Sunday, February 20, 2011

Beyonce Covers French Magazine…In Blackface?


Sent to you by moya via Google Reader:


via Liquor&Spice on 2/20/11

Beyonce Covers French Magazine…In Blackface?:

Dear my light-skin kindred who might be getting ideas,

NO!  No, you may not!

L'Officiel writes,

"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."

At first glance, the photograph just looks ridiculous. Darkening Beyonce's face is not only jarring, but it also does little to highlight her as an "African Queen." Moreover, I don't understand how putting her in blackface–which is utterly offensive to most Blacks, especially in America–is the proper way to honor Fela Kuti, a man wholly concerned with the freedom of Blacks/Africans throughout the Diaspora.

While I understand the compulsion to use Beyonce as the model for an "African Queen" (I mean, she's one of the biggest stars in the world), would it have really been that difficult to either feature her as she naturally is or hire an actual African model? To darken her face (which she agreed to do) evokes all sorts of uncomfortable cultural references that I'm sure neither Beyonce or the magazine wanted to bring up.


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