“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 (a political singer who died in 1997). 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. 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 sale at the end of this month.”
First point: an “African queen?!?!” There are over 50 countries in Africa and I’m sure there isn’t a singular “African queen” as the continent (yes, it IS a continent despite what you continue to believe) is made up of scores of different ethnicities, religions, tribes and races.
Second: her face was voluntarily “darkened?” No, this is pure black face–plain and simple. There’s no way around it. Apologists of this offensive spread can try to dress it up and claim she volunteered to darken her face, implying the so-called “artfulness” of these photos. But, what it boils down to is black face.
Third: What the hell was Beyonce thinking?!?! Didn’t her entourage (mother, friends, sister, HUSBAND Jay-Z), try to discourage her from promoting a form of entertainment that was used to demean her ancestors and people like her? You would think that as many people who have her ear, at least one of those folks would have informed her how much of a bad publicity stunt this would be.
Fourth: I’m sure there isn’t a shortage of African models/singers/actresses who would look just as phenomenal as Beyonce does in these photos. Exactly why the magazine felt the need to recruit an African-American woman to portray an African musician is beyond me.
I can’t be too surprised a magazine would pull such a stunt as we’ve seen there’s been a resurgence of the use of stereotypical, degrading images to portray black Americans and black Africans. Ironically, this French magazine, which belongs in a country that likes to proclaim its openness and laid-back attitude about different people, is a reflection of the bigotry, xenophobia and hatred displayed in that country over the past decade (see here, here, here and here).
Furthermore, I hate to say this, but Beyonce’s decision to don black face–a tool used to remind whites of their so-called superiority over African-Americans–is a slap in the face to the black American who work so hard to dispel stereotypes in their everyday lives. Her decision to thumb her nose at the countless of black men and women who fought tooth-and-nail to educate the public about these destructive images not only infuriates me, but makes me wonder if she is even aware of the disrespect she’s demonstrated to the millions of young black women and girls who look up to her.