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Wednesday 23 February 2011

Beyonce's 'Blackface': L'Officiel Paris 90th anniversary edition

Beyonce is the cover star of the 9oth anniversary edition of L'Officiel Paris magazine.

You can watch the behind the scenes video here:


There has been some controversy over her apparent "blackface" makeup in some of the shots inside the mag, though she has defended this, saying it's in line with the “African Queen” theme, and she was paying tribute to Nigerian musician and human rights activist Fela Kuti who will heavily influence her upcoming fourth studio album.

The magazine is standing by the photos, stating:

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 Atlanta Post has attacked the photoshoot, saying that 'blackface' is not 'art'. Here's an excerpt:

"...With the frequent use of this image on both the catwalk and in fashion editorial, it makes one wonder if this is a form of art or racism?

The tradition of blackface began as theatrical makeup used in minstrel shows that would “blacken” an actor’s face using shoe paint, burnt cork and greasepaint. The practice became synonymous with racism because it used by white actors to entertain white audiences with stereotypical caricatures of blacks. This once beloved art form has played a significant role in cementing globally racist imagery and perceptions about black people.

The current tone of blackface may seem to be less malevolent today; still, the fashion industry has shown their insensitivity because this imagery is still considered in the black community to be just as insidious and hurtful as it was in the past. Blackface is not fashion forward or edgy and in my opinion, it is just flat out offensive. Black folks must have a zero tolerance policy for any manifestation of blackface, period."

What do you think?

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