Beyonce did “blackface” for a L’Officiel photo shoot: offensive or meh?


Ugh. This issue again. Beyonce is the March cover girl for L’Officiel Magazine (it’s French). Although Beyonce has her natural (light) skin color for the cover, L’Officiel just released a behind-the-scenes video of the photo shoot, and for some of the photos, Beyonce was “blackface”. See:

Look, just let me get my junk out of the way first: I’m not black, I’m a mixed race Asian/white. I don’t have a vested interest in yelling about or shrugging at this current fashion/styling choice to “darken” models skin into de facto “blackface”. All I know is that this styling is just… dumb. It’s an idiotic styling “trend”. It would be like stylists putting their heads together and deciding that in Fall 2011, the new “trend” is “slave chic” or “battered women as high art”. I just don’t get why blackface is suddenly the big styling choice. In the press release from the magazine, they even make a big deal about Beyonce’s skin being “voluntarily darkened”:

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.

[From L’Officiel via NY Magazine]

Like Beyonce would be photographed with her skin involuntarily darkened? I guess this could be construed as Beyonce’s answer to the constant criticism her magazine and advertising photo shoots get – that the pros always Photoshop her skin to be much lighter than her already light, natural skin color. Beyonce can now say “Hey, I did one photo shoot where I VOLUNTARILY made my skin darker. Ya dig?”

And I still don’t really get it. Jezebel has a better analysis of this mess here.



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108 Responses to “Beyonce did “blackface” for a L’Officiel photo shoot: offensive or meh?”

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  1. Praise St. Angie! says:

    while I don’t doubt that Halle Berry has some issues, does Eric Benet not realize that he may have driven her to any extreme behavior he witnessed while they were married?

    didn’t he cheat on her pretty much non-stop?…but SHE’S the one with the crazy, huh Eric? He’s got NO place to comment on her mental state AT ALL. DOUCHE. EDIT: OK, I just watched the whole vid, and he doesn’t seem to really want to comment on the situation except to say he wishes the best for “the little girl”..but he shouldn’t have said anything.

    I realize this has zero to do with Bey’s look here, but it’s the first time I read the link in the “associated links/websites” section.

    what annoys me more about Bey’s look is that L’Oreal uses her a spokesperson for hair dye, and yet she wears a wig most of the time. like, IN THE L’OREAL ADS FOR THE HAIR DYE. does she use L’Oreal to dye her wigs?

  2. mymy says:

    I am so astounded this woman found fame. She screams when she sings. She seems to be very taken with herself. I could care less is she painted her body purple and ran naked down 5th Ave. She is highly over rated. But that is the way it is now. Little talent . Tons of press.

  3. Mel says:

    Not sure how the black community will receive this since Beyonce always trying to make herself stand out with blond hair. In her LOREAL commericals you have to do a double take cause alot of the time she does not look black so some people in the black community may be offended.

  4. Angel says:

    This photoshoot is in memory of African Queen Feli Kuti, or something. You should’nt judge if you don’t know all the facts 😉

  5. Anna says:

    I really don’t understand what the controversy is here? To me, this seems to be an artistic choice and personally, I think the blackface pictures are lovely. But I should say that I’m European and white, so maybe that’s why I don’t understand what the big deal is? All I can think is that if the use of blackface were offensive to blacks (of any skintone variation), then surely Beyoncé, being black, would not do it? If someone would care to explain the issue to me, I’d be grateful, because I really don’t understand it.

  6. teehee says:

    She looks like a chocolate easter bunny– you know those with the colorful candy spots or colorful eyes….

  7. really says:


  8. annaloo. says:

    That’s not blackface. That’s not meant to demean people based upon skin color and negative stereotype. That is just changing Beyonce’s look via make up for a make up company. Gah, I love celebitchy, but the leadins and headers for the topics are so misleading and insinuating. sometimes, oversensitivity and implied sin can be part of the problem too.

    (Since it seems appropriate to mention our races,- and bc others are also- I am asian & black)

  9. Shaishai says:

    This IS offensive. Not because it’s blackface necessarily, but because the magazine (and Beyonce by agreeing to it) feel the need to “define” African as dark skinned.
    Furthermore, there are reports that this was a “tribute” to Fela Kuti the musician. I am Nigerian and if Beyonce knew ANYTHING at ALL about Fela, she’d realise that he and his entire family are almost as fair skinned as she is. Not only is her tribute insulting, it goes to show she has no knowledge about what she is doing. That is the worst part- I simply cannot condone ignorance.I’m sure she has many assistants on staff that could have provided her with any information she requires. And that is my biggest problem with Beyonce; she’s ignorant and not remotely interested in becoming less so. Her actions time after time speak loudly.

  10. Riley says:

    @mymy: Well B is one of Gwyneth Paltrow’s very dear friends in the whole world. So dear in fact that Gwyneth invites Beyonce to do normal stuff like ride with Gwyneth to pick up her kids from school. My point, Beyonce has a very good reason to be taken with herself, at least in Gwyneth Paltrow’s mind she does.

  11. amoteafloat says:

    St. Angie — I hate to tell you this, but ALL the hair you see in every shampoo ad is faker than Fraggle fur.

    That said, I agree with you. B should be using her gorgeous face to sell eyeliner and whatnot — crap she actually DOES use — instead of dye that she definitely doesn’t. But, hell, people wanna pay her to represent an image, even if that image isn’t real. *shrugs* Happens all the time.

    By her own account, Beyonce grew up wealthier than most people in a rich Houston suburb, and had every single opportunity available to her as a child — unlike, say, a kid growing up in Malawi. Sorry, but Beyonce’s about as “African” as I am.

  12. Johnny Depp's Girl says:

    Its stupid, really

  13. Soapdish says:

    No one defined African with dark skin. If you watch the video Beyonce has photos with the darker make-up taken and photos without the make-up. She’s dressed in African apparel in both ….she’s representing different shades if Africans…from chocolate to caramel. Also, this is not blackface. Blackface is black charcoal being smeared on someone’s face, big red lips painted on someone, and an uncombed wig being put on a person’s head. Using make-up to darken the tint in your skin is not black face.

  14. The_Porscha says:

    Um, Angel, if this is a tribute to Fela Kuti, these bitches are being hella unrealistic. Google pictures of the man. His skin is not “dark,” it’s just darker than hers. I have a hard time buying this “tribute” as anything more than an attention-getting ploy.

    And annaloo., I’m not arguing with your opinion, however I have to point out that “intent” rarely has anything to do with whether or not something is offensive. I know plenty of people in the small town I used to work in who thought it perfectly fine to display a Texas flag right next to a Confederate one, despite diverse clienteles, and they never meant to hurt anyone’s feelings… but they did. Not saying the picture(s) are the same thing BUT “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” is a cliched adage for a reason.

  15. Soapdish says:

    @Shaishai did you watch the video. She had photos taken in African apparel with the make-up and without. Besides I think dark skinned African women are beautiful. This is the most interesting Beyonce’s looked in a long time.

  16. dannyexplosion says:

    Pure stupid

  17. Raquel says:

    I think they meant voluntarily in contrast to darkening with photoshop without B’s consent.
    Anyways, what I found more offensive than Beyonce doing a shoot where her skin is darkened was the comparison of this to “battered women as high art”. No one wants to be a battered women. Surely you weren’t implying that no one wants to be a black women either?

    Also, light- skinned women “darken” their skin all the time by tanning. Scarlett and Keira were “lightened” with white powder in their infamous Tom Ford shoot. Why is it always newsworthy whenever a woman of colour does something to their skin tone?

  18. amoteafloat says:

    “Also, light- skinned women “darken” their skin all the time by tanning. Scarlett and Keira were “lightened” with white powder in their infamous Tom Ford shoot. Why is it always newsworthy whenever a woman of colour does something to their skin tone?”

    @Raquel, that’s a really great point.

    MAYBE Beyonce did this as a big, fat eff you to all the people who’ve whined for years about how she’s “not black enough.”

  19. Zelda says:

    I think she looks prettier with the dark makeup on.It’s not “blackface” in the offensive sense because it is done neither to demean nor mock. Merely doing your makeup to “look” a “different” race is not racist in and of itself. The late Kevin Aucoin did some beautiful work on this premise.

    My greater concern?

    @amoteafloat’s use of the phrase “faker than fraggle fur”

    If Fraggle fur is fake then WHAT is my coat made of and WHY did I pay so much for it?!

    I feel had.

  20. MiMi says:

    I think going to blackface is a way to give Beyonce some edginess, that’s all. I mean, she seems nice and all, but…boring, no? She’s always trying SO hard…

  21. Canuck says:

    Jay Z is the producer of the Broadway show about Fela Kuti, who is awesome for any of you who don’t have the pleasure of knowing about him and liking jazz.

    Fela on YouTube:

  22. teehee says:

    Its usually an issue when ppl of color do somethign to their skin tone, or anything of the sort, because ppl of color themselves make an issue out of it.
    Probably, all the controversy or uproar will be in the colored community. And teh whites have had to ‘learn’ and adapt to be sympathetic to this, so sometimes whites join in on the cause and also think it is important or right to make an uproar, too.

  23. I am Black/Nigerian and I agree with the writer that this isn’t as much offensive as it is just plain stupid. But I must say that what did feel racially charged was the magazine’s comment that in this shoot she was being “far from glamorous”. I haven’t read the entire article so I don’t know if there is some sort of context for the statement, but given what we see, it’s justifiable to infer that because she has darkened her skin and is wearing African inspired prints, that she cannot be glamorous.

  24. chasingadalia says:

    I’m the pastiest white girl out there… so, I think I’m going to stay silent.


  25. amoteafloat says:

    Zelda — a FRAGGLE coat? Dude. That’s just *beyond* cruel. I didn’t know that the Henson studio participated in the fur industry! And another childhood dream dissipates…*sob*

  26. KJ says:

    As soapdish said, this is not black face. I’m a mostly black woman (Caribbean roots, some white relatives/ancestors) with fair skin, and I have to say I’m much more offended by this obvious ploy to make waves then I am by the use of dark make up on B. Blackface is dark, dark skin color, garrish red lips, an afro wig and shucking and jiving. It is a very specific and extremely offensive/degrading representation of “dumb, happy black folk.” Blackface is not simply darkening the skin, and it bothers me that our overly PC culture labels anything that has to do with remotely darkening someone’s skin using make up as “blackface.” THAT fact is much more ignorant than this shoot. Yes, it’s a dumb shoot. But do not label it black face, please.

    I remember Top Model did a shoot where models had to portray different ethnicities than their own, and the backlash from that made me want to put a gun to my head. It was a very innocuous, borderline innocent and fairly interesting shoot, but the sheer amount of people calling it blackface made me more than aware than our country is full of super ignorant people who have no idea what “Racist” really is. Which is why you have so many people who claim not to be racist, get up in arms about shit like this, but have no problem making subtle racist remarks without even realizing. This world is going to shit, fast.

  27. Kim says:

    Well since Africa is the mother land, the cradle of civilization I consider myself African. I don’t find this offensive or “blackface” anymore than models with white powder on the face is “whiteface”

  28. JustBored says:

    It looks ridiculous whatever the reason it was done. She constantly wears her hair blond and allegedly bleaches her skin. This proves nothing, it can be washed off.

  29. Canuck says:

    @Citizette: I lived in West Africa for a number of years. Those ladies look like queens.

  30. Zelda says:

    Henson Studios wasn’t involved. I did it on the black market, and the guy even introduced me to the team of Doozers he supposedly had “on the inside.”

    This is going to sound super racist, but I should have known better than to trust a f*cking Oompa Loompa when he told me his merchandise was “the real thing-ity doo”.


  31. Hmmm says:

    It’s silly and predictably vacuous.

  32. Sigh. says:

    I’ll be honest, I am more taken aback by the comments made by my fellow posters than this mess. But I won’t waste my time with these people. I’ll be just as dismissive about their existence as they are about issues of which they clearly have no real insight, and no desire to have it.

    This campaign is offensive because it’s BEEN DONE TO DEATH, and this is not proving to be any more innovative than the other hundreds of times I’ve seen it. Even the backdrop is middle-of-the-road. Beyonce is overexposed and overrated to me, and ACTUAL beautiful African women would have been better, but still…meh. It’s pedestrian.

  33. KJ says:

    Just as an aside – I’m really sick of people knocking Beyonce for dying her hair blonde. She’s not trying to be white. Maybe she just likes her hair that color. If you use that flawed logic about “whiteness,” does Rihanna want to be white too because her hair is red? What about every other woman of color who doesn’t have naturally light hair but dyes it anyway? Listen, people, everything that black women do is not always an attempt to be white. That is a terrible misconception perpetuated by our self loathing black community and by people of other races assuming that blacks want to be anything else but black.

    Also, she’s no more guilty of being fake for dying her hair blonde than most “blondes” are. If you look at pictures of Beyonce as a child, she DOES have a very light brown, sandy blonde color hair. That’s what she was born with. Obviously when you get older, your hair darkens. Ask anyone who had light hair as a child. The fact that she keeps it blonde shouldn’t be reason to say she’s shunning her roots. Her hair was never that dark to begin with.

    And yes, she wears wigs during Loreal commercials. All the other models have fake hair, too. And I doubt they use ONLY Loreal dye to prepare the hair. They don’t use ONLY Maybelline products for Maybelline ads, but no one gets all preachy about that. If you’re gonna call Beyonce out for having a hair piece during those commercials, then you’re gonna be very disappointed when you figure out that ALL beauty ads are essentially like that. They’re selling an ideal, not the actual product. Loreal hair color, especially the kind you buy at Walgreens, is not that high quality. If you want those awesome vibrant colors, go to a colorist or buy a wig.

  34. bagladey says:

    Beyonce “voluntarily darkens” her face for a photo shoot but in real life she’s bleaching her naturally light brown skin to as light a shade as she can make it and wearing her hair blonde. I’m lost.

  35. Jaye E says:

    Stop calling this “blackface”. As some have pointed out already, blackface was used to mock and demean black people. This could hardly be construed as that. I’m black, by the way.

  36. jover says:

    I agree shaishai people forget the incident in Egypt when Zawi Hawhiss (sic) blasted Beyonce for caring more about using the pyramids for a photo op than taking in their majesty and splendor. SHe’s vacant, uneducated, overrated and totally boring.

  37. Jilliterate says:

    Ok, I’ve seen a lot of historical uses of blackface, and this ain’t it. This is a beauty choice, and because it’s part of the beauty/fashion industry, it’s an incredibly dramatic execution. It’s no more “blackface” than when I put bronzer on my English/Irish/Mi’kmaq skin.

  38. amoteafloat says:

    Bagladey (sic) — um, you have NO idea what Beyonce does to her skin in real life, sorry. And I actually think she can rock a blonde wig/weave pretty well, even if they ALWAYS look pretty fake. Still, who cares if she changes up her look every once in a while?

    She’s a near-clone of her Creole mother, who has similar coloring. Honestly, I kinda think that people pick Beyonce’s appearance apart specifically because she’s so gorgeous. I mean, I GUESS that’s debatable, but I’d argue that most cultures would consider her utterly beautiful. She could wear purpleface and a green wig and probably still pull it off. Her coloring and features are amazing.

  39. JaJaJavaRun says:

    Not offensive.

  40. RHONYC says:


  41. TrueCelebHater says:

    @ShaiShai.Well said.Im a Nigerian too n i totally agree wit u.

  42. Canuck says:

    @jover: You’re not seriously using Zahi Hawass as any sort of a reference are you? That man, Indiana Jones hat and all is the very definition of “fame whore”. I’m quite sure he’s used the Pyramids of Giza as a backdrop on more than one occasion to get his point across.

  43. Moreaces says:

    Never been a fan, but I do find it puzzling the new blackface trend, what ever sells I guess.

  44. LuvBeingBlaque says:

    There is no African Queen Fela Kuti. FELA KUTI was a MALE African singer who the musical “Fela!” is based upon. This is just another Europeanization of a brown/black skinned woman. The French & Euros LOVE to do this and have done this since Iman started modelling. What makes me sad is how Black entertainers/models eat it up; call it art, high fashion, and yet, over in the states, they wouldn’t do this bec. it would be deemed racist/biased. But then again, in the states Black entertainers jump to do Vogue and so called high end mags and what do they do? Lighten up skin teeth hair, lose weight, get surgery to fit into the Anna Wintour-esque mode. These editors don’t care about how women of color feel; how these images affect self esteem. I miss the Bootylicious-Miss Independent Bey. All this to be a star, Bey? She needs a few days w/ Dr. Cornell West. She’d be Erykah Badu in no time!

  45. ElizabethM says:

    @KJ…. I love everything you wrote on this thread. Every. Single. Word.

    As for the artistry of the photoshoot, I’ll admit, from a purely artistic standpoint, I think it’s interesting to see Beyonce’ with the deeper skin tone. I don’t know what the intent of the magazine/photographer was but one thing it shows is beauty is beauty is beauty and skin color is irrelevant in determining that beauty. She’s gorgeous as a lightskinned blonde as well as with the deep rich tones shown above.

    I guess that’s why I never understood racism. All skin color is beautiful so why hate any particular tone/depth?

    Now if we could just get Hollywood to understand that most audience goers are more than happy to see a more diverse bunch of ethnicities as long as the story is compelling and the talent is….well….talented. I know, pipe dream for now….. sigh….

  46. Jane says:

    If she did it to represent all the different shades of black skin then I see no problem with it. I agree with those who say this isn’t blackface. It isn’t, anywhere near it.

  47. what?! says:

    what mymy said

  48. gia says:

    I’m dark black, what is considered by society as the lesser of black attractiveness. I love this pic because it’s a rare, quirky, funky yet genuine celebration of those of us who are dark-skinned. That being said, if I white person did this shot–Gwen Stefani, Katy Perry, etc. they would probably be called racist for portraying “blackface”, in my opinion.

  49. Reality says:

    I agree this isn’t blackface at all. Blackface is meant to degrade and is more than just a layer of chocolate body paint on an already dark skinned woman.

  50. Rita says:

    I find the comments by African, black, and mixed race ladies wonderful. I found the shoot somewhat artistic from a pure visual point of view. Thanks ladies.

    @TruthTF: Sorry if I don’t have your name exactly right but I would very much like to read a comment from you on this.

  51. Crash2GO2 says:

    Why is everyone so interested in what color people are anyway? That’s what I can’t figure out. What the hell… *sigh*

    At any rate, I agree with the other posters who have pointed out that this is not ‘blackface’. And I think people should be able to dye their hair whatever freaking color they want to without being accused of anything.

  52. curmudgeon says:

    I am more offended that a rich woman with fake hair is getting richer selling boxed hair color.

  53. curmudgeon says:

    I AM OFFENDED. Not by this campaign but by rich Divas getting richer endorsing products they wouldn’t be caught DEAD using. They are telling us they think we are that stupid and apparently we are. Dianne Keaton and Sarah Jessicah Parker using drug store products on their aging skin? I think not. Would you if you had that kind of cash? I am tired of the advertising industry telling me that I am a moron. I am tired of celebrities shleping perfume at Walmart. Jesus ladies! You are being played! None of those celebs on Cover Girl ads have used anything lower grade than Mac in years. I highly doubt Ellen Degeneres uses makeup on her day off at all. But they’re getting richer selling it to you. Really a boycott of all celebrity endorsed beauty products should be launched. And no. It is NOT the same thing as Jay Leno selling Dorritos.
    Like it or not, they are insulting us.

  54. Mairead says:

    I think she looks amazing with the darker skin tone.

    It calls to mind a different Top Model where the girls were done up to look like a celeb they look like. One girl was given Grace Jones, whose skin tone was a few shades darker. She was not happy (even though Grace is a friggin’ Amazonian goddess!) Tyra noted how sad she found it that many African-American models objected to being made up darker than they were, but rarely demurred on paler makeup.

    (Pasty-faced “Celt” here)

  55. Catherine says:

    Why is there even an issue? Black, white, whatever, the photo is gorgeous.

  56. amoteafloat says:

    @curmudgeon — uh…are you expressing some epiphany you *just* had regarding advertising? Because Madison Avenue’s been using attractive people in magazines to sell stuff for a LONG time, and I’m not sure who you think is being “played” in this thread.

    And who the hell CARES if Ellen wears Cover Girl makeup on her days off, or if Jay Leno prefers Cool Ranch Doritos over the plain old nacho flavor, or even if he eats them at all? Hell, just because you earn a paycheck from the GAP doesn’t mean you have to wear all their attire ALL the time.

    YOU’RE paying attention to all these advertisements, though. Hate to tell you, but Madison Avenue wins this battle.

  57. mimi says:

    I don’t think it’s racist or even ‘blackface’ as much as it is sheer stupidity on the magazine and Beyonce’s part. “A return to her African roots” ? Are you kidding me? Jezebel hit the nail on the head:

    “It’s fun to play with fashion and makeup, and fashion has a history of provocation and pushing boundaries. But when you paint your face darker in order to look more “African,” aren’t you reducing an entire continent, full of different nations, tribes, cultures and histories, into one brown color? What makes someone black — or African, for that matter — is not her skin tone.

    “It’s one thing to feel moved by Fela Kuti, and quite another to treat blackness as a fashion accessory, like a pair of glittery heels you put on because it looks cool. ”

    Totally agree with everything they said!

  58. annaloo says:

    I AM OFFENDED at my half-eaten sandwich right now.

  59. Crash2GO2 says:

    @curmudgeon: It’s called advertising and all companies do it, not just cosmetic companies. If you are offended don’t buy their products. It’s that easy.

    BTW, I think most of us ladies figured out the shtick long ago.

  60. Saphie says:

    Surely if she had the ‘Minstrel’ look THAT would be offensive, i think everyone likes to deem things offensive a little too quickly, to me this is the same as putting a face paint of a tiger on your face, are you offending tigers? of course not! – in all fairness if ANYTHING beyonce being black herself surely would not allow being ‘Blackfaced’ if she deemed it to seem racist in anyway – it just confuses me that this story has even been constructed. Its ‘Art’ (i never class it as art, but they do) as i said if it was Minstrel type then i think it’d be a TOTALLY different situation.

  61. Michaela-Christina says:

    the only offensive thing here is the fact that you compare slaves and battered women to being black. like it was some kind of stigma. WTF ? seriously ?

  62. Babalon says:


    Your post makes me lament the lack of a /like function in these threads.

    100% agreement and thanks for posting that.

  63. FatJenny EatsBurger says:

    I don’t see what the problem is. She is already a black woman and made her face blacker to honor an African, plus the pictures where taken artfully for a fashion spread. Big deal. The black face thing is only offensive if non-blacks do it. It’s the same concept as when blacks call each other the “n” word but it takes on a different meaning if a non-black uses the “n” word. It’s the same concept. Geez…everything is offensive now a days.

  64. jj says:

    Oh let her have some fun. Its the first time in her life she’s been black.

  65. Shay says:

    The controversy about black face is created by those who aren’t even African American. I remember when Harry Connick Jr, the dude who tries to speak like an African American parody, whined and complained about a comedy act. Is Connick Jr black? No. Personally I find it more offensive when WASPs get all righteous about something which I’m waging, a lot of African Americans as well as others (from Haiti, etc, non-African countries) don’t find offensive.
    ‘Black face’ has been labelled racist by whiter than white people. Political correctness gone mad.

  66. Conando says:

    oh, how i long for the day when she’ll disappear forever.

  67. Rita says:


    If its you, long time no see. Missed you.

  68. hoganbcmj says:

    It’s just a stylistic choice. Plenty of white women have their skin lightened for a photo shoot, either with makeup or photoshop, and nothing is thought of it. In this case, women are starting to choose to darken their skin. I see nothing wrong with it. It doesn’t seem to me to be demeaning the black community in any way. If stylists can choose to lighten and over-expose the whiteness of their photo shoots, why the heck can’t it go the other direction? I for one would like to see more of this.

    Not every choice to do with skin colour has to be about race.

  69. Bopa says:


    February 22nd, 2011 at 2:35 pm This photoshoot is in memory of African Queen Feli Kuti, or something. You should’nt judge if you don’t know all the facts


    Fela Kuti is a man and he wasn’t a King and he wouldn’t support what Bey did. Fela was a musician and a political activist. I don’t think Bey knows much about Felas beliefs.

  70. Ruby says:

    I have italian heritage so I guess that makes me white. I am married to a dark skinned man who grew up in a culture that puts light skin higher on the class system. Which is absolute crap. I think dark skin is beautiful. But what Beyonce did is weird – maybe she is trying to be avant garde but she personally she is too manufactured to be that artistic.

  71. Emily says:

    Why do people make such a big deal out of models/celebritites changing their skin colour for a shoot, but don’t say anything when their hair is straightened, curled or frizzed? Is an Asian woman with curly hair trying to be un-Asian?

  72. amoteafloat says:

    @Emily — I’ve seen Asian women with (naturally) curly hair. I’ve seen TONS of white women with frizzy hair. I’ve seen black women with straight hair.

    I dunno. Follicle patterns are wildly varied. You can’t just pinpoint a hair texture to just a few races.

  73. Jaana says:

    Whoever thinks this is blackface is stupid. Its not. I am a light skinned Jamaican girl and bleaching is really the in thing right now with even singers here promoting it. Its really sad that black people are so uncomfortable with their skin colour that even this upsets them. i would love to see how I would look darker too.

  74. GradStudentEatingHotPockets says:

    I remember during my undergrad there was an exhibit at a huge museum (I’m pretty sure one of the Smithsonian in DC or maybe a big museum in NY, I forget the specific details), but anyways…it was a photobooth. You go in and get a headshot. Then the computer “altered” your photo to show you what you would look like as different ethnicities.

    I totally forgot the details, but I think it did this by doing facial stuff (bone structure, amount of fat in face, etc). I heard about it and thought “Omg how cool?!” and then I quickly thought, “OH crap…people might think that’s awful.”

    I wish I could remember the details more!

  75. GradStudentEatingHotPockets says:

    Found it- it’s called The Human Race Machine

  76. Guest says:

    @Angel with the 4th post:

    African Queen Feli Kuti? Who the hell is that? Are you referring to the NIGERIAN MALE MUSICIAN FELA, that’s right Fela Anikulapo Kuti? If so, your “facts” are so screwed up. You should stop getting fed by random people and research what goes into your brain!

    Wow, this is too shocking for me to even comprehend your very existence. Just… WOW!!

  77. Lala says:

    That quote on Beyonce “returning” to her African roots by darkening her skin, lol! Are you kidding me? What a load of crap!! As if all native Africans are dark skinned loool!!!! Africans have the most diverse genetic pool of humanity so yea, skin tone variation is not a new fact. It is a giving! Anything as an excuse for this blackface madness I guess!

  78. Newbie says:

    You are all going to yell at me, but when oh when can we let this “offensive to my race” stuff die? Yes, there were periods in American history when African Americans were treated with anything but respect. There were dark periods in American history where people of different religions were treated with disrespect. There were such offenses in Germany, in Britain, etc etc. To dramatize and draw attention to the issue is to keep all of that burning. Why? I don’t think we should forget history, because forgetting means to risk history repeating itself. But I’m getting tired of everyone taking offense at the littlest things. Get over it, already. Everyone in America probably has some genetic makeup that comes from one group or another that was persecuted at one time. Stop wailing about it. If Beyonce wants to paint herself black and dance around, fine. Why should the whole world be up in arms?

  79. Hakura says:

    I agree that this is not ‘black face’. Since everyone is sharing, I’m with the ‘pasty’ group, English/Irish descent =)

    I personally think they were just going for something artistic with this shoot, but the makeup should’ve been covering all showing areas, as opposed to just the face/neck. It doesn’t come across ‘offensive’ to me, just badly executed.

    This whole thing makes me think of the trend in Japan, called ‘Ganguro’, where the girls use very strange orange & white makeup. ( But they’re just a hot mess, as opposed to trying to look like another ‘race’. xD

  80. M says:

    Well, Beyonce looks lighter and lighter with every year she’s famous, must be the bleaching treatments.

    I doubt Beyonce cares about being classified or identified as black, she’s all about mass market appeal.

  81. geekylove says:

    i don’t get it, so to me, it’s just plain stupid.
    but what i don’t get, and now, please don’t kill me, is why are people in the comment so obsessed with stating colors? does it matter? why should it matter? aren’t we all the same?
    i don’t think that race makes a difference in making you more right about some topic: your mind and take on it do.
    it really bugs me, bc, and i got that impression when i was in Nyc too, that political correctness is becoming borderline discrimination all over again. i don’t see better word for the fact that so any people are compelled to state their skin tone before they state their opinion.people fought for years to make THAT irrelevant!!!

  82. geekylove says:

    @ Canuck, # 43
    i’m an archeology student from europe. i have one more exam and i’ll be an archeologist:Zahi Hawass, no matter his political opinion (he defended mubarak other day, and i’m strongly pro-revolution in north african countries),is a savior of egyptian archeology. the man is aware of every little work that is going on with egyptian national treasure, no matter if it’s still excavated, misused in one of the british or american museums who are still keeping their stolen goods, and isn’t afraid to go to the media and do whatever it takes to protect it.
    as a future scientist, i’d love nothing more if we could just go and do our work, but in these days where image and media is everything, sometimes you have to be a fame whore to protect what is right.
    don’t judge before you think about something thoroughly.

  83. really says:

    so boring!

  84. Lynda says:

    <<<<<>>>>>Fer cryin out loud…it’s BEYONCE!! She is not up for a Nobel Peace Prize. She is known for her hind-end and her money, not her smarts or politics.
    Let’s all move on to Suri making decsions about what Katie is going to wear Sunday night. Can’t wait for that one, folks.

  85. Shaishai says:

    @ Babalon and everyone else who commented on my comment: Thanks for that! 🙂
    @Geekylove: Thank you! Zahi Hawass may be a bit of a famewhore, but I respect his vast knowledge and tireless passion for his subject. I know I’ve said it before, but I REALLY despise those with the means to educate themselves who don’t take advantage of it.

  86. DD says:

    I like the photo and I see it as a form of artistic expression, rather than “blackface”. That statement from the press release is pretty awkward though.

  87. whateva says:

    beyonce is one twisted woman, she clearly bleaches her skin wears contacts and blond european textured weaves,nose job.. pls go to independant woman video where she is on a bike towards the end and tell me thats the same nose.. she hates being black and thinks cos her mum is lightskinned we wouldnt notice…. i do. only her die hard fan will deny pls go to beyonces dangerousley in love album cover she used to look lovley caramel skinned woman, and compare it to the picture in yellow, where she is heading towards the michael jackson tone and tell me this tramp does not bleach… and pls to her stupid fans i dont want to hear, its winter shes lighter blah blah blah, i dont see halle ever looking pale and she is half white…. then she has the nerve to do black face twisted….

  88. SHump says:

    The point has been made repeatedly that this is NOT blackface, so I’ll leave that alone. I find the magazine’s comments to be exceedingly stupid, but the shoot itself is not. At least, I don’t find it so. She looks beautiful in this picture, and I feel like fashion shoots are supposed to be about fantasy and exploring different looks, so I’ve no problem with any of that. What I do find disturbing is how quick women are to judge each other’s definition of beauty and how they try to achieve it. So what if Beyonce wants blonde hair? There is so much pressure in society for people to live up to certain ideals of beauty. I’m guilty of judging people in this sort of way on occasion, we all do it, but I still think it’s sad. I watched my grandmother (a lightskinned, black haired Puerto Rican) spend her entire life trying to pretend she was WHITE white, whatever the hell that means. I’m all for anyone embracing their hertitage in anyway they like. Sorry for the rant.

  89. curmudgeon says:

    UHHH… no its not an not an epiphony I just had. And if women had all figured it out, than Celene Dione wouldn’t be selling low grade perfume at Walmart.And Just as I have the right to be offended, you have the right to be snotty b&^ch. But thanks for sharing.

    I didn’t say they didn’t win. I didn’t say it was new. I am saying it is a huge hypocrisy that has gotten larger and more obnoxious. I don’t think I deserve to be dressed down for it. And I don’t care if these women use these products on their day off, I care that they are essentially trying to tell us that they do when they are priveledged women with access to products and proceedures that are WAY out of they budget of the people they’re selling to. If it doesn’t bother you, good for you.

  90. L'Officiel mode says:

    Thanks for the post !

    L’OFFICIEL is very proud to present its March issue featuring Beyoncé in African-inspired dresses and jewelry by top designers, including Gucci, Azzedine Alaia, Fendi, Pucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Rodarte, Dolce & Gabbana, Cartier and Lanvin. Designer Tina Knowles, who is also Beyoncé’s mother, created a one of a kind couture piece. The designs are all reflective of the African influence on fashion this season. Miss Knowles poses with royal allure. A queen, a goddess, Beyoncé is a bombshell beauty with a divine voice. We’re thrilled she’s opening a season of celebrating the 90th anniversary of L’Officiel de la Mode. The series was conceived as using art and fashion in paying homage to African queens.

    Beyoncé mentioned the artist Fela Kuti in the interview as one of her musical inspirations. It was later misquoted as the inspiration for the shoot. We would like to clarify that it is not the case. As for the artistic makeup, the inspiration came from several African rituals during which paint is used on the face. We find the images beautiful and inspiring.

    L’Officiel would like to thank Beyoncé for her outstanding contribution to this celebration of African influences in Fashion.

  91. geekylove says:

    Shaishai: ;))

  92. motheroftheyear says:

    Meanwhile, somewhere in the world there is a model who actually is that skin colour who would love to have the opportunity to be featured in a fashion mag.

    I know other posters stated it before me, but Kaiser, it wasn’t exactly a good idea to mention battered women and slavery in the same breath as this. Very. Poor. Form. And as a woman (of colour) I find it highly offensive.

  93. motheroftheyear says:

    Also, can the word “meh” disappear from the lexicon already?!?

  94. Ari says:

    She seriously looks like Kate Moss in blackface

  95. C says:

    This message is for Angel. Fela Kuti is not an African Queen. He was a musician from Nigeria. Please get your facts right.

  96. Jo 'Mama' Besser says:

    Reading these comments, I think there’s something interesting to be considered regarding B.K.’s changing skin tone but it’s not a phenomenon that’s unique to her. I don’t remember the poster’s name, but the topic of Grace Jones came up, and it made me think about how it’s de rigeur for ladies of colour to gradually divest themselves of traditionally non-white features as their time in the spotlight continues, much in the same way that many actresses get thinner and thinner with time. How many times have you caught a re-run of some show only to be surprised at the difference? Anyway, I bring it up because there is absolutely a caste system that applies to blacks as well–one need only hear remarks about ‘good hair’ or, ‘clear/fair skin’ to prove that. In that context, it’s not surprising to me that the studio effects that lighten or refine skin (or paste a new body under an old head) is largely unnoticed, but the idea of darkening the skin is a statement on art, politics, self-acceptance, the place of Dr. Snuggles broadcasts in the world, and so forth. Darker skin is maligned as a matter of fact, so it’s counter-intuitive for a model whose life experience may not yet consist of much more than the forces of hegemony and her bothroom mirror to be styled in a way that reflects what had traditionally been the antidote to beauty. Before the Grammy’s I had never heard of Esperanza Spalding, but some days later, my sister was at a hair salon and overheard a group of women (black, 40s-ish) absolutely rip on her hair. To say that the continuing teaching of self-hatred to black females isn’t an issue isn’t just naive, it’s categorically incorrect. And this is in Canada, where everyone is so at one with himself and it’s a giant community…I don’t know who keeps saying that, but that’s the gossip.

    Sure, there are curiosities like Alek Wek who have resisted the urge to ‘give the horses back their hair’ so to speak, but that ends up becoming a ‘big deal’ at some point, as if the action confirms a nod to the solidarity of al of the freedom fighters. I think this what some of the posters might have been saying when they brought up her physical adjustments. Whether you agree or not, I can see how this shoot would be viewed as disingenuous in trying to score brownie points with the right kinds of thinkers when her evolution suggests that she has been more interested in ‘playing the game’. So if it seems odd that she should be doing something so bizarre as adopting an African disposition, I can understand why. Privileged positions though it may be, having lighter skin does not automatically erase all traces of ‘blackness’ from one’s DNA, so what does hopping on this ‘acryllic mahogany’ trend say in this case? Then again, my sister has a white friend from Trinidad who has lived here for five years and people (plural) have asked him, ‘why aren’t you black?’ Some people are kind of lame.

    I don’t see how getting a tan negates Black Like Me. True, we are decades and decades on from there, but sunning at a Sandals resort while the locales serve you flirtinis doesn’t add the postscript ‘Dear Reader, And now the world is cured’ to the story, either.

    I guess this is why dumping a gallon of Iman cosmetics and costuming her in some nebulously-defined African-ish fabric is the way for one to get in touch with his African roots. Well, she gets in touch with those roots every six weeks when she relaxes her hair, but since ‘roots’ is such a lightning rod term, it carries the connotations of a noble and elegant bearing across the plains and ‘My First Kwanzaa’ kits that can’t be successfully questioned without making someone look like a bigot. Score one for semantics. In this case you don’t need specificity, because whatever is ‘African’ is a life-giving trough so oppositional in nature from the empty opulence of North America that just walking around there makes you more enlightened and connected from which we may guzzle wisdom.

    I’ve also found that ordering people to be as perfect as you by ‘getting over it’ is a pretty good way to secure that that particular thing will not happen so quickly, as the ‘it’ is still going on, though in a far less overt and destructive way. People’s notions of race operate like a aircraft carrier and we can bring our toy sailboats along we like, but honestly they’re left at the church picnic, because the world as a whole is just not as progressive or enlightened as we as individuals keep screaming we are at everyone within earshot. ‘I am so great, model yourselves after me and my not-quite-all-encompassing views and actions’ may have a great tune, but there will be people in the audience who hear ‘Yeah, again. Because I’m your ideological better’, and they will gone long before the encores.

    Does all art have to be political or edifying? No. Do people pull publicity stunts and try to distance themselves from the 100 per cent forseeable (and desired) implications of their actions by tossing everything under the headline of ‘art’ and pat themselves on the head for the ‘dialogue’ they’ve instigated? I think so.

  97. harfang says:

    I don’t think it’s flat-out offensive, but when you’re as big a persona as Beyoncé, I think doing stuff that exoticizes people of color (regardless of whether you’re of color) is iffy. Basically, individual Black people are more than justified in being offended or not offended by this.

  98. harfang says:

    Jo ‘Mama’: “People’s notions of race operate like a aircraft carrier and we can bring our toy sailboats along we like, but honestly they’re left at the church picnic, because the world as a whole is just not as progressive or enlightened as we as individuals keep screaming we are at everyone within earshot.” Brilliant analogy. Hopefully it will help folks grasp this.

  99. Sparkly says:

    Maybe this trend is just the pendulum swinging the other way when folks got pissed about mags whitening actresses of color? Still dumb, imo. I wish magazines would celebrate natural beauty instead of trying to change everyone they get their hands on.

  100. Zelda says:

    “People’s notions of race operate like a aircraft carrier and we can bring our toy sailboats along we like, but honestly they’re left at the church picnic, because the world as a whole is just not as progressive or enlightened as we as individuals keep screaming we are at everyone within earshot.”

    Where is your blog, Jo Mama?!

  101. Hakura says:

    @GeekyLove (82) – I believe, at least from my end, that the reason many of us have shared our ‘race’ in the comments is for the sake of ‘perspective’. It’s not out of disrespect, or meant to be offensive.

    While I certainly don’t mean one’s race determines their opinion, or makes someone else’s opinion more important… I know that personally, I can’t speak as to the perspective of the black community. I’ve had black friends, of course, but that’s not the same as growing up dealing with the ‘ideals’ of that community. The closest issue I’ve dealt with is the ‘tanning’ obsession of the last few years, but it’s still a very different issue, coming from a different place.

    @Jo ‘Mama’ – Brilliant, well written post. Well worth reading. =)

  102. EMA says:

    The commentators on this blog are by far the most educated in the blogspehere by far and that’s largely attributable to the blogger.

    Now that I’m done sucking up, I’d like to add my two cents to this issue-

    Personally, I agree that this photo shoot is not in any way shape or form meant to emulate blackface however I do believe it can be construed as Beyonce’s way of differentiating herself from darker skin blacks. This is the message I get from the photoshoot ‘ I’m so light skinned, I have to paint my face black to be black’.

    In all honesty, it’s very evident that over the years, Beyonce’s skin tone has lightened but so has that of many of her entertainment counterparts.

    It’s true that racism exists within the black community in the sense that lighter skinned blacks are deemed more attractive by the wider black community.

    I think skin lightening is a personal choice, I would never do it but I refuse to judge those that do, their skin, their life, their choice.

    However, I do feel very sorry for the dark skinned little girl who must surely see that the majority of black female entertainers that receive the most press are light skinned and wonder if being a light skinned black is better than being a dark skinned black.

  103. Mairead says:

    What Hakura said – the mention of race/colour is to alert others to our perspectives.

    As for Mr. Hawass. He SHOULD know every little thing that has, and had, gone on in Egyptology – he has an iron grip on all new research and access to sites in Egypt. There have been instances in the past where other experienced archaeologists have been basically banned from accessing sites, whereas he’s more than delighted to bring Discovery or History camera clues into tombs, with absolutely no protective clothing, which could have compromised the genetic research he is carrying out.
    He has done some sterling work, but as another poster alluded to, the man has never met a microphone or camera he didn’t like, so I’m taking his comments on Beyonce with a big fistful of salt.

  104. M says:

    @ geekylove
    What are you on about? You reallyneed some real world experience.

    Hawass is a laughing stock in the academic world. It’s well known he’s got no credibility academically or professionally. There are well known stories in regards to his unprofessional behavior especially towards female academics in his field.

    Hawass is well known that for barring access to certain sites in Egypt to out of favour archeologists. Of course the man is open to bribes.

    As for the stolen relics in Europe. The European museums ensure the Egyptian relics receive all the the best available care which is more than I can say for Hawass who lets random idiots handle thousand year old fragile relics without gloves, face masks etc.

  105. Cleo says:

    Thank you! She looks like she could be cousins with Naomi Campbell. Did they really need to go to so much trouble? Couldn’t they just use a color recognizer in photography and choose to darken her skin by matching it to a darker shade? I always wanted to see Beyonce darker. This is kind of a wasted opportunity because they could have really dolled her up. You know, Rihanna has a very authentic black girl’s face usually seen on darker skinned girls. Would the seas really part for her if she was darker? I’m not so sure. But because she is lighter, we get to see how beautiful her features really are and that’s good for the darker skinned lookalikes. Recognition and respect is due.

    I like Beyonce in more flattering makeup like black eyeliner and red lips instead of pale lips that fade into the rest of her skin tone. I think she is so much prettier than the way she is presented. My brother saw her outside of MTV and said she was REALLY NICE as in REALLY pretty and pleasant. That’s so great. Jay Z looks like my Chinese Jamaican neighbor.

  106. CB Rawks says:

    I’d just like to say that I hate Beyonce’s vibrato. Why can’t she just carry a note without that tremulous wobbling? Is it to help hide the moments when she slips off key?
    Anyway, I’d like to glue her Adam’s Apple to her larynx.

  107. She is awesome says:

    I love the pictures.

  108. Liyah says:

    is anyone offended by the words used “Slave Chic” ?