This Kuwaiti Beauty Blogger Put Up A Picture With A ‘Blackface’ And Sees No Problem With It. Wow, It’s A New Low In Racism
Modern fashion has a cultural appropriation problem. With the advent of social media, there is no more a dearth of opinions from people of different walks of life and as such, we get to hear and see so many different perspectives. And of these stories that we hear quite often, a recurring motif is how people tend to use the likeness of a different culture for profit, while those same characteristics are used to discriminate against the very same cultures. For instance, a Marc Jacobs fashion show was heavily criticised in 2016 for featuring white models in dreadlocks. This was especially inappropriate since African American models have constantly been chastised for their natural hair and are often asked to alter it for the sake of popular fashion.
One of the biggest forms of cultural appropriation in fashion presents itself in the form of ‘blackface’, an act to darken one’s complexion beyond makeup curiosity to look like a person of African American descent. If you are wondering why ‘blackface’ is wildly inappropriate, here’s some context. ‘Blackface’ began in the US after the Civil War where white performers played “black” and the performance often demeaned and dehumanised African Americans. It is deeply rooted in racism, with ‘brownface’ being a variant for prejudice against Asian people.
A bigger problem with this practice is that fashion does not seem to understand how hurtful this can be to people’s sentiments. Famous celebrities are usually the ones who fumble with it, which makes us wonder how there is nobody in their team to warn against it.
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Joining the ranks of clueless people who don’t see anything wrong with it is Kuwaiti Influencer Ghadeer Sultan who shared multiple images and a video with full ‘blackface’ makeup. After intense backlash from netizens, the fashion and beauty blogger with over 2 million followers, defended her actions by saying it’s “art”. But add the video to the mix…
…and you can see how she has no idea why this is so wrong. The conceptualisation of the video went so wrong, with one user commenting, “This is the most offensive thing I’ve seen. You can portray togetherness without disrespecting an entire culture”. “So uneducated. This is beyond unnecessary and unacceptable”, said another.
Sultan further stated, “I am not racist. I hate racism. What I’ve done is only to show what I am capable of. I love you all. Think 2020 and live with passion for all peoples. And I looked more beautiful in my dark colours. I’ve tried to explain several times why and how I’ve done this and what was my goal behind it…I can’t really change the sensitivity behind the whole issue. I will work on resolving the [misunderstanding] and I will be careful in approaching or touching [other] cultures, so we can all enjoy the beauty behind the arts”, she elaborated. Uhm, okay sure!
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The thing with Kim Kardashian and her family’s tireless history of cultural appropriation and Blackfishing is that she knows better. They know better. But they continue to do this because they know outrage sells. They’re able to keep their name relevant by doing things like THIS. https://t.co/rIE1fuYUXH
— DarkSkinWanna (@WannasWorld) December 19, 2019
As we mentioned, the problem with ‘blackface’ in fashion runs deeper than just makeup. In December 2019, Kim Kardashian West was called out for copying the likeness of African American icons like Diahann Carroll, Lena Horne, Dorothy Dandridge for a magazine shoot. Her people refused these claims by saying, “It’s the lighting that makes her look darker in this specific image,” the source said to Page Six. “There are multiple covers and images from this shoot where the lighting looks more natural. People are so quick to find the negative in everything and also often forget that she is of Armenian descent”. They said her look was modelled after an Egyptian queen, and where exactly is Egypt again? LOL!
It’s 2020 guys. Can we please be a little more sensitive towards the kind of content we put out. Especially if you are an Instagram influencer. Just because there are no standardized rules of content, they tend to get away with a lot of things. It is also impossible to regulate content to the platform, for now. So till then, let’s tread carefully!