Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Beyonce In Blackface


As a white man I know it is wrong and I would never wear blackface. The rules are very murky for me when it comes to the ethnicity of Beyonce. In a Paris fashion magazine that comes out this month, Beyonce is photographed in blackface. The magazine calls it a return to Beyonce's African roots. Why does Beyonce need to do that to embrace her past? Her past is a combination of races and ethnicities. I guess she does usually make herself look more white and no one says much. They do say things, but not much, so I guess if it is ok for her to go whiter than should she also be able to go blacker?

What do all of you think? Is this right? If this were someone else would they really be getting huge blow back but because it is Beyonce she gets a pass?

52 comments:

RocketQueen said...

I don't know what to say about this since I don't know anything about her ethnic background, but I agree with everyone else here a few weeks ago that commented on the fact that Beyonce seems to be getting whiter and whiter. I think she's bleaching her skin...or maybe it's just lighter makeup? So gorgeous, so unnecessary.

Just said...

Um...didn't she grow up in Houston? Not exactly African roots....

amoteafloat said...

I don't think this is exactly ~Blackface.~ It's not satirical or vaudevillian. She still looks lovely, of course, but it IS kind of stupid for Beyonce to dress up like an African, considering how she grew up conventionally beautiful, doted on by her parents, and wealthier than probably 98% of us. She was raised in a Texas suburb, not a village. Deep down, she's got about as much in common with a little girl from Kenya as *I* do.

I think she's just playing dress-up. It's...striking, I guess? I honestly don't really care for it. But I'm not personally offended.

FS said...

She's an 'artiste' so yes she's allowed to do editorial photo shoots that explore her identity or whatever 'artiste-y' thing she wants to explore, but only if it sells a $500 blouse at the same time.

Lady Chatterly said...

She is paying tribute to a former model who was African, but they could have gotten an African model. I would say!

amoteafloat said...

*NOT to say that African natives don't dote on their kids -- but I'm sure that (creepy) Matt and (creepy) Tina were able to provide Bey and Basement Baby with any material object they wanted. Those two never lacked anything.

sunnyside1213 said...

I suppose I am going to satanville on the express train, but I think it's just silly looking.

Missjenny619 said...

Meh, double-standards always apply to crap like this.

I could care less.

timebob said...

she looks like she is auditioning for America's Next Top Model.

Mina said...

I would like to know how you can bleach your skin without looking like a clown? I mean, I have enough problems with using self-tanner so that the color turns out evenly without looking blotchy.
So how do you bleach your skin that arms, legs, torso and face turn out having the same shade?

BlasianBeautyExtreme said...

it's a stupid concept. go sit down, camel lip's wife.

the best skin bleaching cremes are available through a dermatologist. you can also have a dermatologist bleach it. i had to take care of my elbows and knees.

Mango said...

What disturbs me more is that Beyonce accepted a "six figure sum" for performing at a private party for the Qahafi family in St. Barts last year.

Yes, THAT Qadhafi family.

Usher, Russell Simmons and Jay-Z (all incredibly wealthy) also performed.

What's next, Beyonce, popping out of a cake at Obama Bin Laden's next birthday party?

More info here:

http://www.salon.com/entertainment/movies/feature/2011/02/23/beyonce_blackface_mutassim_al_qadhafi

bitterella said...

What's funny is that she is getting so much attention for this, but no one is questioning the fact that se did a private concert in St. Barts for the party-boy son of Lybian dictator Gaddafi, who as we speak is murdering his own people. Not pretty.

selenakyle said...

Huh! I thought this was a joke the first time I saw it--thought it was just a pretty black model. I think it looks beautiful, frankly. I don't care what color Beyonce is, she's a fine woman, period!

I mean, no way in Hell I'd ever want to go any *whiter* myself, for chrissakes, but to each their own!

RocketQueen said...

True that, bitterella. And it's not the first time. She does that kind of shit all the time.

bluebonnetmom said...

I agree with Bitterella and Mango...I am more concerned she will perform for any Scum Bag Dictator with cash burning a hole in their pocket. Wow.

chihuahuense said...

*I* am not offended, but I am not black and can't pretend to understand all the nuances of what could/should/would offend black people. I do think it is ironic, considering Beyonce's blond weave and seemingly lighter skin, but hell, do what you do, girl.

selenakyle said...

Yeah, that whole "entertaining POS seriously bad guys" part is very disconcerting. Fuck that!

Maja. With a J. said...

I'm pretty sure she wasn't forced to do it. "Put ze blackface on, Be-yaaan-say, or ve vill make you vear clozes in your next wideo!"

msgirl said...

I read that the African model she is supposedly emulating is fairly light skinned, so I think this is another example of Beyonce out for attention. Ironic since her photos are so shopped to make her appear almost white.
The photo itself is beautiful, but why not use someone who is dark?
Eh, artsy schmartzy. That said, it is a very striking photo.

Selock said...

As a person of color (obvious black/white mixed race heritage) I think it's interesting. Kudos to the art director who came up with a thought-provoking idea.

Mango said...

I can understand someone young and hungry (or a Karsashian) saying yes to a gig and turning a blind eye to the audience (as heinous as the audience members may be...) but this crowd, especially B, Jay-Z and Russell Simmons each have a net worth in the hundreds of millions. They can well afford to turn their noses up and pass on a gig like this.

Despicable. Or they are unforgivably ignorant.

Ice Angel said...

I don't know what to think or care about the blackface thing. It isn't "blackface" in the way that is disrespecful. That blackface is the old minstrels who acted stupid with "yezzir" "nozirr" "jumpinjeehosephat" kind of stuff from the old vaudville days. African Americans of today find it very disrespectful and I can see why. While a thing of the past, it needs to stay there.

As the mother of a black girl, I will say that my daughter's skin varies in color just as much as mine does from season to season. Over the summer, she tends to get a lot of sun and turns darker. By this time of hear, her skin is much lighter, so it varies much like mine. I am white as a ghost right now, but turn golden brown by the end of the summer. Plus, Beyonce is half black and half Creole (french/spanish.) She has always been fair skinned. But she does wear what is called a lace front wig. Many black women wear them, although some prefer to go natural. Going natural is difficult to maintain, but wearing wigs and weaves is very costly, and some say, are "trying to look white."

I don't think that a black woman relaxing her hair is any different than a white woman with straight hair getting a perm. It's a rule. Straight hair must be curled, curly hair must be straightened. It's called girls being girls!

Anyway-I also agree with the rest of you who noted her performing for Ghadafi. Not a big deal last year right? Much bigger deal now. I complained about it then and it fell on mostly deaf ears. Hopefully some people are starting to see the error of Hollywood's ways in dealing with our enemies. Gdafi is and has always been a devil.

Danielle said...

She probably could have appeared more "african" before her nose job and lip reduction...

crila16 said...

Who cares!!!!! white face or black face, who cares. Get over it. There are worse things in life. She looks beautiful in the picture, and whether she was black or white who cares if she has on dark makeup. She's not making fun of any race, she's paying tribute and it's a very tastefully done picture. Everyone is so offended so easily. Get over yourselves.

msgirl said...

Forgot about the Qadhafi gig! I knew there was a reason I intensely dislike her.

Kate said...

These photographs of Beyonce are not offensive. In this case it looks like makeup-art. Had she gone in true blackface (with red or white around the lips) that would be disturbing.

Did she really perform for Qaddafi's sons? I guess ignorance and a paycheck are bliss.

Sylvia said...

I don't like her so don't care. To me she is a bimbo that is how I see her LOL.

msgirl said...

Kate, she got paid a million, I think, or some outrageous figure.

K said...

Well lets just bring back the black and white minstrels and Al Jolson blacking up on film, why don't we?

Bad idea

Launita said...

this is ART an Beyonce is BLACK born of a Black mom an Balck dad...so it is ART...lol...not very good ART but ART none the less...hehehhehehe anyway, Beyonce is Beautiful no matter what skintone she is!

Karma said...

if she is going black, why does she have on that blonde weave? shouldn't her hair be nappy? (which it really is folks, no matter how you try to push this exotica)- So shouldn't she let the naps rule her head on this one - gettin back to her African roots, then darn it, let those african roots on your head show themselves too! Let us see the real you. Pete Wentz is doing it. Go on Bey I DARE you.

Basil said...

I doubt Beyonce gives a flying poop what we think as long as she is cashing that cheque.\

As for the blackface debate, I think it depends on the persons intention. If it is meant to insult someone, yeah, it is bad. But sometimes a picture is just a picture.

jax said...

ok isn't her mom biracial? she is very lightskinned so it's just genetics.

i think i read her mom had creole roots,wasn't their lots of biracial babies born from that time?

i don't know...i'm a white woman in Canada.

pdxbellarocks said...

lolz I thought this was Tyra Banks at first.

This is so Tyra.

Annoying as hell1

rlaurencin02 said...

I wish people would STOP taking everything so seriously. I am a black woman and I interpreted it as merely showing what she would look like with a darker skin tone. That's it. It's NOT that serious. By the way, her ancestors ARE African. As are mine. If you go back far enough you'll see that.

ms snarky said...

I was a little disturbed reading the item. Why does anyone care what Beyonce does in a magazine? The item came off as borderline racist, at least to me, and I'm surprised. Why say that Beyonce is, on a regular basis, trying to make herself look white? I've never gotten that impression. Maybe, just maybe, she's trying to make herself look like a supermodel...sort of requisite for success in the music industry today.

As to this photo, why shouldn't she take whatever artistic license she wants to? She's a black woman of mixed heritage, but she chose to highlight her black heritage in this artsy fartsy photo shoot. So what? It's her heritage, she can choose to do what she wants to with it. If a white woman were to dress up in black face, that's very likely inappropriate, depending on the motivation. If you were doing it for an artistic statement, then maybe. But you have to take into account the idea that you could be offending people who have already suffered for their skin color, and make every effort to avoid seeming like you're trying to insult or demean.

I'm not the biggest fan of Beyonce's music, and I'm just a white girl, so maybe I have no room to comment. But I think I was offended by the repeated statement that she tries to look "whiter." That seems like an incredibly racist and demeaning comment to me. I don't know what's gotten into you, Enty. sometimes you don't sound like yourself.

Mooshki said...

Enty's referencing our discussion about a set of pictures from a few days ago, and she's clearly had her skin lightened. Check out these pictures vs. these ones, and please don't tell me that's "lighting." :)

elspeth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
luci skywalker said...

Im totally disgusted that she performed for Gadaffi's son. I get that Beyonce plays the "neutrality" band and doesn't make public statements about politics, but playing for a guy with a long record of human right's abuse is another thing.

As for the spread, personally I don't care. But I have to note that when Carine Roitfield came up with the original idea for French Vogue starring Lara Stone it stirred up a huge controversy. (http://nymag.com/daily/fashion/2009/10/french_vogue_shoots_lara_stone.html)

Conclusion: Beyonce gets a pass in everything.

Robert said...

White or black, in this picture Beyonce looks like something you'd find in an Easter basket on Sunday nmorning.

Selock said...

Luci S., Lara Stone is a white European model....so it's actually a bit of a different idea here...


For the record, I support everyone's total disgust with the whole Qaddafi party thing...weren't there other singers/actors at the horrid thing?

cibele said...

I read Mariah Carey did this party. At least according to Wikileaks. I'm confused.

Bubbles said...

Beyonce is a Black woman. She is of mixed heritage just like most African Americans in this country. You wont find many Black Americans who look like they just left the motherland weeks ago.

And IceAngel Beyonce is not half french and spanish. Being creole merely means one has french and/or spanish ancestry. Beyonce doesnt have a parent who had a french parent or spanish parent. And incidently one isnt Creole and Black, there are white creoles and Black creoles plain and simple. It was a big deal back in the day to be creole because if you could pass for white during slavery and Jim Crow, you obviously were able to avoid the treatment the dark Black people got. Honey, they're just as Black as anyone else, trust me.

Z said...

french mags are notorious for doing blackface

amoteafloat said...

@Ms Snarky -- "But I think I was offended by the repeated statement that she tries to look "whiter." That seems like an incredibly racist and demeaning comment to me. I don't know what's gotten into you, Enty. sometimes you don't sound like yourself"

Dude. I completely agree.

Also, if she actually *does* slather weird crap on her skin, I say more power to her, because her complexion is flawless and her secret voodoo methods or whatever are obviously working. I've been following Beyonce's career since she was in Destiny's Child, and she still basically looks the same, except the weaves have changed around a bunch. ;-) Who cares? She's always been gorgeous.

I find it more disturbing that some people don't seem to know what Blackface actually consists of -- it's more than just a dark application of makeup, and it's known for looking more absurd, demeaning, and outlandish than exotic. I still don't think Beyonce is doing ~Blackface~ here, and it's not just because Beyonce herself is, well, black. There's an entirely separate historically demeaning persona attached to that tradition. It's symbolic of black culture being totally shat on by white culture, basically.

I dunno. I'm sorry. Disclosure: I'm a whiter shade of pale. I can't really speak from a personally angry place. But I DO live in the Bible Belt, and I am tired of people saying casually bigoted stuff like "Beyonce is trying to be white." Seriously?! No offense, Enty. Oh, and I'm also sick to death of people putting Confederate flags on their cars and defending it by yammering on about "suh-thern her'tage!" or some shit, while we're at it.

Okay. I'm done. Enty, I'm bored and procrastinating -- will you please post something new? ;-)

amoteafloat said...

P.S. The Gaddafi situation was/is abhorrent, but I don't know why anyone's shocked. We're mad at a woman who generally namechecks at least twenty different brands in each song. She drives, like, James Bond cars and wears snow leopard booties. Her conscience isn't that big. She's all about getting paaaaaaaid, y'all.

MISCH said...

It's simply a matter of poor judgement...

__-__=__ said...

Never question the French.

WineGirl X said...

I'm a white woman who regularly goes to a tanning salon. Because I opt to darken my skin, does this make me racist? I think not.

Michelle said...

I rather liked the photo. When I read who it was, I was shocked - I thought it was a beautiful woman from perhaps Sudan or Ethiopia. I think it illustrates how beauty is universal, that we all subconsciously think lighter skin is beautiful. If it helps one person to shake their perception of what beauty is, then its a good thing.

Jen said...

Photos do not bug me at all. Usual fashion editorial stuff.
Performing for mad dictators=not cool. Bey & Co, get a conscience.
I had a good laugh at those pictures referenced by Mooshki above. I'm close to Bey's complexion, but my skin tone can vary between Halle Berry & Kerry Washington depending on time of year & my vacation schedule. Bey is not skin lightening, it's the sun, people! Black folks tan!