Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fierce or Foolish: Beyonce in L'Officiel Magazine

Beyonce covers L'Officiel Magazine
 So by now I'm sure most of you have seen or at least heard about Beyonce's new photo spread for French fashion magazine L'Officiel Paris in which the pop starlet was commissioned to pay tribute to the late Fela Kuti? In case you haven't heard, it has generated quite the controversy as Beyonce agreed to shoot one of the looks for the magazine's 90th Anniversary issue in blackface! See below for more pics...

 Though I'm not surprised at Beyonce's decision to shoot the spread in blackface, I am disappointed. 

 For those who may not know, blackface is theatrical makeup historically used in minstrel shows. Its main purpose was to propagate American racist stereotypes in theater. 

Historical poster demonstrating blackface.
Given the historical context, it's easy to understand why people are outraged. I personally think it was a dumb move, but no dumber than some of the celebrities who call themselves "role models" and then pose nude or demi-nude for men's magazines in the name of publicity. At the end of the day, I think the issue has definitely been broadcast because it deals with race and not sex. After all, if she were naked on the cover, most of us would be applauding her (and/or drooling). 

Hmm...what do you all think? Fierce or foolish? Do you think it's art or an atrocity? Soundoff below!
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19 comments:

  1. I think people put Beyonce and others on to high of pedestal!! I think it really came down to art and expressing something and really why do we care that much?

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  2. Foolishness, one of the reasons i was disappointed in this shoot was because it was suppose to be a tribute to the late Fela Kuti and that wasn't conveyed in this shoot at all

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  3. I'm going with foolish. She is black...why did she have to go blackface to pay homage? Its nothing really chic about this look, and your right she made a dumb move.

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  4. Foolish...There are light skin Africans too. PLUS this has nothimg to do with FELA, and Im Nigerian!

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  5. I think that her intentions were probably good. But, she ending up looking insensitive, and foolish.
    My Heart Blogged

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  6. I agree with My Heart Blogged. I blame it on whoever the creative director and makeup artist were because they could've done something much more artistic instead of just painting her in blackface.

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  7. im nigerian id have to agree this has nothing to do with fela i don know what they were thinking but im not outraged i just think ppl r bored so they r making a big deal about it and creating press for B

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  8. lol, such a foolishness. Correct me, but how the heck were they trying to pay tribute to Fela? If we are talking about the same Fela, the Nigerian multi-instrumentalist musician, composer, pioneer of afrobeat music & human rights activist. Beyonce is a talented musician, but far from anyone of FELA's status or artistic legacy. She is generic, fake and this magazine just showed the usual stupidity of the fashion industry....since apparently any black face will do and not even one worthy of inspiring African art.

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  9. Beyonce is a Black American, she is fully aware of the degradation of blackface in Mintrel shows here in the U.S. She had a social responsiblity and she failed. Secondly, blackface made the photos a caricature of an "african queen". A joke. Also further perpetuating the notion there are only dark Africans and Nigerians when Nigerians, not to talk of all Africans,come in all colors. There is no excuse. Oh and I am also Nigerian and I'm not bored, I'm pissed. Other "Africans" that understand that Blacks EVERYWHERE are Africans too would take offense because blackface is a mockery of Africans and the African aesthetic. Period. The rest of the photoshoto was hot though. Amazing actually.

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  10. i personally don't see this as the same "black face" that America is used to. When i say used to i mean the people who actually had to deal with this growing up. I personally don't think she needed to be darkened...If she wanted to go there, then spray paint the whole damn body. That way it's Blackbody ...and then nobody would be offended ...8kanye shrug* I don't know i don't really sweat this stuff...i'm more so concerned with the gas prices rising because of the stuff going on in the middle east and the fact that my job might not exist next week with this whole government shut down.

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  11. another thing at the end of the day, beyonce isn't stupid, and i think TINA or Papa should have stepped in and said...maybe this will outrage folks. What is management for? I mean somebody in this whole equation had to think and say...this might be offended even if we see it as art. This isn't the first time art directors have painted models darker...i still think that it's taking people a while to accept that people are accepting darker skin as beauty. The only thing that i didn't like is that she said "she is taking her music far away from glamourous and it's going to be in touch with her african roots" she is always screaming creole, but now she wants to get in touch with african roots, and it can't be glam because it's africa...i guess this sounds totally contradictive of my first comment, but i just thought of it as i scrolled back up.

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  12. Beyond foolish. Flip the script - if a white person had done this, there would be outrage from all corners - we can't give Black folks a pass when they assist in this crazy insensitive behavior. Racism still exists and affects our every day lives, including the bad economy, the rising gas prices and our poor children who still think that dark is bad and light is good. Shame on her.

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  13. I definitely agree with you that if she was half naked everyone would be "ooh" and "ahh"ing. I mean I don't really get the point of it. With the history of black face, I really don't get why now it's a high fashion thing to do.

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  14. YIKES! Sorry Queen Bey....definitely a BAD move!! OMG!!

    Xisses, Onyxsta

    http://say-bleurgh.blogspot.com

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  15. Hi Sweetheart, thank you for your comment, I have been happily following you for a while, and I love your blog!

    As for this one, I agree with my heart blogged. It is a sad thing more than anything I think, this could have been a really powerful tribute.

    hope you are enjoying your Saturday!

    xx Anika
    http://byanika.com
    @AnikaByAnika

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  16. I'll admit I don't hold a in-depth knowledge of the late Fela Kuti but the cover pose didn't strike me as anything more than her normal hands on the hit back bent in pose anyway. I do know about the art of blackface painting and she missed the boat with her superblond hair. She didn't give that up for this shoot! There are some folks who can capture the essence of a great historical figure and cause on to have goosebumps (Ebony's Anniversary issue) and others well...not so much.

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  17. This just shows how stupid she is.

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  18. I was very disappointed when I saw these photos! I thought, why on earth would you do a shoot like this? Africa is full of various skin complexions and to do black face is that stating that african's are only one color? Then to pay tribute to the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti. My favorite artist of all time...I was more enraged. Fela would not approve of such...

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  19. I agree with some of the above posts. I think her intension was probably not bad. But it is a foolish move. Like why? '.'

    http://right2shoes.blogspot.com
    http://right2shoes.tumblr.com

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