Another day another failed attempt at a super deep, transformative, high fashion photo shoot featuring a notebook paper colored model dipped in the first bottle of CoverGirl Queen Collection she could get her hands on.
The latest inductee into the Cultural Appropriation Association of America is the great mind (and by “great” I mean stupid) behind the Instagram account @PaintDatFace, an LA-based makeup artist who posted a photo of a white woman made up to look like a black female. Genius, right?
Brown eye contacts, African print head wrap and Kylie Jenner inspired, which means it was black girl inspired, pouty lip, he really went all out. If Rachel Dolezel had a first cousin, it’d be this guy. I don’t know who started the fashion memo that banned black women from portraying black woman but let’s find the culprit and mush the hell out of them. Let’s also force feed them popcorn with hot sauce because I highly doubt their punk, WASP-y palate has experienced such a burn.
How many times, ways or Michelle Obama side eye memes we can say it; leave our culture alone. Look but don’t touch. Thirst but don’t drink. Appreciate but don’t attempt. Worst case, simply find an African American male or female filled to the brim with melanin to carryout whatever ode to unity, and cornrow fetish guised as a love of worldly culture, that may you have.
I get it, watching “Eyes on the Prize” takes time, time that you don’t have, to familiarize yourself with the culture you so desperately crave to hijack. But if the alternative to educating yourself about a race that has inspired every Halloween costume, 2000s mixtape car CD and “sassy” hairstyle you’ve ever owned, is airbrushed white models fresh off the Iman beauty line floor, then just don’t. Trust us, your unshed white tears will thank us later.
What’s most troubling about the artist’s faux depiction of a black woman isn’t the fact that I’m not totally mad at that ombre eye (which is bomb btw), but rather the artist’s reasoning, actually justification, of his decision to cover a white model in makeup to look like a black woman.
So because you needed a challenge you decided to turn Suzy into Symoné (accent intentionally over the ‘e’ for hood cred)? If you want to be challenged go pass a peace of legislation that bans George Zimmerman from existing, or hope that my twistout hair survives a misted ran on a summer day. Maybe try hiding that wretched Steph Curry sneaker, or making decent potato salad before the age of 52. See what I did there? You have options. Our race is not a costume. It’s not a foundation hue or an extreme tan. It’s us. Our daily lives and you cannot have it. The artist wrote the following in response to the well-deserved backlash:
The transformation that I recently posted of a woman transformed into a woman of another culture has been highly criticized by those who don’t understand the message. I deleted the post, not because I had regret or saw wrongdoing, but because of the negativity social media turned it into. It’s been assumed by most that my intentions were to transform my model into a black woman. Truth is, my intentions were to keep the look vague enough to be relatable to many women of different cultures, but the true inspiration of the overall look came from my Cuban heritage. Although I am saddened by how many people are angered, I can’t offer an apology for my artwork and for what I find to be beautiful. The transformation came from a place of love and was not about mocking one’s race, but rather about celebrating it. I am so proud to be illustrating a woman representing several cultures along with their achievements, beliefs and histories. Art is interpreted differently by all and sometimes it’s uncomfortable, but making this world a better place starts with our mindset – thinking positive, showing love and practicing unity.In reading the caption it seems as though homie was sincerely trying to promote racial harmony through his work, which is admirable but still dumb. Here’s the thing guys, that’s typically how cultural appropriation works. It’s well-intended actions carried out by somewhat dumb people who clearly have no understanding of the point they’re trying to make or the culture they’re struggling to celebrate. Exhibit 926, Kendall Jenner attempting to end racism with a Pepsi when we clearly know Coke is a better tasting soda. Try this; celebrate black culture by watching the black history episode of Fresh Prince where Aunt Viv sings “Follow the Drinking Gorge” or tell your white friends to shut the f**k up on the chorus of “Gold Digger.” Do this and you’ve helped us tremendously.”
The artist easily could have accomplished the oohs, aahs and reposts he desired by using a black model. Again, what about dousing a white woman with brown powder says this is the first and right step in ending racism today.
Side Note: It’s funny how all of these supposed well-doing whites seem to love our melanin when passed as art or high fashion however, I yet to see Tom, Dick or Henry at the #BlackLivesMatter rally or at least at the Old Lady Gang grand opening.
Bottom line, if you’re not black, being black is not for you. Dear white people, this game of “help the black people by looking like black people, or acting like black people, or dressing like black people” will never end well for you. Like ever, so just stop. Oh, and while you’re at it, please also share this message with Katy Perry. Please and thanks.