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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Beyonce’s Blackface Creates Controversy

The RnB ‘bootylicious’ superstar Beyonce Knowles is now in the midst of a controversy for posing in L’Official , a French magazine with her face darkened than her body to pay tribute to Fela Kuti, a Nigerian Musician and activist.
Inside the magazine, Beyonce wore different formal dresses with native African headdress and some ethnic costumes and hand-made charms.

The said cover gains positive and negative comments and observations from art critics and from the black community. Some have said that Beyonce is an artist and that the photo shoot is an art, and that she was picked to be the model because she is famous and she is a good exemplar. But many have criticized this act of Beyonce and interpreted the cover as racism issue rather than artistically manifestation of tribute. Here are some provocative comments from Black Community.

“Beyonce missed a great opportunity to make a big statement here. Instead of hopping on her husband's business to further promote Fela, she should have used the Blackface to comment on Racism and the entertainment business in America specifically. Imagine the impact she would have made if she said, I understand the impact blackface has historically and psychologically, but my purpose in doing this here is to initiate conversation. "Would I have had the career I have had if my skin looked more like this, had more melanin than I actually do? My talent is the same, my experience is the same and my passion is the same. Does color still matter?"

“This is the reason why black artists have been going to europe for decades To be socially free of Race & Gender Politics. When they realize they are going to be stereotyped they flip it around and use it to they at vantage Thats what the entire Play "Passing Strange" was about Look at old videos of Grace Jones such as "Slave to The Rhythm" the entire art of that video was poking fun of that as a teenage when that video came out. I clearly remember no black person under 30 was upset. It was a refreshing change and a in your face joke to the white establisment (i.e Fashion industry, showbiz industry)”

“This maybe also one of reasons we (women of color) don't have any fashion magazines in this country that isn't stuffy & not cutting edge. We black people have always had the larger society biting off our style from the Jazz age to Motown Supremes era. Therefore we should be the first ones to in brace anything Avant-Garde and Fashion Forward, and have aka poke fun at any and all stereotypes outsiders may have of us. Question: Do other groups of color spanish, asian, native americans particularly women worry about what whites think of them today in the 21century?”

“And all arguments of "it's art," makes me wonder why on earth would you paint a black woman darker, at all, for an "African" themed Fela tribute? If you wanted to make an African-American look more African, just hire an actual, living, breathing African model. There are plenty of them. All tall and skinny and all over the place. But none of those models, save maybe semi-retired fashion icon Iman, have a Beyonce level of face and name recognition. So, naturally, if you want an excuse to put Beyonce in your magazine, just have Beyonce in your magazine. But don't paint her in blackface and pretend like it's a tribute of some kind.”
With these negative comments that reached the publication, they have responded through this statement:
Via L’Official:
The Fashion magazine is about to celebrate its 90th birthday. To celebrate this anniversary, the festivities start with the March issue, with Beyoncé on the cover. She agreed to pose for an incredible fashion shoot, with the theme of African Queen, paying a tribute to the legendary Fela Kuti. 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. All the pictures will be available in the collector edition, on sell at the end of this month.
The magazine is already in the newsstands now.

Sneak peek on the inside of the magazine. Beyonce is wearing one of Africans cultural cocktail dresses with larger than life head dress.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting discussion. Thanks for sharing and drop by me too, soon.