February 28, 2011


Each month, we highlight some of the reflective posts of our work study students. Unedited, they blog about observations, experiences and thoughts about diversity in their lives as seen through their lenses.

Reflection from Astopheline:

Article Summary:
The article discusses pop singer Beyonce’s recent photoshoot with French fashion magazine, L’officiel Paris. The Pictures show the singer dressed “African”, spotting a blond wig and blackface in one of them. The photoshoot was an attribute to Nigerian musician and human rights activist Fela Kuti, and Beyonce was supposed to represent an African Queen. However, what makes the photographs controversial is the blackface, as it was not necessary.

The History of Blackface:                                                   
I recently discovered of blackface history from my Learning Community, because one of the courses focuses on entertainment in the American culture. My professor explained how back in the 1940’s white people used to host these entertainment shows; where they would paint their faces black and act out all the negative stereotypes of black people. The shows were deep-rooted in racism, and they were offensive to black people.  

Blackface on a black person:
One might wonder where the offense is in Beyonce wearing blackface since she is black; however, the fact that she is black is what makes it inappropriate. When white people painted their faces black they were trying to appear black. Therefore, why would a black person paint her face black to appear black? Is the photoshoot trying to imply that Beyonce is not black enough?