actions: “We have become aware that a former member of our chapter has posted racist comments on her social media channels. While she did join the Beta Upsilon Chapter at Kansas State University in 2013, she has not been a member since spring 2015 and is no longer affiliated with the organization in any capacity. Her words and actions certainly do not reflect the values and principles of Zeta Tau Alpha. Our Creed teaches us to look for the good in everyone and to seek understanding in order to gain true wisdom. Our Fraternity’s membership includes women of many races, nationalities, and religions and we all strive to seek the noblest in every endeavor.”

Ultimately, Paige was expelled from KSU that same day, with the news going public via a statement from KSU’s Associate Provost for Diversity Zelia Wiley who stated: “On Sept. 15, the university received notice that a derogatory social message and photo was sent out via social media. The involved person is not currently enrolled at the university. It is our understanding the second individual in the photo is not associated with the university.”

In an interview with KOCO, Paige told reporters that she wants the public to know that clay masks were not used as blackface. When asked why she posted a racially charged caption with the photo, Paige looked at Sadie (who was also pictured in the Snapchat photo), smiled and said, “Not that this is a good thing but that word just kind of happens in our friend group. ‘Cause we know everyone is calm—we’re a big family. So that word doesn’t offend anyone in our group.”

Paige also publicly apologized on Facebook on behalf of her and Sadie, stating: “The signs that were thrown also is an inside joke between our friends that represents ‘West Coast is the best coast. We never intended for the picture to offend anyone. We had only meant for it to be taken in a funny way, but we clearly understand that what we said should never be joked around about. People shouldn’t joke around about such a serious topic like this because it feeds into racism. We accept that there will be people who won’t forgive us, but something had to be said. Ask anyone who knows us, we are the most accepting and least racist people. We know that we will ride up and learn from this mistake. We will be better and make sure to do more than someone who is a true racist. We will battle everyone for the right to make things right,because we know what we did was wrong.”

Watch Paige’s full interview with KOCO, here.

Swedish Company’s “Dark Chocolate” Spray Tans Causing Controversy

March 11th, 2016 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Tanning, whether using a spray, laying out in the sun solely to get darker, or sitting under a UV bed, has always been controversial. This is not only because it’s dangerous, but to some, it’s just plain absurd the lengths people would go to have a darker complexion. Especially when the end result is often the somewhat orange shade the Jersey Shore cast took on back in the day due to their daily GTL routine (gym, tan, laundry).

But things are getting really weird now that there’s a company in Sweden selling spray tan that can take you way past orange, and basically make you look Black. And Swedish women are buying all the bottles they can get their hands on.

As Leila of BlackGirlLongHair shared:

The Stockholm-based Emmaatan salon, run by Emma Patissier Alm, specializes in spray tanning. But while tanning salons are often associated with being ‘bronzed’ (or, in a worst case scenario, ‘orange’), Emmaatan delves into deep brown colors with spray tan solutions like “Violet Onyx“, “Dark Ash Onyx“, “Caramel” and “Dark Chocolate.”

And the results are very startling. Lily-White women are out here with the skin color of “me and you, yo mama and your cousin too.” Shades which have been formulated and put into a bottle to be sold. The Tumblr pages Freelance-Honey-Badger and RudeGyalChina shared images from Emma Patissier Alm’s Instagram page, which is now private, that show off the effects of using Emmaatan products. We also found a few more while doing some digging:






Världens bästa @emmaatan_ har gjort det igen!🙌🏾 &Bilderna på håret ligger nu uppe på bloggen kära ni👉🏻

A photo posted by єммα αи∂єяѕѕσи (@emmajosefineandersson) on Dec 31, 2015 at 4:06am PST

😍😍😍👌 @emmaatan_ #emmaatan_

A photo posted by Emma Larsson (@emilutten) on Mar 10, 2015 at 3:46am PDT

Så snyggt med brun färg, spraytana er hos @emmaatan_ #emmaatan_ 💞✨

A photo posted by Madelene🎈 (@madde_ainerud) on Mar 8, 2015 at 12:50pm PDT

As I like to say, very interesting.

And what’s even more interesting is that the five darkest shades Emmaatan sells of Coconut, Dark Ash Onyx, Dark Ash Black, Caramel, and Chocolate, are all sold out.

This could be comical–if it weren’t so ridiculous at the same time.

As f–king.feminism fittingly put it, “i don’t know about you guys but i feel like this is basically full blackface. i mean seriously, white people are not this dark FOR A REASON. this is not a normal “tan”. you would NOT get this dark naturally. stop.”

BLM Protest Highlights Racism At The Philadelphia Mummers Parade

January 4th, 2016 - By Charing Ball
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Black Lives Matter Mummers parade

AP Images

Two activists were arrested last Friday during a protest aimed at disrupting the annual Mummers Parade, which took place in Philadelphia on New Year’s day.

According to the Facebook page listed for the event, the protests were part of ongoing actions organized by The Philly Coalition for REAL Justice. Organizers were hoping to use the local parade, known nationally for its colorful costumes and elaborate floats, to highlight police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement as well as the need to end the deportation of illegal immigrants, raise the minimum wage and provide more adequate funding for public schools in Philadelphia.

But as the couple of dozen or so activists made their ways down the parade route they were immediately met by a wall of officers, dressed in blue, who, according to various witnesses, harassed and blocked their protests.

When it was all said and done, Asa Khalif and Philadelphia school teacher Megan Malachi, who are also members of the Philly Coalition for R.E.A.L Justice, were handcuffed and detained for disrupting the parade. Also temporarily detained was a local reporter.

“We couldn’t really go out into the parade because of the barriers,” said Nichole Maxwell, a local activists who was a part of Mummers protest action. “Plus everywhere we went the police were right there. So there wasn’t even the opportunity to walk out into the parade.”

The protest was the final nail in what was supposed to be a novel year of diversity for the annual parade now in its 116th year of existence.

According to the Philadelphia Metro, two Hispanic groups, an African American drill team and “drag queens in heels” would be strutting for the first time in the country’s oldest folk festival.

But what started out with good intentions, strutted quickly down that path to Hell.

First there were “concerns” raised by some Mummers traditionalists on social media prior to the parade about its new emphasis on diversity and the impact that diversity would have on the Mummers culture. In particular one brigade member told the Philadelphia Inquirer: “They’re creating a tradition that’s not really our tradition.”

Then there were reports of racial and anti-gay intimidation during the parade including one spectator who told the Inquirer that he was punched in the face and called homophobic slurs. Then there was the questionable use of brown face and taco-dressed people during one of the parade’s performances.

And finally a viral video, which features members of the “Wenches” of Finnegan Brigade waving signs that mocked Caitlyn Jenner while Aerosmith’s “Dude Looks Like A Lady” played in the background. Also in the video, a member of the Wenches could be seen yelling “F— the gays!” at parade spectators.

Maxwell said that she is not at all surprised by the reports. In addition to the police she said that protestors also had to face down slurs and even flying cans and garbage from some of the parade’s more spirited spectators. Those incidents, she said, were mostly ignored by the police.

“This is why we wanted to be out here. This is what the Mummers represents. You don’t just have the regular white racists, you have the South Philly racists. You know, people who are deeply entrenched and comfortable in their racism,” she said.

To understand Maxwell’s point further is to understand the history of the parade itself, which is rooted in a predominately Italian and Irish, low-income part of the city. As noted in this 2013 article from the Philadelphia City Paper:

The history of the Mummers, particularly the comic brigades, is entwined with the blackface minstrelry popular in the mid- to late 1800s. But the roots go back further, before South Philadelphia was even officially part of Philadelphia. It was a poor satellite town of immigrant laborers and free blacks, and its poorest neighborhood was a swampy, near-rural shantytown known for its garbage-fed pig herds. This was the Neck — the birthplace of Mummery.

The early history of the Mummers is inexact, says Christian DuComb — who teaches theater at Colgate University, wrote his doctoral thesis on racial impersonation in the Mummers and until recently was a member of the Vaudevillains NYB club — because nobody wrote it down. “Most of the Mummers’ own history is oral; it’s a working-class tradition, and the working class hasn’t always had the resources to write its own history.”

While the early days are fuzzy, one thing’s clear: In the 1830s, rowdy bands of proto-Mummers shooting guns off like Yosemite Sam started showing up at holiday time in arrest records and in the diaries of irritated rich people in Philadelphia proper, the area now called Center City.”

Blackface was banned from the parade in 1964. However many critics say that the attitudes behind the practice are still very much part of the festivities. For instance, the B. Love Strutters were criticized in 2009 for its anti-immigration theme Mummers performance, which featured strutters dressed as “illegals” dancing around President Barack Obama as he held up a sign that read “Illegal Aliens Allowed.” The performance also featured Geno’s Steaks owner Joey Vento who mocked the national attention he received for his “When Ordering ‘Speak English’” sign that used to hang prominently outside of his shop.

And in 2013, the parade was again criticized for allowing the Ferko String Band to perform a tribute to Blackface performer Al Jolson entitled “Bring Back the Minstrel Days.” Although the performers forwent the burnt cork, it did include props of “four large, big-lipped, wide-grinning, top-hatted prop heads.”

In a statement released over the weekend, the five presidents from the traditional Mummers Division condemned the “hate and bigotry” and said that those who were involved would be banned from participating in future parades. The presidents also wrote: “For any ethnic theme performed by a club, it will be required that the club have as advisors and/or participants members of that ethnicity to guarantee respect. These names will be made available to Division President, and to the media upon request.”

It’s definitely a sign of progress for a parade that is desperately trying to rebrand and maintain its relevancy in a city that is rapidly changing and weary of such outward examples of intolerance.

Penny For Your Thoughts: Am I Naïve Or Ignorant For Not Thinking Certain Things Are Racist?

April 9th, 2015 - By Penny Wrenn
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I admit it: I’m one of the millions of stupid Americans who keep up with the Kardashians. The KJs (as I call them) are my favorite Internet distraction.

Judge me, if you must. I get it. That’s fine. (And, no, this isn’t a post intending to defend the K-clan’s relevance and influence.) I’m just being honest about the fact that I’m a fan of TV’s most infamous family.

So imagine my surprise when I Googled Kylie Jenner the other day and these words showed up: Blackface.

Now, you’ve probably heard about the whole Kylie-blackface thing already. And upon hearing about the Kylie-blackface thing or seeing the photos that caused the controversy, you may have a) been morally outraged in the name of all things utterly racist and artistically abhorrent, b) earnestly thought, Blackface? Huh? She looks like a gold-dusted alien to me… c) disgustedly rolled your eyes and thought, Here goes more stupid Kardashian sh*t… or d) blithely rolled your eyes and thought, Like I care.

Or, perhaps, you had an altogether different response. (In which case, do tell!)

As far as my response goes, I would say that I was option b. I earnestly thought, Blackface? Huh? She looks like a gold-dusted alien to me…

And this is where I get self-conscious.

By writing that I honestly didn’t get a blackface vibe from Jenner’s photos, I’m opening myself up to the accusation that I suffer from the same racial naïveté that made Jenner think publicizing those photos of herself with darker skin was okay in the first place. Basically, I’m afraid that you’ll call me ignorant.

In my worst case scenario way of thinking, you will think of me as the Ignorant Black Person. To you, I will be someone who doesn’t “know our history” or “respect our struggle.” It’ll be as if the founders of my alma mater, Spelman College, are turning over in their graves (and all my Spelman sisters are lining up to unfriend me on Facebook). To you, I’ll be the Ignorant Black Person, simply because my racism radar lacks a knee-jerk “oh hell no!” reaction.

While “ignorant” isn’t a word I’d use to describe myself, I dare not pretend to be a scholar on race or race issues. As for issuing an educated response to the Kylie-blackface thing, I’m not armed with a history professor’s arsenal of references to 19th century minstrel shows. I wish I were the academic/intellectual type who could be a talking head in the 24-hours news cycle and speak knowingly about the historical facts that pertain to conversations about race. Thing is, I’m not.

And I’ll be honest again by saying that sometimes the “that’s racist!” online brouhahas somewhat elude me.

Don’t get me wrong: I get it. I don’t often feel the same way, but I get it. And when I witness another black person taking a “that’s racist!” stance, I don’t mentally charge her with the alleged crime of pulling the race card (or being paranoid, groundlessly suspicious, having a chip on her shoulder or anything else condescending like that).

Rather, I think (or, in some circles, I may say aloud), “Really? You went there? Yo, I didn’t go there at all. Not. At. All.”

Afterwards I may wonder, Wait, am I a race betrayer? A double-dealer? An Uncle Tom (or Aunt Tomasina)? A gullible house negro?

I don’t seriously believe I’m any of those things. While I’m not inherently distrustful of white people and the things they do, I consider myself to be more than marginally circumspect when it comes to race matters. (So “more than marginally circumspect” makes me what? Moderately watchful? Relatively vigilant? I don’t know.)

My bottom line on race, however, is simple: I’m incredibly in love with black folks and being black. That may sound trite (and/or offensive, depending on who you are), but it’s truer than true. Yet I recognize that my saying “I’m in love with being black” is a privilege. That’s right: A privilege. Granted, it’s a minor privilege if you even agree that it’s a privilege at all. Still, it’s one the very few privileges of being a person of color.

Most folks of any color would be okay hearing an Indian person say, “I love being Indian” or a Japanese person say “I love being Japanese.” The “I love being ____” privilege also extends itself culturally and religiously, not just racially. I’d bet a Jewish person who is white could say, “I love being Jewish” and not receive much, if any, backlash.

But I pity the poor Jewish or non-Jewish white person who says, “I love being white.”

Think about it. Here’s a picture of the beautiful Kimberly Elise wearing an “I love being black” T-shirt. I see that picture and I think, Look at her and her lovely afro and her lovely black self! But let’s say that, I don’t know, Ellen Pompeo (the star of Grey’s Anatomy, a show that Kimberly Elise once guest-starred) wore an “I love being white” T-shirt. Please. I might not call “racist!” but I’d give her the “You should know better” side-eye (especially since Ellen Pompeo’s husband is black, so I suspect she really does know better).

Now, I’m not saying that white folks should skip around town sporting “I love being white” T-shirts. But I’m also not saying that sporting “I love being white” T-shirts is something that white folks should not do. Would it be stupid of them to do it? Sure. Would it be insensitive? Absolutely. Is there a double standard? Well, yeah. Is the double standard fair? Well, historically speaking, white folks’ version of racial pride hasn’t been about positive self-esteem as much as it has been about blatant supremacy. So, yeah, while there might be a double standard, I’d argue that it’s a reasonable one.

As a black person though, I know can rock my “I love being black”-ness openly and it won’t be as offensive to white folks as it would be to everyone else if a white person were to follow suit by expressing pride in their own race.

And yes, I understand that publicly affirming one’s blackness isn’t wholly acceptable and can still be met with a lot of criticism. Consider the Black Girls Rock! vs. all girls rock vs. #WhiteGirlsRock commotion. But I suspect that the criticism that racially self-affirming black folks would get from white folks is considerably less than the criticism that racially self-affirming white folks would get from black folks.

What I’m saying is this: There are nuances wherein black folks kind of have an advantage in some race matters. And whenever I’m considering who has the most advantage in any given situation, I can’t help but feel a little pity for the person who has the least.

Which means that sometimes I feel a little sorry for white people.

Generally speaking, I certainly feel more support and empathy for black folks than I do pity for white folks. I know that in an overall who’s-more-disadvantaged contest, we’d certainly win. But despite that, I occasionally feel a twinge of pity when a famous white person wanders into a racial minefield. When he or she gets slammed for being racist after making some extemporaneous remark or display on social media or TV, I’ve noticed myself extending him or her an unsaid “bless your heart.”

A couple days ago, I virtually extended a “bless your heart” to Kylie Jenner during her blackface incident, just as I virtually extended a “bless your heart” to Giuliana Rancic after she made that bad joke about Zendaya Coleman’s faux locs in February.

When I read about Rancic’s comments the day after the Oscars, I was convinced it was hippiness, not blackness, that she was lambasting. To me, her bad jokes were meant to conjure up an outmoded stereotype of the tie-dye wearing, Grateful Dead-loving flower child. Yes, I know that “meant to” is a slippery slope, and that the “she didn’t mean to offend anyone” defense is spurious reasoning. Whether a person from one racial group knowingly intends for their words or actions to harm or offend a person from another racial group isn’t the point, as much as the point is whether that person’s words or actions actually do offend. But I believe that black women and dreadlocks aren’t inextricably linked to the same degree that, say, afros and black women are. If you ask me, Zendaya’s thoughtful Instagram response to Rancic could have just as easily mentioned non-black women who’ve worn dreadlock styles (i.e., Ani Difranco, Jennifer Aniston, Shakira or Lady Gaga).

Now, I concede that Kylie Jenner’s Instagram reply to the uproar was considerably less thoughtful and lacking in diplomacy than Zendaya’s. In response to blackface accusations, Jenner basically told her Instagram followers to just calm down, which is a fairly rude response, considering the very prevalent belief that when people surmise racism in a matter they’re being irrational or un-calm. Though, surely, a person’s suspicions of racism can be quite calm, rational, composed–and, more often than not, on the mark.

Just the same, I agreed with Jenner’s sentiment that her pictures were not distasteful and not the stuff of Amos ‘n’ Andy (or even the stuff of Julianne Hough, for whom I did not feel one bit of “bless your heart” pity during her blackface incident back in 2013).

And I don’t think I’m the only black woman who wasn’t offended. Even my friend Sharmane, who’s as racially conscious as they come, said she didn’t think twice about Jenner’s photos. For her, they only brought to mind the music videos for Salt-N-Pepa’s “None of Your Business” and the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Give it Away.”

All I’m saying is this: Maybe my radar is off, but I haven’t been getting offended by some of these so-called racist events as of late. Or maybe I’m the 21st-century version of the house negro who chooses to empathize with the master. Or maybe I’m…*gasp*…ignorant.

Personally, I don’t think any of the above is true about me. (And, you know, feel free to disagree.)

But if I were a hashtag person (which I’m not because I forget that “hashtag” is even a thing people say and end up saying “pound sign” instead), I might initiate #RaceCardEtiquette, #RaceCardRules or #RacismRadar to gauge where other people stand on the topic of feeling, managing or expressing racial outrage.

So tell me: Were you offended by Kylie Jenner’s photos? Could you care less? Where do you typically fall on the public-outcries-over-racism scale when gaffes like this happen?

Models Wear Glittery Blackface During Italian Fashion Show

February 28th, 2015 - By Courtney Whitaker
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Here we go AGAIN.

During Milan’s Fashion week, an Italian fashion designer, Claudio Cutugno debuted his new clothing line. However, the clothes were not the topic of conversation. The white models in the fashion show had their faces covered in black paint with glitter atop.

The all-black themed fashion show was inspired by an artist Emilio Isgro. Isgro, who frequently uses bumble bees in his artwork, claims the glitter is supposed to be bees swarming on the faces of the models.

After receiving tons of backlash, Cutugno spoke to E! News.

“I think it is a pleasure to have the chance to answer the criticism about the make up I decided to use,” he said. “Anyway just to be clear: the collection was inspired by Emilio Isgrò artworks. He was literally erasing parts of the text of some books, he was putting some black ink on top on some words he wanted to erase so to let some words come out from the text and be underlined. As well as this, in ancient Greek, the meaning of the words that were underlined was related to the tradition of wearing black veils around the heads when women needed to say goodbye to their husbands. This also today is a tradition which in Sicily is used when women go to burials. So the black make up we decided to use was actually a translation of the black veil. I chose not to use the real veil because I did not want to cover the whole faces of the models.

“I am extremely sorry if many people thought this make up would result offensive and also that I am racist, but that was not my intent. I am extremely respectful of the Afro American culture and extremely sorry for each type episode of racism.”

How many of you believe this? Is this just another example of the racial injustices that take place in our day and age? Sigh, when will people learn to LEAVE BLACKFACE ALONE?!?


Childhood Ruined: 15 Classic Kids’ Shows You Didn’t Realize Were Racist

October 15th, 2014 - By Meg Butler
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Getting ready to pop in one of your favorite children’s classics for a nostalgic re-watch? Before you push that VHS tape in, check out our list of beloved childhood shows you didn’t realize were racist because nothing ruins a childhood movie like realizing your favorite character was in Blackface all along.

Kids' Shows You Didn't Realize Were Racist

Image Source:


Remember this guy from Annie? First of all, his name is “Punjab” which isn’t a name so much as the state in India he’s supposed to be from. It’s like having Daddy Warbucks call you “African” instead of using your real name.

Only, the character can’t be from Punjab at all, because he’s played by black actor and classically trained dancer Geoffrey Holder (RIP).

White Man Wears Blackface In Order To Rob Bank, And He’s Not The First To Do It…

July 10th, 2014 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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In case you missed it, police are still on the search for an Iowa man who robbed a bank in Cedar Rapids last month. He wasn’t wearing a mask, or a scarf to cover his nose and mouth. He was wearing blackface.

According to the CBS affiliate in Iowa, a bank in Cedar Rapids was robbed by a man who walked in wearing makeup to make himself appear darker. It didn’t just cover his face, but his entire neck and ears too. This particular bank was hit two weeks in a row by robbers, and police are trying to find a way to quell the number of  robberies that have hit the area. There have been eight at banks across Cedar Rapids since the year started, reportedly more than the last three years combined.

This was the central focus of the story for those news outlets in Iowa who covered it, and that makes since, yet we can’t help but be irritated by the whole blackface aspect. But then again, this isn’t the first time something like this has happened.

In 2010, Conrad Zdzierak committed six robberies in Ohio while wearing a silicone mask that was constructed to look like a black man (for real, it was scary). The mask behaved as real flesh and muscle. The thing was so convincing that police actually arrested a man they thought looked similar to the mask for one of Zdzierak’s crimes. 

And if that wasn’t enough, last month we told you about the babysitter who tried to accuse a black neighbor (married man with a family) of robbing her employers of money and game systems. But the employers’ 4-year-old daughter spoke up to tell police that the man blamed “wasn’t the right skin color.” The babysitter wound up admitting that the robbers were actually her boyfriend and a friend. The babysitter, her beau, and his friend, were all arrested and could face robbery, burglary and perjury charges.

Why are people so low-down? Get more details about this particular crime below.

Vogue Italia In Trouble For Fashion Spread Using “Blackface” As White Model Poses In African Headdresses And Wraps

March 10th, 2014 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Vogue Italia/Visuelle

Vogue Italia/Visuelle

At this point, someone’s just playing crazy at these fashion magazines.

In the new issue of Vogue Italia, in a spread called Abrecadabra, model Saskia de Brauw poses in African-inspired headdresses and wraps with her face painted to make her dark. As pointed out by the Huffington Post, when de Brauw is not wearing brown face in the spread by photog great Steven Meisel, she’s “playing” with animals, including a fake lion, wildebeests and more while wearing gele-inspired looks and African-inspired print designer threads. Her face paint, clearly supposed to be a play on the facial markings and paintings that different ethnic groups around the continent wear also stuck out to me.

The constant desire to depict African culture in fashion spreads is not a bad thing at all, but when are folks actually going to pick up the phone and call African/African-American models for these things? And at the same time, do these spreads have to be so caricature-driven? You can show love to the Ankara/wax dutch prints that are stamped all over clothing now and show love to the continent at the same time without having homegirl rolling around with animals. Just saying. Too many photoshoot spreads go downhill fast when they’re so hellbent on trying to portray only an extreme or stereotype. I wouldn’t say I’m offended (which was the question posed by the Huffington Post), but I was definitely left feeling a bit uncomfortable by the shoot. How about you? Check out more of the images and share your thoughts.

Vogue Italia/Visuelle

Vogue Italia/Visuelle

Vogue Italia/Visuelle

Vogue Italia/Visuelle

Vogue Italia/Visuelle

Vogue Italia/Visuelle

Vogue Italia/Visuelle

Vogue Italia/Visuelle





White ELLE France Beauty Editor Causes A Stir For Trying To Dress Like Solange Knowles–Brown Skin And All

November 26th, 2013 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Solange Jeanne Deroo

Another day, another opportunity for someone to pretend they didn’t realize that painting their skin brown to appear black was a no-no.

Jeanne Deroo, a beauty editor for ELLE France caused quite a stir this week when she posted a picture of herself with an afro wig and body paint on her Instagram. She dressed up as Solange Knowles of all people to attend an “icons” party, saying that Solo is someone she is a big fan of and sees as an “idol.” But of course, the coloring of her skin overshadowed the fact that she was trying to show her appreciation for the singer. The FashionBombDaily caught the image and shared it on their site last night, and in no time flat, folks had a lot to say not only on that site, but many others. Of course, there were those who saw nothing wrong with Deroo’s portrayal of Solange, saying “imitation is the highest form of flattery,” but there were quite a few others who said that if you still hadn’t received the memo, blackface is wrong, wrong, wrong:

“Whether or not one agrees that it’s an insult or not, why do they continue the trend? Why the thirsty need to spark controversy?”

“I would say yes it would be nice that they would want to be us, but then help in the plight to end the racism against black women too.”

“With all the bad press the sudden infatuation of caucasians longing to bring back the black face days, it was not only insensitive of her to do but a blatant ” F**k you, I do because I can ” Because something is constantly done doesn’t mean that it is ever okay; this ‘ ish just IS NOT OKAY.”

“Blackface is not ok. It is offensive because of its historical background. It is awfully reminiscent of minstrel shows that portray black people as overtly simple, exotic creatures of vice and folly. It isn’t funny. It never is funny.”

“Take a note. It is never a good idea to “imitate another races skin tone”. Ever.”

Since the picture received a negative response (she pulled it down from her Instagram soon after posting), Deroo posted an apology explaining why she painted her face the way she did and what she’s realized since.

I realise how much the fact of painting oneself brown is an offensive act. I didn’t realise the seriousness of my action when I went to a private party last Saturday evening, which the theme was “Icons”, and where I chose to embody Solange Knowles, of whom I am a fan. During this private party, I posted a picture of myself on my Instagram without intention of hurting anyone. I deeply regret and would like to present all my apologies. I would also like to indicate that this picture published in a private context does not involve in any way the french ELLE magazine I work for, and I am sorry for the prejudice it has caused.

Deroo definitely seems apologetic, and her intentions weren’t ugly, but to show love to Solange. However, everyone, all around the world at that, should know by now that you can show your appreciation for someone, even in your attempts to dress like them, without painting your skin. Especially such a muddy brown that doesn’t even look natural.

But what do you think? 


Another Year, Another Racist Halloween Costume: Men Dress As Zimmerman & Trayvon Martin

October 28th, 2013 - By Veronica Wells
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racist halloween costume

It’s that time of year ladies and gentlemen. I believe you know what I’m referring to, the time when white folks around the country, knowingly or unknowingly display their ignorance or all out blatant racism as they don blackface all in the spirit of executing a great Halloween costume.

Which is what you see in the picture above. Though this one is a little different. Typically, the wearers of blackface claim to have no idea that in their quest to pull off an excellent costume, they’re successfully offending an entire group of people. But in the picture of above these three clearly know what they’re doing and are pretty proud of it.

The man dressed as Trayvon Martin is 25 year old William Filene and “George Zimmerman” is 22 year old Greg Cimeno. Greg Cimeno got into a couple of exchanges on Facebook, arguing that the costume wasn’t racist.

Caitlin Cimeno, the woman in the middle, initially posted the picture on her public (at the time) Instagram profile. She captioned  the original photo as “Just for fun 🙂 but hey, follow me!” as if the death of an unarmed, black child was pure hilarity to her. But according to Caitlin’s profile, she takes her racism very seriously. In another picture on her Instagram, she posted a picture of a little girl wearing a “Black Girls Rock” shirt and included this commentary.