Beyonce meets Blackface

Posted by Antoinette R. Banks | Posted in | Posted on Sunday, February 20, 2011



L’Officiel, one of the top French magazines, is celebrating it's 90th anniversary and has asked Beyonce to grace it's March 2011.  This issue is geared towards honoring legendary Nigerian singer and activist, Fela Kuti and has therefore styled Beyonce in African Garb and--get this--blackface. Yes, you read that correctly.  Beyonce willingly let the magazines make up artists paint her face stopping at her neck.

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.”

Ok...let's begin with fail # 1 "Far from the glamorous Sasha Fierce" are they insinuating that African culture isn't glamorous r was that statement just badly written? Fail # 2 "A return to her African roots, as you can see on the picture, on which her face was voluntarily darkened" now, typically I take the route of reporting...but COME ON.  Even if L' Officiel and Beyonce didn't mean to stir up controversy with the blackface...I wouldn't expect them to be that stupid.  Here's the thing you might not know--Beyonce is actually black.  So she doesn't NEED to darken her face.

[DISCLAIMER: Here is when I go off on a tangent.] A black women returning to her "African roots"?!?! Beyonce isn't from Africa she's from Houston, returning to her roots means returning to texas.  I'm a melting pot of black, latin, native american, and european....born and raised in Los Angeles.  I would slap the person that told me to return to my roots. And yes, yes, we can speak on the horrible reality of slavery and what took place.  People ripped from their families, land, and culture coupled with generation after generation of self-hatred. A self hatred so immense that brothers don't want to mess with anything darker than a milky way so women press their hair on a regular, resort to lightening cremes, or death defying silicone injections. Let's not forget how our brothers and sistas try to "come up" on each other or and blame THE MAN on why they can't find a job--accepting defeat when really that could be translated into lacking the willpower to move forward. These things are all very real...but that's not what we're discussing now.

Back to the matter at hand...this magazine failed for me.  I am offended by this sham of a way in honoring Fela Kuti, a man wholly concerned with the freedom of Africans throughout the Diaspora.
At first glance, the photograph just looks ridiculous.

While I understand the impulse to use Beyonce as the model for an “African Queen” since she reigns for black woman under Oprah, would it have been difficult for her to stay as she naturally is? She simply could have been in the editorial with beautiful African attire with a hint of edge.  OR why not have Kuti's son, Femi Kuti, or a real African model?

Here's a quick behind the scenes look:


Comments (1)

wow very interesting news and nice pictures. . . i like it. .
thanks for sharing

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