Amid the late-October Halloween festivities, Khloé Kardashian went viral and received lots of flack for her Bratz doll costume.
The 39-year-old’s skin tone was noticeably darker than her original hue — which many X users seemed to find questionable at best. More fiery netizens claimed the costume was problematic and an instance of blackfishing.
X users argued that Khloé looked like a Black woman, particularly singer Victoria Monét. One person even went as far as to call the costume “blackface.”
Along with her darker skin hue, Khloé’s Halloween costume included voluptuous artificial lips, knee-length blonde hair, a white turtleneck, and a houndstooth dress with a matching hat. In classic Bratz fashion, her shoes were chunky, sky-high platforms.
Khloé’s look was a part of a larger group costume that included her sister, Kim Kardashian, and two friends. The mother of two didn’t address the blackfishing allegations, but she did explain on her Instagram Stories Nov. 1 how special effects glam changed the group’s appearances.
“Not only did we have silicone prosthetic lips on, we concealed our natural brows and we painted on fake eyebrows much higher than where [our] real eyebrows would be,” she noted. “This [gave] our eyes the effect that they are much larger than they are. So we would look more like a doll.”
Hayden Williams designed the Bratz doll Halloween costumes for House of JMC. The designer highlighted on Instagram that the outfits were “inspired by the iconic movie Clueless.” The couture atelier, House of JMC, added that the fabric was exclusively designed and drew “inspiration from the classic colored houndstooth tweed made famous by Chanel.”
The Kardashian-Jenner clan are not strangers to blackfishing and exploitation allegations.
Kim was accused of “blackfishing” in 2017 over promotional imagery for her KKW Beauty line. The accusation reappeared when she posed as the cover star for 7 Hollywood magazine’s Winter 2020 issue. In October 2021, Kylie Jenner was criticized online for playing into the problematic trend.
The term “blackfishing” was coined by hip-hop journalist Wanna Thompson. The phenomenon is described as “non-Black influencers and public figures using bronzer, tanning, Photoshop, or even cosmetic surgery to change their looks to appear Black or mixed race.” Thompson identified the Kardashian and Jenner family directly in her comments about “blackfishing.” Thompson noted, “They’ve been called out for cultural appropriation for a decade plus now, and it’s no secret that they’ve adopted many styles that Black women or Black culture have created and made them more palatable.”
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