Beyonce‘s latest promotional image for album “Four” has caused quite a stir–and unfortunately the buzz has got nothing to do with the music. Critics are accusing the songstress of “whitewashing” her image, the Daily News is reporting. This isn’t the first time Beyonce has come against accusations of this kind–she faced similar criticism for her L’Oreal ad.
Indeed, Beyonce does appear to be paler than normal in the image above, and while photoshop and lighting are likely culprits, the star’s decision to sport a blonde wig and bleached brows seems to send a deliberate message, some critics say. “I think in a lot of ways [Beyonce is] culpable because there’s history there,” Lincoln Anthony Blades, founder of race-conscious blog ThisIsYourConscience.com, told the News, referring to Beyonce’s past L’Oreal controversy. “She’s not saying explicitly you have to lighten your skin, but it does carry that inherent message.”
Issues of whitewashing in the media are particularly touchy in an age where skin-bleaching creams are becoming increasingly popular–and women with darker skin are continuously feeling the pressure to conform to society’s paler standards. When the L’Oreal ad drew heated criticism in 2008, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown wrote in the Daily Mail:
“Too many black and Asian children grow up understanding the sad truth that to have dark skin is to be somehow inferior. Of course, black and Asian parents work hard to give their children a positive self-image and confidence in their appearance, despite the cultural forces stacked against them. But when black celebrities appear to deny their heritage by trying to make themselves look white, I despair for the youngsters who see those images.”
And while many critics no doubt feel the same as Alibhai-Brown about this latest promotional image from Beyonce, others say it’s not the songstress’ fault. “[Beyoncé is] doing what she needs to do to be accepted worldwide and keep those sponsors happy,” Filmmaker D. Channsin Berry, whose documentary Dark Girls looks at issues facing black women with darker skin than their peers, told the Daily News.
Claire Sulmers of Fashion Bomb Daily doesn’t think her skin tone was altered at all. “It’s kind of a weird shot, as it seems she’s [got] several different complexions, ranging from caramel toned on her legs to a lighter tone on her face,” Sulmners told us. “That said, I don’t think they lightened her complexion–Beyonce is a light skinned black woman and I think the shot reflects what is more or less her true tone.”
What’s your take on the matter?