Beyonce Returns to Her Roots

French magazine, L’Officiel, will celebrate its 90th birthday by having Beyonce Knowles grace their March 2011 cover. The 29 year old pop diva agreed to pose for an incredible “African Queen” themed photo shoot in which she donned costumes in tribute to African musician/activist, Fela Kuti. Beyonce voluntarily allowed her skin to be darkened, a move I’m sure won’t sit well with Americans; however, the magazine called it a return to the singer’s African roots.

In contrast to the image above, the cover featuring Beyonce seemed to have swung the other way. Beyonce is almost unrecognizable to me, as her skin color has once again been manipulated by magazine editors so as not to offend their mostly white female audience.

Update: Check out a preview of the photo shoot here.

107 Comments

  1. I know a lot of people will be offended by her skin being darkened but I’m going to see it as art and leave it as that.

    The cover is a travesty however. It looks nothing like her, much like those L’Oreal ads. But if Beyonce is cool with it then so am I.

  2. Another site said Miss Tina designed the dresses. If so she put her foot in that. Both dresses are haute.

    Go head mama T !

  3. I cannot wait to see the costumes. Both dresses shown above are gorgeous.

  4. Beyonce is gorgeous regardless of any skin color. But watch people come on here & spew their unnecessary hate as usual.

  5. oh ok, so because she is paying tribute to F.K. she paints her face black/brown, and now she is mama Africa? gimme a break! seriously that is dum! and im sorry she agreed to look foolish. going back to her roots?…yea ok. i guess i wont understand. what happened to getting a naturally darkskinned woman. seriously this just seems really pointless to me. do darn ignorant.

  6. I find it silly and pointless. I agree that they should have found a lady who was already that complextion naturally. Her face is brown and the rest of her body is light..it makes no sense. Some will say I feel this way because I’m of a darker complextion..no I’m not I’m light skinned and I find the photo’s really offensive. I’m also a Beyonce fan but I still think it was a bad move.

  7. no comment on the blackened face – (is this is white magazine by the way or an ‘urban’ French mag?)

    I must say I like the dress a lot- iF Tina did design it, well color me impressed.

    Funny this is Beyonce is looking tanner here than she has been recently (if you see recent pics with her blonde hair you will see what I mean)

  8. This is the game black women must play if they want to be featured on the cover of all the so called big fashion magazines.

  9. And what are you talking about the cover looks like her everyday skin complexion.

    I’m hearing she will be wearing less makeup this era, so I’m assuming she will be cutting down on all the unnesscary bronzers, tanning, and glitter that we are so use to her wearing.

  10. Beyonce is so gorgeous, love her.

    People need to accept the fact that beyonce is a clearskin woman, but someimes looks brown or golden due because of tanning and bronzers.

  11. What is a clearskin woman?

    Everyone knows Beyonce is what folks call lightskin but that is not what is in question. The oddity is magazines routinely whitening up her skin and features in oder to make her look like someone she is not.

  12. @ Winter Mix- I clicked on the link for the Gucci dress, Beyonce did it justice !

  13. guys I dont think the issue is whether B is light or not- we all know she is. it’s the fact that some mags and companies alter her look still to make it more palatable. I guess its no different to Brittney Spears getting photoshopped to be thinner, or Keira Knightly being photoshopped to be bustier.
    I think on the cover though she looks tanner than she has been appearing lately so idk. If anything I think they photoshopped a ‘dewy’ complexion

  14. @Daniel. I agree. That dress sure does look a helluva lot better on Beyonce than it does on that model.

  15. Beyonce is fake. How this picture took her back to her roots. She look crazy in that picture. You know her mother didnt design that dress. She not that good. Her clothes is at walmart.

  16. The darkened image is odd looking. I’d love to see the rest of the spread. The cover is beautiful! I love both dresses; and the heels 😉

  17. @ Kanyade to me it’s extremely ironic. At the first glance it looks like they were trying to have her head looks Afro centric with the darker color and dramatic head wrap. This is flowing into a glitzy dress and heels and can show that no matter how glam we are now as Africans in the diaspora, we still have our head/roots in Africa.

    But when I look at Beyonce’s face her features looks soooo European that to me, it’s negates whatever they were attempting. I personally have yet to find a ‘black face’ print that is executed well.

    Maybe I am just being to sensitive though- there is just soemthing about blackface in trying to show ‘africaness’ that doesn’t sit right with me.

  18. Here we go again with the madness of Beyonce’s complexion, she is light skinned end of story. You don’t have much power over someone photoshopping your pics esp. if it’s on THEIR magazine. And I could she if they were using a white lady and painting her face black THEN calling it a tribute that’s different. Nothing to be upset about.

  19. Gorgeous!!!!!!!Though they could have done without the dark face. I saw the video and the editorial looks really good.

  20. Ummmmm, I always thought Beyonce was pale as h*ll to be honest. Her make-up and the tans she get make her darker. I think the photo shoot is awesome! I’m ready for her to come back. Making her skin darker was unnecessary. Back to her roots? Beyonce is considered an African American, period… there is no going back to her roots really.

  21. I hear you @Danielle.

    I think the ‘odd’ness in the one image comes from her head appearing as if they plopped it on top of her body. It looks very shopped and just odd.

    This reminds me of the reverse-blackface 😐 in Dreamgirls.

  22. The whole spread overall is gorgeous!!!

    Like ones we’re accustomed to seeing that are positive images, liken to images from “coming to america” or those african apparel catalogues that show black women looking our best in our african garb inspired clothing…that one shot was totally off the mark, but it got the reaction they wanted…it was not cute and would cause a stir…other than that…the pics are quite beautiful…she’s beautiful!

  23. What idiotic comment’s!!!! Anyone with any knowledge of photography know’s that a person skin tone can vary dramatically depending on the lighting. NO Beyonce is not lightening her skin. Oprah is about 10 shades darker than she appear’s on her show because of the lighting!!!! Stop being so ignorant!!!’

  24. Umm, I always thought “blackface” was considered offensive? Maybe I’m wrong. Leave it to a white-owned magazine to do something like this.

  25. I find it interesting that “going back to your roots” entails a darker hue. I guess they are unaware that Africans come in all shades. I’m Nigerian and dark brown and my aunt who is full blooded Nigerian also, is lighter than Beyonce.

  26. I think that’s why her face was made dark and her body was left light. Because if she had just been dark only, then people would’ve said not all African are dark. But actually making her face and neck dark and her body being left lighter, it means that a black person can be light or dark. I think they were highlighting her face because she has the headdress on and braids that’s framing her face.

  27. I think Beyonce’s picture is beautiful I think her face was made darker to highlight the headdress. It still looks like her beautiful face just darker. It’s not distored any kind of way. I do think the pic is trying to show the range in black people’s color.

  28. THIS FAKE CRE(ASSH)OLE STARLET WILL DO ANYTHING FOR ATTENTION.
    WANT TO GET BLACKFACE BEYONDGAY? JUST STOP BLEACHING YOUR SKIN AND YOU’LL GET AS DARK AS DADDY KNOWLES!
    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  29. She’s gorgeous. And I believe @Josephine is correct in why they did what they did. It’s creative, and instead of going off just think things over a bit people.

  30. @Josephine i totally agree. Also, ppl are making this an issue and it shouldn’t be, the simple fact is, I see this as art and I feel she embodied it well. She looks STUNNING. It also brings me back to when she did something similar to this in Dream Girls as far as the skin darkening so this is nothing new. I’m loving the outfits and head wraps and she looks SO confident and she has every reason to. No matter what she does, it’s going to be scrutinized as the worse thing ever as if they try picking her apart with a fine tooth comb. It’s rather sad she’s damned if she do and damned if she don’t. With that said, cant wait for the new album…

  31. If she knew anything about her history or her roots she would have never allowed them to do this to her. Ignorance is not bliss. She looks like a damn fool. Learn your damn histroy and you would have never allowed the idea of black face to be spoken around you. This proves this chick will do anything to be on the cover of a magazine. This has nothing to do with if she is light or dark she has crossed the line with this one.

    We were just arguing because I think it was Vogue put a bunch of white models in black face and now we are suppose to praise this. If you see this as art then you will love to see the pictures of the black men hanging from a tree. Black people learn your history and stop being so willing to accept any damn thing because some wanna be black one day and looks white the next day did it. So now all of a sudden this is art. Go and show this to some of the older people in your family I bet you damn well they won’t think this is art. This is coonery at it’s best.

    She is ridiculous and there is nothing else to say about her.

  32. BEE…CO SIGNED – I cannot believe she let them paint her face black. That is insane!! I had a lot of respect for this sista…any thoughts Beyonce of getting into the White House with her bowinkle nose husband is over!! God forgive me.

  33. I hate they airbrushed her titty to look like a lopsided grape. LMAOOOOO!

  34. Miss ‘I wish I was Latina has gone too far’, She really is a dumb piece of crap, Blackface really, and people defending this, Why the hell would she do this, #

    WTF are people bringing up the Dreamgirls shoot , THAT WAS A FILM SHE WAS IN CHARACTER!

  35. My problem with the “artwork” is that Beyonce is a African-American woman. She doesn’t need to darken her skin to what, prove her “africaness.” African-Americans, especially the women have enough issues historically — currently — with our feelings and judgments about our complexions. And the feelings and judgments of other people in the world about our complexions.

    Is there no one at L’Officiel aware that Africans and African-Americans by NATURE have a variety of shades/complexions.

    Second, that one picture above, why is only her head darkened? Why does the head look so fake? Maybe that’s because it is a low-rez reproduction.

  36. Just speechless… Why her face jet black? While the body is still lightskin? Either way it’s tasteless – No tribute to the motherland… Even there we come in many shades…

  37. I never heard beyonce uter a word about Papa kuti when asked about who inspires, Further more if you’re going to talk about his origins be PRECISE, Papa was NIGERIAN, Third how is beyonce paying hommage to him?

    This is so ignorant, Have you ever been in the presence of a real Queen? They look nothing like whatever she was trying to do, I’m offended, I’m married to a Yoruba man, and i am offended at the fact that people slap black paint on their face, wrap unmeaning and ridiculous things on their head and they are labeled African, Do you f-ing Research, But who i’m i kidding it’s a french magazine, a country that has declared war on African nation, and beyonce? anything for a paycheck , she probably doesn’t even know who she is supposed to be paying homage to.

    Mrs i wish i was a latina get this moron out of my face.

  38. Lol yall hypocrites are a trip ANYBODY and I mean ANYBODY else and everything would be all peaches and cream.

  39. @ Lol no she aint

    She sais SHJE WAS PAYING HOMAGE, NOT A CHARACTER
    I see delusional stans up in here trying to defend this chick GTFOH

    Do you even know what Blackface is

    I will educate your dumb ass

    THE HISTORY OF BLACKFACE FOR THOSE WHO ARE NOT OFFENDED, IF YOU CARE TO READ:
    Blackface is theatrical makeup used in minstrel shows, and later vaudeville. The practice gained popularity during the 19th century and propagated American racist stereotypes such as the “happy-go-lucky darky on the plantation” or the “dandified coon “.[1] In 1848, blackface minstrel shows were the national art of the time, translating formal art such as opera into popular terms for a general audience.[2] Early in the 20th century, blackface branched off from the minstrel show and became a form in its own right, until it ended in the United States with the U.S. Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.[3]
    Blackface was an important performance tradition in the American theater for roughly 100 years beginning around 1830. It quickly became popular overseas, particularly so in Britain, where the tradition lasted longer than in the US, occurring on primetime TV as late as 1978 (The Black and White Minstrel Show).[4] and 1981.[5] In both the United States and Britain, blackface was most commonly used in the minstrel performance tradition, but it predates that tradition, and it survived long past the heyday of the minstrel show. White blackface performers in the past used burnt cork and later greasepaint or shoe polish to blacken their skin and exaggerate their lips, often wearing woolly wigs, gloves, tailcoats, or ragged clothes to complete the transformation. Later, black artists also performed in blackface.
    Stereotypes embodied in the stock characters of blackface minstrels not only played a significant role in cementing and proliferating racist images, attitudes and perceptions worldwide, but also in popularizing black culture.[citation needed] In some quarters, the caricatures that were the legacy of blackface persist to the present day and are a cause of ongoing controversy. One view is that blackface is a form of cross-dressing.[6]
    By the mid-20th century, changing attitudes about race and racism effectively ended the prominence of blackface makeup used in performance in the U.S. and elsewhere. It remains in relatively limited use as a theatrical device, mostly outside the U.S., and is more commonly used today as social commentary or satire. Perhaps the most enduring effect of blackface is the precedent it established in the introduction of African American culture to an international audience, albeit through a distorted lens.[7][8] Blackface’s groundbreaking appropriation,[7][8][9] exploitation, and assimilation[7] of African-American culture—as well as the inter-ethnic artistic collaborations that stemmed from it—were but a prologue to the lucrative packaging, marketing, and dissemination of African-American cultural expression and its myriad derivative forms in today’s world popular culture.

    NOW TAKE A FUCKING SEAT!

  40. @THE TRUTH- But guess what sista, THE WOMAN IS BLACK! Ya’ll are acting like it’s a white woman posing in the pics. Oh and you didn’t educate us, wikipedia educated YOU.

  41. not really sure how i feel about this one. there’s no denying the fact that beyonce is a black american woman ….. which means the african ancestry goes without saying.

    why darken her face to epitomize african beauty?

    WTF!

  42. Don’t like it. In Loreal ads, they change her skin color too. And plus, she wears weaves, she doesn’t use Loreal hair color or shampoo. It’s just for money. The weird thing is if a white person did this, she would be called racist.

  43. @ CoCo Jennifer Lopez, Gwen Stefani, Elizabeth Banks etc wear weaves and all have commercials and contracts with L’Oreal.

    So what exactly is your point??? All advertisements are made for profit, especially when using a high profile celeb.

    Bey is naturally fair. She looked absolutely gorgeous. I love her face and overall bone structure.

  44. @The Truth, considering your name on here, you didn’t say much. And since I know what blackface meant during the time period, I didn’t bother reading that bit of info you copied and pasted from a site like wikipedia.

    An AFRICAN QUEEN, in this context, is a CHARACTER since they’re not paying homage to a specific historical queen of Africa. Therefore Beyonce’s dress, her “blackface” and such ARE meant to portray the character that is the nameless “African Queen”. So instead of spewing obscenities like the mindless idiot you are, I suggest you do YOUR homework and read what the f*** you’re responding to, you disrespectful a**hole.

    By the way you’re acting, I’m thinking you’re the one acting like a straight up, “black-face’d minstrel” behind a computer screen.

  45. And yes @The “Truth”, SHE said that she’s paying homage to Fela, who is obviously not a character (although you’re a straight up character yourself). I was talking about the theme of the shoot, which according to L’Officiel, is based on the look of an “African Queen”. Now join me in having that seat, moron

  46. Beyonce, is silly for ALLOWING herself to be in “black face.” However, Beyonce likely does not know why “black face” is frowned upon. Think Beyonce, before you act.

  47. I dont agree. Did u know Alek Wek did a shoot where she darkened her face? Did u know that model Chanel Iman did the same thing? Did u know that Grace Jones painted her face white with the rest of her body being her original color? I bet u didn’t know that because people just like to jump down on Beyonce for no reason and turning what was suppose to be for celebration into something negative. When the ladies i mentioned: Alek Wek, Chanel, and Grace Jones did this there were no complaints but because its beyonce i guess you guys have to blame somebody

  48. @ SEAN. you are wrong! Alek didnt blacken her face, she blackend her whole body. and it is obvious the intent the “runway designer” had for that purpose.yes it was on the runway. she was black, wearing a stark white dress. check it out.(i have no time to find it for you) if youre gonna bring up facts, be 100% thourogh and truthful. Imans spread was NOT her face!!! it was certain areas of her body covered in “brown” paint, and i believe other colors to. it was not complete. which is what i feel they should have done for Beyonce.

    ok now i understand they are trying to show diffenet shades of African ppl. why not get other singers/artists/models??? its not rocket science. and yea, can you not “see” the issue here is the blackface implication/assumption. whether intentional or not. wtf does Grace Jones painting her face white have to do with it? oh my gosh. seriosly. and just so i can say you type like someone who has no sense. what does “…blame some body mean…” ? did she kill someone? cant you have an adult responce. you dont have to leave your head in Beyonces cooch all the time. take a breather and see “ALL OF THE LIGHTS” lol. the isue here is simple. she did not have to blacken herface for anything/anyone. because of the history and the implications the image posses.period. any one who cannot comprehend that, needs to get checked in the head. pce.

    and @ SHONTELLE i completely agree. Im Nigerian. come to think of it, Fela was Light skinned, probably as light as Beyonce, its Femi who is dark, but even still his family is full of light skinned folks. whatever. Celebrities are useless. i always say that.

  49. I find it funny that Beyonce has MOVED some of you to write full on paragraphs and articles about something that is not that deep. At the end of the day Beyonce is about making money just like everybody else who is in her industry and if you think for a second that your FAVORITE entertainer wouldnt do something like this…PLEASE THINK AGAIN.

  50. This person said it best:

    “Now, we are left with trying to determine the intent. REAL blackface, in its original form, was not beautiful, flattering or fashion magazine worthy. Real blackface was vicious and degrading in every execution. Real blackface depicted Blacks as ignorantly happy, lazy, and musical. Is that what you see when you see the L’Officiel photos? Do you feel the pain of Jim Crow laws and Jim Crow era advertising when you see Beyoncé’s face painted in dark makeup?

    It takes more than face darkening to create blackface. If this “African Queen” spread was an attempt at recreating or mimicking blackface and its disgusting intent then the technique has certainly come a long fabulous way.”

    Let’s agree to disagree. Moving on…

  51. She looks like an idiot. Let’s go deeper shall we? Beyonce is of Creole descent right? If she wanted to connect with her roots then she would know how to speak Creole or at least learn the language. Rihanna is of West Indian/Caribbean descent. Do we see any Caribbeanism (made that up) in any of her videos? Yes. Do we see any of Beyonce’s heritage in any of her videos? I don’t think so. Is there any Creole people that love Beyonce and thinks she reps for them? How can she when she doesn’t rep for a regular AA woman? She is all for money people. We know this by now. It’s Beyonce, what else do you expect from her money grubbing behind. She was raised to get money and to step on everybody in her way and that’s it. Daddy taught her that. She stepped on four main stones to get there. Kelly, Latavia, Letoya, and Michelle. She doesn’t care what we think and trust me, Jay-z is not making her as happy as some of these fans think she is. She’s gonna get hers.

  52. Check it out ladies, the OFFICIAL photoshoot behind the scenes:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naxB6zvguvM&feature=player_embedded

    Looks like the stylists (who came up with the theme) are black. Almost everyone at the shoot is black.

    I hear you all ladies. But frankly, this is not about Beyonce. The shoot is gorgeous and made me feel proud to be black…that’s just me. The prints and jewelry are stunning, and seeing her in “blackface” up close (on video) is striking to say the least. Any woman from Rihanna to Ledisi could’ve made this photoshoot beautiful, even if their skin was darkened for dramatic effects.

    I saw the spread too…it’s lovely.

    Ok now I’m done lol…I just felt strongly about this, not because of Beyonce, but because of the subject matter itself.

  53. There are many beautiful black women they could have used – no offensive to Beyonce, who is a fantastic artiste, but this is hypocritical and unfair to darker-skinned black women everywhere.

  54. Right now it seems we pile on Beyonce words of lessons needed to be said, discussed, and debated long ago in history classes. As Black History Month winds down there are still a few days left to teach lessons not so P.C. yet oh so true. There is still time left to discuss the relevance of the cakewalk. How it began with slaves imitating the formality of their Master by infusing some humor into what should’ve been the waltz. This was then transformed into a piece within a minstrel show where Blacks mocking Whites were mocked by Whites dressed up as Blacks mocking Whites. (Keep up with me now.)

    There is still time to discuss the relevance of minstrel shows to Black culture. What we all too often debase is just as often forgotten as serving as the launching pad for many Black careers. As minstrelsy was replaced by vaudeville we saw the emergence of stars oft heralded such as Josephine Baker and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. As vaudeville and its chitlin’ circuit gave way to the Harlem Renaissance we saw Black character’s in theatre take shape, take on depth, take on a human arc capable of emoting and not just wide smiling, capable of training and not just shucking and jiving, capable of grace and not just hoofing.

    As much as we look back on our burnt cork past with disgust or even hatred we cannot refuse to acknowledge how it has shaped the Black existence we are now privileged to enjoy. That includes Beyonce donning blackface for a magazine spread because she can and not because she must.

    http://changecomesslow.com/2011/02/21/beyonce-in-blackface-and-other-race-issues/

  55. GIGI- WOW it’s cool that you know Beyonce personally. What does she wear around the house?
    Everything you’re saying are assumptions (pet peeve).

  56. A bunch as Bey ass kissers who defend her bullshit no matter what

  57. I don’t care who does it and for what purpose, black face is OFFENSIVE…period!

  58. Am I the only one that’s blind???? I mean to me her skin-tone on the cover looks the same as the top one (minus the face of course). Even when she’s walking in the streets or in the morning light and the photogs are taking her picture that’s how her skin tone comes out looking!

    As for the “black face” concept I believe that’s only offensive to Americans. Minstrels never happened outside the U.S. I don’t know Since Beyonce is AMERICAN and she’s doing it I see it as black people taking it back and embracing it, kinda like the word “nigga” you know…

  59. ok SEAN. i see it. its still ignorant…all of them. are you happy now? Beyonce is not anything special. i ones happened, but if i was and it was posted on B.S i would have given my opinion.trust. im personally not offended by what she did. but there are pple who are. im just acknowledging that what she did was stupid.

  60. If any of you peeps had said this kinda crap about Grace Jones in the 80’s or now for that matter, she would hunt you down and eat you alive. This photo shoot clearly has nothing to do with disrepct and all to do with European fashion. So chill everyone! Shes a lovely looking woman with a good head on her shoulders. No pun intended.

  61. As an African, I’m deeply offended by this brainless misrepresentation. This image panders to the worst in Western representations of Africa and Africans across the ages. Beyonce – and her hand-holders – should have enough sense to know that the demeaning association of Africa with darkness has caused untold suffering and damage right from slavery through brutal colonial domination to the present. Which Africans is Beyonce trying to represent? Needless to say, there are some very dark-skinned Africans but why would that extreme shade be taken as representative of all of Africa? The editors of this magazine will try and suggest there is no malice in this but it’s evident to us Africans and we are NOT impressed! We are proud of all our shades of brown(not black, by the way) but we will not sit back while some former colonial people smuggle racism and serve it as “culture”. Icho!

  62. I officially feel bad for this grown woman. She literally has not been taught anything but how to shake it for money. She needs to really take sometime and educate herself. This is just sad. I don’t believe her father knew that she was doing this because I do beleive he would have stopped this. Because he has an education and he would have known as a black man that this is ridiculous.

  63. But the magazine didn’t specify which part of Africa they’re trying to represent. Maybe Nigeria b/c of the Fela Kuti mention, but really, there’s no true reference to the ENTIRE continent of Africa. She’s not painted black in all the shots, just two? three? She’s her natural, light color in the rest, therefore isn’t she representing the entire spectrum of black color?

    I’m not african, so I can’t really understand the offense. As a black American, I see beauty, not racism or ignorance. Africans are dark. Africans are light. They’re beautiful too. I see all three of these statements in these photos, some w/a light skinned Beyonce, some with a dark skinned Beyonce.

    But with you being African, why not be offended over something that truly is a tragedy within the nation? Why not cry foul over the travesties going on in Egypt? The crisis in Libya where their dictators ordered the rape of women? Where the military are walking around killing peaceful protestors dead in the street? THIS is what should offend you.

    They are celebrating darkness. Africa is a country chock full of dark people of that shade. Not EVERYONE, but A LOT. I’m sorry that some of you all are offended though..there’s nothing worse than percieving something as racially offensive so I do understand what’s being said. I just don’t agree, personally.

  64. LOL—I guess that’s exactly the sort of quarrel that the magazine owners wanted to happen between we continetal Africans and you African/Black Americans. It’s not new of course given the extreme ignorance about Africa that one finds among African Americans generally. But that’s not really what Iam interested in. Why are you bringing the crises in Libya and Egypt into it? Should Africans allow the West – via one Beyonce – to misrepresent them simply because they happen to be crises in north Africa? Have you stopped critiquing cultural issues in the US simply because your armies are fighting various wars across the globe? Have you stopped critiquing cultural issues simply because you have budget crisis or wahtever it is that bothering US citizens these days. My country is one of the poorer ones and we do have our fair bit of problems but anytime some foreigner runs around putting up his or her “African” sideshow, I will respond instantly. We will fight all our battles at once! That’s how we beat back the colonials.

  65. @Mhofu Mutekedza, Excellent Points. I would never suggest that Africans NOT comment on a misrepresentation of themselves of the media, I just feel as though there ISN’T a misrepresentation in the least because whatever type of “African” the magazine was trying to represent actually does exist. I don’t think they were trying to interpret the entire nation of Africa in this one picture…if anything, each picture looks slightly different.

    I saw the actual spread, and in one, Beyonce’s wearing an Egyptian style headdress. Egypt is in Africa, and is represented as such via the ancient headdress. In another, she’s wearing a black wrap similar to the ones worn by Arabic-African women. Each picture shows a variation on the types of African being represented.

    But I see your points. And I brought up the happenings in Libya/Egypt because to me, THOSE are true occurences of ignorance and offensiveness. They are also part of the media, what I as a black American see on blogs and television. I just don’t see anyone crying out in protest over it because an editorial of Beyonce in “blackface” took prevalence, which disturbs me.

    I do agree with you though, and I can’t force someone to not be offended. Your offense isn’t unwarranted. I see why you’re offended. I’m just trying to see where the French editors saw beauty where everyone else sees racism

  66. LOL—Think about this for a second…which of these pictures will live forever as THE AFRICAN BEYONCE? You and I know it’s the one where she’s so dark as to be unrecognizable, right? (I didn’t even look at the others by the way because they are irrelevant.)

    The atrocities against women in north Africa are are real, wrong and must be condemned. Of course if your only source of information about Africa is cable TV then you may not know that over and above the flare-up in north Africa, there are also vibrant cultures worth defending in Africa.
    As an black American, you should also know that mental violence is many times worse than physical violence. Beyonce has just become a foot soldier in the centuries-long mental violence against African people. Read a little about Hottentot Venus and then you will be amazed by how history repeats itself for black people.

  67. I’ve actually read about the Hottentot Venus, a disturbing story. I see what your saying.

    I’m of a very mixed racial background…German father, black mother. I guess…I see how beautiful Beyonce looks in that dark skin and I admire the pride and regalness of it, just like I admire the beautiful skin color of Naomi Campbell and Iman and Alek Wek, Shingai Shoniwa, etc. Even though she’s painted, there’s an aura of strength…but obviously that’s just my interpretation. But I also am able to see the ramifications of the portrayal, which I take for granted because I’m not African and I live in a “liberal” state in the U.S.

    Would you feel the same way if Essence magazine did the exact same spread in the exact same way? Would a black-owned and operated magazine make this okay? Just outta curiosity.

  68. And the probability of a black magazine doing this IS high, since it would be considered “high fashion”.

  69. What I have been trying to say is this magazine has found a willing “African” freak to display for people out there to consume. Unlike Sarah Baartman/Hottentot Venus who they had to trick/force to display her sacred womanhood, Beyonce picks up a check for this so she is not a victim in this. The real potential victims are our black/biracial daughters and sons.

    Dark-skinned models exist but in the year 2011, we Africans would rather not be reduced to exremes reminiscent of colonialism or slavery. If these people are serious, why don’t they celebrate the full range of skin shades found on the African continent?

  70. @MHOFU MUTEKEDZA, well said. I understand where you and people sharing your viewpoints, are coming from. Like I said, I take for my nationality and my background for granted but I’m now able to see how this “fierce” fashion spread expands in more directions than just fabulous clothes and paint.

    I really don’t see this as intentional, but like most said, a little forethought would’ve helped. The magazine really wanted controversy and they got it.

  71. Thanks for the post !

    L’OFFICIEL is very proud to present its March issue featuring Beyoncé in African-inspired dresses and jewelry by top designers, including Gucci, Azzedine Alaia, Fendi, Pucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Rodarte, Dolce & Gabbana, Cartier and Lanvin. Designer Tina Knowles, who is also Beyoncé’s mother, created a one of a kind couture piece. The designs are all reflective of the African influence on fashion this season. Miss Knowles poses with royal allure. A queen, a goddess, Beyoncé is a bombshell beauty with a divine voice. We’re thrilled she’s opening a season of celebrating the 90th anniversary of L’Officiel de la Mode. The series was conceived as using art and fashion in paying homage to African queens.

    Beyoncé mentioned the artist Fela Kuti in the interview as one of her musical inspirations. It was later misquoted as the inspiration for the shoot. We would like to clarify that it is not the case. As for the artistic makeup, the inspiration came from several African rituals during which paint is used on the face. We find the images beautiful and inspiring.

    L’Officiel would like to thank Beyoncé for her outstanding contribution to this celebration of African influences in Fashion.

  72. If this is the case L’OFFICIAL why dont the few Africans who have posted on this site know nothing about these “rituals” of blackface in their communities?

  73. Wow! Reading some of these comments is truly disheartening. It’s a shame that many of you see nothing wrong with this… know your history people.
    No wonder Black folks have taken 10 steps backwards, no respect or knowledge of self and a willingness to buy into any kind of mess!

  74. Every body who is offended by this has thier own personal issue with thier own color. If your secure in your own skin no matter how light or dark it is. Why are you complaining about what someone else is doing? You people are condemning her for what you would do it to if they paid you especially now when jobs are hard to find and keep. So don’t say what you wouldn’t do.

  75. I am an African. I am offended by the brainless attempt by Beyonce to represent Africa. I think both Beyonce and the magazine owners have believe everything Hollywood says or shows about Africa. All my African friends are very disturbed by this. In the name of full disclosure, I am of a brown shade but that has NOTHING to do with the gross madness displayed here as art or beauty. And there is hardly anything I don’t know about beauty and aesthetics in Africa. Period.

  76. well Dmn! @ THE SIREN!!! i had looked over your post before…just read it now. and i completely respect!!!! you definately broke it down. anyone who doesnt see it now is completely blind and hopeless!!!!

  77. good question @supanova. ive been scartching my head thinking ummm ok, i was missing something as an African this whole times. wth is rituals. lol, such a lame response. its better is they didnt say anything at all.

  78. People need to offend by more important things that are happening in this world not because someone chooses to make thier money. Children are going hunry, homeless and some without family structure and your worried and offend byh Beyonce. I was passing by and read some of the comments some of these people just like venting because they are frustrated with thier own lifes. As Africans American we don’t know how to support one another just degrade each other. That is why our youth are killing and hurting each other because of us not learning how to come together. So if this is what we want our youth to learn then keep doing what you do. Children learn from what they see not what you actually tell them because most of us are hypocrites. Spread love its ok to voice your opinion but calling someone a name is out of control. I’m brown skin person sometimes my skin lighten during certain season and dark others. But I love who I am regardless of my color and I imagine Beyonce love who she is also that is just a job.

  79. I do not know why everyone is making such a big deal over this photo. It’s art! Get over it!

  80. @ John, I don’t give a damn about what she wears around the house. But from the video I saw when she was trying to say a sentence in Creole was pathetic. They repeated it to her a million times and she still couldn’t get it. So I know for a fact she doesn’t know any Creole. I have a pet peeve with people not recognizing their own culture but jump at the chance to flaunt somebody else’s. All I’m saying is she should be proud of who she is and where she comes from and flaunt that.

  81. I just read that a West-African styled the shoot and concieved the concept of painting Beyonce’s face. Jenke Ahmed Tailly. A fantastic stylist btw.

    In the official behind-the-scenes video posted by L’Officiel, most of the stylist are black (most likely African) who explained what they were trying to do when styling Beyonce for the shoot.

    Idk now…I get the outcry but still, try to understand that they were trying to do something good here. These BLACK stylists took the oppurtunity to “mainstream” African beauty. Maybe they should’ve done it differently, or use someone else, but the good intent was there and I think they were trying to celebrate their culture as Africans via a major celebrity who has all eyes on her.

    @Gigi, I get what you’re saying. But Beyonce has said that she doesn’t know Creole, and neither does her mother. Tina Knowles said in an interview that she was embarrassed by the Creole language because her family was teased by school kids for being “different”, so she refrained from learning it and now regrets it. Something like that

  82. I think its ridiculous. I am not a Beyonce fan anyway & this just took the cake. “Black”(brown) women come in all colors, shapes & sizes. If they wanted to portray a darker african beauty to glorify or glamorize the image of “black” being beautiful they should’ve hired a model who had that look. To paint someones face is laughable….

    It reminds me of the “blackface” “white”(pink) people use to do to make fun of & imitate in a derogatory way how they percieved “blacks” as ignorant & foolish. That a person of color would willingly sign up for it is shocking. I dont know what she was thinking. Perhaps only of herself & her ability to be on the cover of a magazine.

  83. GIGI- How do YOU know she isn’t proud of who she is? Because like you stated before she has blond hair??? Your just assuming (one of my biggest pet peeves) because you start making an a** out of yourself. So what if she doesn’t know Creole, so what. If somone is mixed with 4 different nationalities do you expect them to learn all the corresponding languages?

    Can’t we just be glad someone(L’OFFICIEL) is tributing African culture in general? That doesn’t happen very much. Ya know they could’ve just had Angelina Joplie on the cover and called it a day.

  84. GIGI- You know what I’m sorry. Because that’s what you expect and those are your standards. So disregard my above comment.

  85. @Gigi

    i agree, and keeping it real, I’m from New Orleans and Creole (which is african, french, indian & spanish by-the-way). We barely use the language anymore, I’d say my great grandfather was the last to use it in our family. -Some phrases and words have survived though.

    It’s one thing to embrace your heritage, and another to exploit it for publicity and to push clothing sales… and Ms. Tina’s story sounds caca-maney too.

  86. But didn’t the history behind Black Face us as Black people just like the word Ni*** what urban folk do turn it around to spit and start saying nigga in a jokeful tip of way throw it Back in the white man face to show that what ever as a race we go though we can over come. And black face is the same thing it made it all this time and Black people just taking something that was meant for degrading and making it art of all the shades of a beautiful black person showing it from then to now how it has change taking it and running with that overcoming the obstacles put in are way so is it art? In there eyes it is.Do thank you for wanting to imitating me.the black beautiful queen that i am being sarcastic right there. And showing we are strong whats the problem? But i think B is what she is but she should really take a moment and think what it really mean to her not everyone else. All these celebrities teaching young black women you have to look a certain way that’s what i don’t like

  87. You sell your soul
    Like you sell a piece of a$$
    Slave to the dead white leaders on paper
    And welfare cases
    Rapists and hoes
    All reinforced your TV show
    Exotic and beautiful videos

    Yeah
    A jail’s a sanctuary for the walking dead
    It fu#ks with your head
    When every black leader ends up dead
    Somebody said
    Our greatest destiny is to become white
    But white is not pure
    And hate is not pride
    And just ’cause civil rights is law
    Doesn’t mean that we all abide

    So tell me are you free?
    “You” Campaign for every dead nigga blvd
    So ya’ll mf’s can drive down it in your fancy cars
    Free
    You try to hold on to some Africa of the past
    One must remember
    It’s other Africans that helped enslave your a$$
    Everybody’s just trying to make to make that dollar
    Remember what Jesse used to say?
    I am somebody
    No longer do I blame others
    For the way that we be
    ‘Cause niggas need to redefine
    What it means to be free

    I can’t even tell my brothers and sisters that they’re fine
    This absence of beauty
    In their heart and mind
    Stopped breastfeeding the child
    You put ’em on the cow
    And now you wonder why they act wild
    You see brown folks are the
    Keepers of the earth
    Unifiers of the soul and mind
    Not these wannabe gaudy pimps and thugs
    Wearing diamond watches
    From African slave mines

    Perhaps to be free
    Is to all love those who hate me
    And die a beautiful death
    And make pretty brown babies

    You campaign for every dead nigga blvd
    So y’all young mf’s can drive down it in their fancy cars
    You try to hold on to some Africa of the past
    Then one must remember
    It’s other Africans that helped enslave your a$$
    Everybody’s trying to make that dollar
    Remember what Jesse used to say?
    I am somebody
    No longer do I blame others
    For the way that we be
    ‘Cause niggas need to redefine
    What it means to be free

    ms mi’shell ndegeocello

  88. @ Gigi I’m creole and my parents didn’t teach me how to speak the language either. So just because someone is of another culture doesn’t necessarily means that they can speak the language. Some parents prefer you speak the American language which is English. My grandfather was the last one to speak Creole in our family. Why do people sit around judging other peoples lifes. God is the only judge.

  89. This is exactly what the spread was meant to do. By using Beyonce an attractive African American woman people will be distracted from the message this sends about dark skin and blackness. Using Beyonce makes it easy for them to say “well this isnt racist, Beyonce is black and she is co-signing so it cant be bad/offensive”

    Whats worse still is the message behind this. The message that dark-skin is somehow exotic and “fashionable” only when one has the ability to wash it off and leave it behind. That’s why the French were so quick to use Beyonce over a woman who is indeed from Africa, or the very least dark-skinned.

    If something is racist its racist, period, regardless of who is doing it. Would this be so funny if they used a less amounts less attractive woman to do this? What if she was white? Would you still approve? My senses tell me many of you wouldn’t.

    Also, this is not fashion. The litmus test for fashion is whether the art is cutting edge never been don. What is cutting edge about black face? Nothing, its as old as the KKK. Its been done before.

  90. This posting is a little late; however, Gigi, I agree with you. I like Beyonce but she is a money grubbing individual. When I first saw her in a DIRECTV commerical, I went “really.” Does she really need the money? That is truly the sign of an individual who feels enough isn’t enough.

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