By Dominique Franklin / Staff Writer
By Dominique Franklin / Staff Writer
In the modern media, it is common for a viewer to see dozens of fashion ads in a day. Fashion ads are in every aspect of life; television, radio, prints, and even on people. Naturally, because it is so common, fashion will become a majority interest of many peoples’ lives.
So how does a company such as the French fashion company L’Officiel remain a top rate magazine? Since capturing the consumer’s eye is key in this market, the first step is for this company to use the business of A-list celebrities.
By hiring celebrities for photo shoots, the magazine company can attract consumers by putting these celebrities on the front cover for the consumer to see.
This is an aspect that most of the public is familiar with. Celebrities being in photo shoots are not a new topic.
What many people may not be familiar with is the work that actually goes into creating the photo shoots. The major work comes in the form of choosing the make-up style, and the fashion that will be worn. This step in the production process is what has gotten multi-platinum artist Beyonce Knowles, and the before mentioned French company in a new state of controversy.
In the photo shoot done with the magazine, Beyonce is outfitted in an African style. The purpose and intent of the photo cover is to give tribute to the Nigerian musician and Humanitarian hero, Fela Kuti. The magazine also states that they wanted to pay tribute to African influence on modern fashion.
The magazines intent is not very typical of such a popular magazine, which makes it that much more of an honorable act.
In the photo shoot, Beyonce voluntarily has her face darkened with make-up for one of the photos.
The photo erupted onto the internet, causing argument as to if the photo should be considered offensive or merely a piece of art.
Many do find the photo to be offensive, most agreeing that the photo does promote blackface. People on the offensive argue that by allowing Beyonce to darken her skin for a photo, it will lead to the overall approval of blackface. The fear is that by accepting the picture as just art, the blackface style of the late 1800’s will reemerge.
While people on the offensive do make valid points, art is also in the eye of the beholder, and one cannot judge too quickly whether this is just plain offensive or a piece of art.
While the photo is somewhat weird, and out there, it is a different style than typical photos. Typical photos that make up the majority of Beyonce’s photo shoot for the magazine.
The photo did capture African rituals that involve face painting very well, which the magazine did say was the true intent of Beyonce’s make up for that photo.
The photo did also correctly show Beyonce’s respect for her African heritage.
Some think that she should have painted her entire body, instead of just her face. That may have just been too much, and it would have taken away the creativeness of the photo.
This leads us to the most important aspect of the blackface controversy being unjust. It’s important to remember that while anger is being directed at Beyonce for her willingness to be involved in this photo, she is also a black woman.
Can it be blackface if the woman is openly proud of her African heritage?
Beyonce is a woman who has always celebrated black culture. Why would she produce the type of blackface photos that would mock the culture?
It is true that good art, is art that stands out and captures the viewer’s attention. This is a photo that does exactly that.
Many people have the urge to quickly analyze something, instead of waiting and looking at its true meaning.
Even still, another important fact is that imitating another skin color is not a new thing to do for celebrities.
In the media, black stars are usually made to look lighter by use of makeup and lighting. White celebrities are generally made to look darker by ways of tanning. Beyonce temporarily changing her skin tone by make up for one photo is a controversy that has been blown out of proportion.
In short, the public should simply drop the matter. The photo was not as big a deal as it was made to be.
Although blackface is no laughing matter, to consider the photo as a promoting blackface is simply taking the definition of the degrading art style too far. The photo shoot was pleasingly unique. It’s not every day that a new way of art is shown through magazine.
Beyonce and L’Officiel should not receive animosity for trying to give appreciation to an African leader, and African influences.