Current Events

Beyonce In Blackface: Innocent Or Insult?

Good intentions are one thing. Perception vs. reality is another. So goes the story with the recent outpouring of outrage and defensive stances over Beyonce's French fashion magazine photo shoot for L'Officiel Paris. The Houston icon used dark brown facepaint to pay homage to her roots, specifically African singer Fela Kuti, whose story and music left a lasting impression on the singer.

But both Beyonce and the magazine's choice of artistic expression has rubbed some members of the African-American community the wrong way. Others have collectively sighed of frustration, effectively saying, "What's the big deal?"

Like will.i.am and British singer Estelle before her, Beyonce's creative expression may have been misinterpreted - but fairly or unfairly is the question. Estelle, who dipped herself in black body paint for a music video, responded to her critics, "I'm black, so how do I do blackface?"

Damn good question.

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Contributor Rolando Rodriguez is the co-founder of Trill Multicultural.