Should Beyonce’s blackface cause such a stir?

Should Beyonce’s blackface cause such a stir? February 24, 2011

For those catching up, Beyonce graces the March issue of L’Officiel Paris, a French Fashion mag.

The glossy is celebrating its 90th anniversary, and Beyonce marks the occasion with an homage to Nigerian musician and humanitarian Fela Kuti; Beyonce’s husband, Jay-Z, is a producer on the acclaimed Broadway musical “Fela!,” based on the icon’s life, music and courageous defiance against government corruption. In a statement (via Jezebel), L’Officiel describes the Feli-inspired photo of Beyonce — sporting blackface, tribal paint and a dress designed by her mom — as a “return to her African roots, as you can see on the picture, on which her face was voluntarily darkened.”

Here is what blackface is and why it is such a big deal.

Here is what I think: everyone needs to calm down.  Is any one in the world worried that Beyonce is somehow making a statement about Africans in a derogatory way?  I am not.

This is not blackface which was originally used to demean and dehumanize African-Americans this is an artistic use of paint to make a black woman darker and to pay homage Fela Kuti.

The fact that this can be construed as racist sickens me.  Why?  Because the media loves to point out when black folks do something that they don’t understand and call it racism.  Ugh.

I know there are plenty of Africans and African-Americans who are downright pissed about the shoot.  I want to be gracious, I want to see and understand their perspective.

But I don’t want to make myself unecessarily upset about things intended to celebrate the BEAUTY THAT IS DARK SKIN.

At the end of the day, aren’t their more important humanitarian issues in Africa to deal with?

How do you feel?  Opposed?  For it?  Neutral?


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