Friday, October 26, 2007

WHEN IS BLACKFACE OKAY?

Or is it even Blackface at all? Is it just an artistic expression of beauty? We recently came across these two pictures. One is an ad (or so people have been saying) for American Apparel using Nars makeup on the model. The other is Kate Moss on the cover of The (red) Indedpendent. I think she looks pretty. Minus the crazy pink lips, the other picture really stands out.

I don't know what exactly either picture is supposed to portray. Why did they feel the need to put the models in black face? There is a link to the Independent's article. Perhaps that may help their reasoning.


When I emailed American Apparel to complain, this was their response...

Bettina,

The photo in question is actually not an American Apparel ad. It was a picture included in a layout in the British fashion magazine i-D. We had absolutely nothing to do with the production of this image, this is not one of our models, and we shoot our own advertising campaigns in-house. We opened up our blog when this magazine came out last August to a discussion of the image here:
http://www.americanapparel.net/presscenter/dailyupdate/dailyUp.asp?d=30&t=760
It was a controversial picture, including amongst us here at the factory, and got us all talking, which was undoubtedly what the magazine and the photographer
intended. I can't really say what he meant though, I've never met the fellow. I would suggest contacting i-D for clarification if you so desire. Thanks for letting us know how you feel.
Thanks,
Spencer Windes
Web Team Assistant


Hmm, interesting. You be the judge. So does this mean that Blackface is popular abroad? This is an American based blog. If someone other there knows, please pass along the knowledge.





Until next time...

Be Seen at the Top!

11 comments:

adam said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tinalee Media & Events said...

We deleted the previous comment because it was Spam, not because of someone's opinion. All thoughts and ideas are welcome.

adam said...

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Tinalee Media & Events said...

I don't know why this person keeps posting this!!

tiffanykapri said...
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tiffanykapri said...

That first image would be OK I think if it weren't for the dramatic bright pink lips. That screams "blackface" to me (see this picture http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackface). rather than artistic expression. I think I can handle the all over darker makeup for artistic reasons, but to do something so clearly "blackface" without making a statement about it, is exploiting a hurtful wound for African-Americans. My feelings about the kate moss picture is all tied up in my general confusion/negativity re: celebrities and the "IN-ness" of saving Africa right now. But the image of Kate Moss was not as visually assaulting to me. If it was just part of a spread in some fashion magazine I would have thought it was beautiful and artistic most likely.

Bettina said...

Yes, I agree. The overt pink lips are a bit much for me. I think it is a beautiful picture: the dark skin, head wrap, colorful clothing, keen features, (from messages I’ve read on other blogs the model is Black) but why the bright lips? That screams ‘Blackface’.

As for Kate Moss, I am tired of ‘Big White Hope’ swooping down to save the poor little coloreds. I supposed darkening her skin makes it appear as though she is one with the struggle. It’s kind of a double edged sword. While their help is wonderful, much needed and probably deeply appreciated, I’m sure there are plenty of ‘Big Black Hopes’ that are doing the same. Well, probably not with the same cash flow, but with the same earnest effort behind their actions.

Whatever the case, helping people who need help, I’m all for it. Just don’t throw on some makeup, garb, live in a village for a week/month and think that you are down. That goes for anyone.

Anonymous said...

i am personally hurt by any forms of discrimination. I rather someon e not like me for the person I am . Not the colour of my skin , sexuality , or gender . This (blackface) is not funny or good on any level . The thing that hurts me the most is the fact that to make it seem more real they had black people join in . In every race /culture there are people who are lazy , lie , steal , and aren't responsible. I'm tired of people not looking at who we are inside . It makes me beg the question are we any different than the animals in the wild? I think not we are supposed to be smarter ,but we aren't we are just as primal as wild animails . Those photos should be band they aren't showing natural beauty Dove ads do that . I think anyone who thinks that blackface is ever a good idea needs to call up hitler or join the KKK ( aka 311) now . To any racist that think it is okay don't be up set because god blessed us with abilites that you are seeking . Like the old saying says when the fox couldn't get the grapes he claims they are sour . I think that it is also just a way to keep us down hello they allready killed all of our heroes . They can't hur us physically so now they want to mentally slave us not save us .

Joshua Jordan Nordyke said...

I'm one of those people who thinks it is important to celebrate our differences rather than pretend they aren't there. That also means having a sense of humor about our differences (if anything else it encourages individuals to have a little more of a sense of humor about themselves). But I think art quite often (including fashion) is too out of touch with culture at large, regardless of their pop culture mantles, to choose to have a sense of humor about the issue. and i guess the key, here, is the fact that they're choosing. At times, managing to tread the waters of political correctness and ignoring the paradox of even engaging in pretending to be socially conscious given the vapid nature of the industry as a greater whole and the overt exclusivity of the modeling industry . . . but on the other hand they can choose to acknowledge the hypocrisy of that exact attitude by making these highbrow attempts at lowbrow irony? It doesn't work and that's why it's offensive.
But to actually answer a question and not just throw an opinion around . . . yes, other countries do have a more relaxed attitude about black face. My sister was an exchange student, in Denmark. One of the graduating classes did black face for a themed photo shoot. In Japan, blackface is apparently a fashion statement, more or less: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPhqO82yJqU&eurl=http://www.joeseigenthaler.com/animate.html

Joshua Jordan Nordyke said...

in case that "link" didn't work, type this in a youtube search: Japanorama - Gyaru

DansingDaryck said...

I know I'm waaay late on this, but I just had to put in my sense. I'll address the Moss cover first; A couple of you read "The Independent" article - most of you did not. I am black, so don't jump the gun. Did anyone read the cover? It clearly states 'NOT A FASHION STATEMENT- The Africa Issue' if you actually know how to analyze photography and art you would realize this is clearly supposed to be a slap in the face to humanity as a whole, here's why:

The cover is white, revealing everything, Moss is painted darker to be a woman in the shadows, someone ignored - not specifically black or African.

I don't want to lose you - what the photo is saying correlates with the emphasis article:

"PAY ATTENTION!! THIS IS HAPPENING IN YOUR FACE AND NO ONE IS DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT" -- the photographer and artist did the perfect job by making all of you miss the entire point!

The American Apparel Ad is a simple puzzle for brighter minds. I know the lips are bright, but they aren't exaggerated past her natural lip line.

American Apparel is an all natural clothing company - natural meaning "from the earth," mother earth....need I say more?