Most of the men and women who were brought from Africa by slave traders to the U.S. lost track of what part of Africa they came from. Africa, don’t forget, is a giant continent, comprising about 25% of the entire global dry land and including six different climate zones. Pre-colonial Africa consisted of over 10,000 meaningful social tribes and polities. So while we talk about “Africa” as if it’s a meaningful word, we’re describing a land mass at best and, at worst, erasing the complexity of 15% of the world’s people. For more, see our post featuring Chimamanda Adichie on the “single story of Africa.”
Meanwhile, American Blacks — slaves and descendants of slaves — had the children of everyone from their white friends and lovers (beginning with indentured servants in early America) to the very men and women who enslaved them. Many American blacks, then, are often perceived as essentially white when they visit Africa because their skin color is much less black those of “African” groups who never left Africa.
Carly M. sent along a story about a fashion shoot for a French fashion magazine, L’Officiel Paris, in which she has her face blackened and wears a dress inspired by her “African roots.”
Beyoncé is born to an African-American father and a Creole mother; though this is not something I can confirm, her specific connection to Africa was likely cut by slave traders. So, to refer to her African roots is to fetishize this thing-called-Africa that Americans recognize, but is a fiction in our imaginations. And indeed, while some sort of African roots are no fiction for Beyoncé, her light skin and mixed history (Creole refers to someone of mixed African, Native American, and French ancestry) is far more American than African.
Which makes the blackening of her skin all the more interesting. In the U.S., blackface has an ugly racist history featuring white men mocking black people, but it’s recently enjoyed a supposedly “edgy” resurgence in the fashion industry. Yet, Beyoncé is famous in part because U.S. audiences are more tolerant of light-skinned Blacks than dark-skinned Blacks. So what does it mean that she is appearing in blackface?
Dodai Stewart, at Jezebel, notes:
…Beyoncé’s skin looked a lot lighter in L’Oréal ads, and women like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Gabourey Sidibe had their faces lightened for magazine covers, and black models are so rarely seen on designers’ runways, the message we’re getting from the fashionistas is that it’s bad to actually have dark skin, but totally cool to pretend you have it.
So we have a situation in which slave traders ripped African people from their homes, landed them in the U.S., and erased their personal origins. Then these individuals were mixed (voluntarily and not) with non-Africans, struggling to build a culture unique to American Blacks (one that the rest of us have happily appropriated again and again). And then, in the year 2011, they appear in “African” garb and painted faces, because they’re just black enough/not black enough?* I don’t even know.
Coverage of the photoshoot:
* Language changed from “they are dressed in”, in response to commenters, so as to not erase Beyonce’s agency here.Lisa Wade, PhD is an Associate Professor at Tulane University. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture; a textbook about gender; and a forthcoming introductory text: Terrible Magnificent Sociology. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Jihad-Punk — February 24, 2011
It is such an insult. Beyonce is the same woman who has blonde hair and being a woman of color with dark hair, I feel like she's deliberately trying to erase her racial identity as a woman of color. My mother have mistaken her as a white woman in these beauty ads before!
As a light skinned brown Indian, I acknowledge my light skin privilege (my skin is brown like a paper bag) and I sure as hell would NEVER allow anyone to put dark foundation on my skin to fetishize dark skinned Indians, who are so much more common than light skinned Indians.
Beyonce never had a problem making herself look white and celebrating Hollywood's racist blonde beauty ideals, she should be ashamed of herself. It's cool to look black and then erase it off your skin after a photo shoot, but not cool to BE black and have black hair forever for the rest of your life. Beyonce is just an example of that.
de revolushun — February 24, 2011
Beyonce's a problem for me. Has been and will continue to be. However this article is more of a problem than she will ever be.
It's a stretch to say that Black Americans (and other Africans from the diaspora) are perceived as white on the African continent. Though definitely foreign, to liken us (people of the diaspora) to white is to erase and simplify African people's understanding of race, identity, geography, history, colonialism and imperialism.
I argue that Beyonce has every right to access her African roots through dress without it being read as an act of fetishism. (Granted I think kente cloth would have been a better move than animal print). It's something many of the diaspora do everyday as way to re-connect, re-engage, remember and recall bonds that were severed many centuries ago by the institution of enslaving African peoples.
To qualify her as more American than African is to nullify the heterogeneity of African peoples and in many ways to erase the history of racism in America. With that logic racism against Black Americans gets moved further and further away from the history of the enslavement of African peoples owing to their mixing as so euphemistically phrased "voluntary and not".
People of the diaspora will rarely ever be "pure". The continent itself is not "pure". I think it's our responsibility as people of the diaspora to find ways to pay tribute and remember in respectful ways. Something that is not always easy to do with how images of the continent and represented in various media. Do I think Beyonce in collaboration with L'Officiel managed to do with this photo shoot? No. Do I think she has a right to represent the diaspora? Most definitely.
donna — February 24, 2011
Bit silly to have the darkened skin with the lightened hair, I think...
Eric — February 24, 2011
Beyoncé is born to an African-American father and a Creole mother; though this is not something I can confirm, her specific connection to Africa was likely cut by slave traders. So, to refer to her African roots is to fetishize this thing-called-Africa that Americans recognize, but is a fiction in our imaginations.
Well, then. You seem to be saying that since Beyoncé and her ancestors had their connection to Africa "cut" by slave traders, any attempt to explore or strengthen that severed connection is somehow not valid. Please explain the nature of the "cuts" that can permanently invalidate one's ancestry.
Am I misreading to conclude that you assert that all descendants of slaves have only artificial, "fetishizing" connections to Africa?
I'm not sure how I feel about the particular method of Beyoncé's exploration, but I certainly don't begrudge anyone asking questions about their own identity.
Cola — February 24, 2011
As an artist, I'm conflicted. I'm sensitive to acts of appropriation that erase real cultural differences between indigenous peoples, in part because of my Cherokee mother who raised me to be keenly aware of things like tribal identity and appropriation. At the same time, I find the look that they've achieved in this photo shoot extremely compelling. I would do her hair differently, but the way that her face blends down into a lighter body, with the striking blue and green accents highlighting her cheeks, is really, really beautiful.
I worry that the motivation for using someone like Beyoncé in a shoot like this is transparent tokenism: it's okay to do things like this if you're black. It's like saying that it's okay for a Mayan to play a Cherokee on screen because what's the difference? A lot of people don't think of my mother as NA because she's tall with fine features. It's the erasure of cultural difference that leads people to assume she's just a white woman with olive skin and black hair.
Anyway, I know that art can't be separated from its culture, but sometimes I wish it could... just because I like the pretty. :(
Simone Lovelace — February 24, 2011
Yeah, this just...doesn't make sense. I mean, if her connection to Africa is real enough to be worth exploring (which I sincerely believe it is), then she shouldn't need to change (the appearance of) her physical body to look "more African" for the shoot. That just...makes no sense.
And no. I don't think it's a betrayal of...well...anything really for a Black woman to have straight, light hair. But assuming (as is almost certainly true) that her natural hair is black or brown and has a curly texture, it would have made a *lot* more sense to go for a hairstyle or wig that looked a bit more like her natural hair than it does for her to blacken her face.
Not to mention the fact that her face is now significantly darker than her exposed chest, which just looks odd.
That being said, this post bothered me. It seemed to be faulting Beyonce for wanting to emphasize and connect with her African cultural heritage, rather than for this baffling display of "blackerface." And yeah, that feels pretty gross and wrong to me. I'll leave it for those who are a bit more knowledgeable about race issues to pick apart all the reasons it's wrong.
Jon — February 24, 2011
Some others have already addressed important concerns, so I’d like to add a few more.
First, you seem to make some generalizations about Africa despite your attempt to emphasize African heterogeneity. You begin by stating, “while we talk about ‘Africa’ as if it’s a meaningful word, we’re describing a land mass at best and, at worst, erasing the complexity of 15% of the world’s people”. But you then refer to Beyoncé’s “light skin and mixed history” as being “far more American than African”. Really? As you attempt to state in the beginning, Africa is a complex continent with a myriad of political, religious, cultural, historical, linguistic differences, and – yes, if you want to focus on this level – skin color differences. Contrary to what you suggest, someone with “light skin and mixed history” (which is subjective anyway) can very much be “African”. One need only to look to South Africa for some complex examples.
Second, you suggest that Beyoncé has little or no control over her portrayal by stating that “we dress them in “African” garb and paint their face black, because they’re just black enough/not black enough.” She appeared in the photo shoot and voluntarily agreed to certain aspects, so that suggests that she has at least some agency. Now whether she found some aspects of the shoot problematic, whether she genuinely felt this was a way to properly honor Fela Kuti, or whether she is just fetishizing “this thing-called-Africa that Americans recognize”, is really ultimately only for her to say.
Third, you state definitively that “Beyoncé is famous in part because U.S. audiences are more tolerant of light-skinned Blacks than dark-skinned Blacks”. I realize this is a blog and I understand the point you’re trying to make, but these types of declarative statements ultimately just reflect your opinion. Do you have evidence that Beyoncé’s fame and success is due in part to her “light skin color”? If so, include it. If not, then please avoid such language and preface statements with “in my opinion” or something similar.
Lori A — February 24, 2011
The commentary on this isn't up to its usual standards. Nothing about colorism within the American Black community? Nothing about first-world privilege? Can we at least get an acknowledgement that leopard print= Africa! is just about the dumbest thing ever?
Anonymous — February 24, 2011
“Beyoncé is famous in part because U.S. audiences are more tolerant of light-skinned Blacks than dark-skinned Blacks”
Geez, way to state your opinions as facts. I may not be a fan of Beyonce's music, but I find your assumption offensive.
Genau — February 24, 2011
On the one hand, it's easy to dismiss this as another instance of Beyonce trying to make a political statement and ending up somewhere out beyond the rightfield foul line (e.g. "If you liked it then you shoulda put a ring on it" intended as a feminist statement. Don't even get me started.). There's certainly a certain awkwardness in a person who plays up (as with the blonde hair) and benefits from light-skinned privilege trying on the other extreme.
However, the larger part of what's problematic with blackface portrayals is the degree to which they're a burlesque of black stereotypes from someone of greater privilege. That burlesque aspect of it doesn't seem to be present in this. How different would this discussion be if she had simply been posing in the African-inspired clothes pictured? What if it were a white woman posing in the same clothes, also sans dark makeup?
Anonymous — February 24, 2011
"So we have a situation in which slave traders ripped African people from their homes, landed them in the U.S., and erased their personal origins."
Someone needs a little history lesson. You see, the majority of slave traders did not "rip African people from their homes." That job, at least for the Alantic slave trade which you are referring too, was fueled by warring tribes in Africa who captured their enemies, brought them to the a large port city to trade with the honkies.
Renee Martin — February 24, 2011
I really find the title of this post offensive. What exactly do you mean is Beyonce black? What she did was a manifestation of internalized racism but it certainly does not justify her identity, especially when she identifies as Black. No one has the right to question the identity of another in this fashion.
Kip — February 24, 2011
Isn't it a little presumptuous to say "And then, in the year 2011, we dress them in 'African' garb and paint their face black"? Doesn't that make it sound like black people are not upon their own volition? That's an incredibly offensive statement. And when you say "their face" aren't you engaging the in the very act you're decrying: lumping a diverse group of people together?
KathyB — February 24, 2011
Why is this so hard to understand? Beyonce's skin was obviously lightened in magazine shoots, presumably to make her appear more white and therefore more reachable/less "other" for the majority of paying customers.
Now she's turning it around and darkening herself, VOLUNTARILY, in a fashion shoot.
Does no one else see how awesome and self-determined that is?
rhea d — February 24, 2011
I thought all the costumes were amazing, they're sort of an excellent example of deriving inspiration from a particular culture to a glamourous end, I mean they look African **inspired**, any artist or designer would go about it the same way, choose an inspiration, something beautiful, change it or use a different material to create something else that's beautiful or glam.
Three things: What still shows up the contrast between the black and Beyonce's natural skin.If her intention is to commemorate her roots, then it works as a statement. On the other hand, assuming she knows about the cultural history of Blackface, the contrast also works to set herself apart, otherwise, why the contrast and not the whole body? Perhaps that's where the points in the post come in about skin colour changing across generations (on the assumption African means dark). I don't think she's completely devoid of decision making on how she portrays herself.
Last, perhaps Blackface (entertainment, vaudeville, theatre) isn't a part of French cultural history as it is in America and is therefore not acknowledged as racist? If this is just a glam shot, and there wasn't intention to use any blackface, there's an artistic gradation that merges the two colours as it goes towards her chest.They didn't paint her lips a contrasting colour and the whole shebang, or may be they didn't want to make it obvious, either way, Beyonce or any American people ought have been able to make the connection. Intention or not, the point is that the whole shoot is African inspired, a it's a connection that's hard to miss.
Brings up something interesting though, if she's showing up the contrast by painting her face partly black, then she's trying to set herself apart. If she's going lighter, she's trying to alter herself to match the white aesthetic. Everything has to be seen as wanting to be more white. Perhaps she's seen as everything that's desirable in a black woman with none of the 'undesirable' bits?
Sue — February 25, 2011
It was in honor of Fela Kuti. Get over your racist ideas. You seem racist for hating on this and/or even noticing it.
theo — February 25, 2011
Is Beyonce Black?! Has Sociological Images stooped to using offensive post titles to increase clicks? Are you ever going to respond to all the very valid critiques offered in these comments? Are you afraid to admit you were wrong and maybe even apologize, Lisa?
Andrew — February 25, 2011
Statement from L'Officiel Paris:
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.
For a bit more perspective, this image appears in the mag - http://www.modelsandmoguls.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Beyonce-In-Blackface-For-L%E2%80%99Officiel-Paris.jpg
Grain of salt with the magazine's defense of the shoot, but I'm happy that they didn't apologize for it.
Clearly, she is not using the makeup to present as someone with a different natural skin tone, considering that the rest of her body is its natural hue. There are plenty of valid ways to criticize the photo on its artistic merits, but to suggest that Beyonce is trying to "pretend" she has darker skin is as inaccurate as it is offensive.
Lisa, as for your criticism, it's deplorable on a whole other level. A few ticks below, you feature a video criticizing the need for successful black artists to produce "marked art," ostensibly as a result of the white establishment's persistence in viewing our work solely through the lens of race. And yet look what you're doing here! A successful black artist expresses some aspect of her identity and inspiration through makeup, and you invoke racism and slavery (!) to attack it! Bravo...if Ahmadinejad hadn't just criticized Gaddafi for his attacks on protesters, I'd hand you the Hypocrisy of the Week prize.
Since you're clearly coming from a place of concern (however paternalistic), perhaps you, as a member of the white commentariat, can enlighten us light-skinned black artists as to how we are allowed to deal with our complicated heritage in our work, lest we accidentally disturb your stereotypes?
Syd — February 25, 2011
Once again, Lisa takes an interesting discussion on race and twists it around her own lack of knowledge on the subject, ultimately making it the most insulting thing ever. Black Americans are 'seen as white' in Africa? Where do you get that? No African person I know has ever deemed an African-American (or any other member of the African diaspora) 'white.' 'Cut' by slave traders? This is someone's heritage and LIFE, not a pound of cocaine. Why do you put 'African roots' in quotes, as if by not appearing as your stereotypical image of an African, she no longer lays claim to her own heritage? "We" paint "their" faces? "The rest of us?" Why are you so hell bent on claiming her as American if you can't even cut out this disgusting othering and infantilizing language? There are black people reading this blog. YOU did not paint Beyonce or any other black person. You don't know WHO painted Beyonce. All you've done is make it clear that you do NOT, under any circumstances, find black people, even if they're American, mixed, and ''not REALLY black lol" to be equals to yourself, or really "American."
"I don't even know" is right, Lisa. You DON'T know, and since you don't know, please STEP BACK, apologize for this mess, and think VERY carefully before making another post on this topic.
Anonymous — February 25, 2011
Lisa is fucking racist.
azizi — February 26, 2011
I'm disturbed by the last comment (to date) in this discussion. I'm also disturbed by Lisa's update. I've noticed on this blog that Lisa and the other moderator Gwen rarely write comments in their posts or in each others' posts, even if questions are directly asked of them. If this is indeed their practice or policy, I hope that they reconsider it.
Speaking for myself (the only person I can speak for), I don't know if Lisa is a racist. However, I believe that this post reveals that she either does not know much about the history and current attitudes and conditions of race in the United States & in the continent of Africa, or she purposely withheld that knowledge for the purpose of instigating a contentious discussion.
If Lisa knows about the history of race in the United States, she would know about the "one drop of black blood" rule that lumped all people of any Sub-Saharan African descent into a catch-all racial group that were formally called "Negroes", "Colored People", "Afro-Americans", and are now called "Black", "Black American", and
"African Americans" (although none of these referents necessarily mean the same thing to everyone at every point in time. "Black", "Black Americans", and "African Americans" have and still can an refer to people who are not the same populations as the retired since the 1970s formal referent "Negroes" or the currently largely accepted formal referent "African Americans").
If Lisa knows about the history of race in the United States, and if she wasn't trying to instigate, I think she would not have framed this entire discussion around Beyonce's racial identity, and she (Lisa) would not have distinguished between Beyonce's African American biological parent and her Creole biological parent. In this post, it seemed to me that Lisa assumed that Beyonce's Creole parent wasn't African American and that Beyonce's African American parent did not have any mixed racial ancestry. That is not an assumption that anyone who really knows the history of race in the United States would make-unless that person making that assumption was trying to be provocative for any number of reasons. Given colorism and the history of difficult relations between some people of Creole descent and people of darker African American descent, in my opinion, comments that distinguish between these two populations aren't helpful.
If Lisa knows the history of race in the United States and in the continent of Africa, and if Lisa does not have any negative motives for this post and for her update, I would think that she would have worded BOTH her post and her update differently. For instance, in her update, Lisa wrote that "Blackness and whiteness were invented over hundreds of years, and what counts as black varies across cultures, as do ideas about what races actually exist. What counts as black has also varied throughout American history." end of quote.
A more accurate statement is that the definition of Black AND the definition of White varies across cultures and has also varied throughout American history. For instance, are East Indians, and people of North Africa White or non-White? Are people native to Ireland, and Spain, and Greece and Portugal White or non-White? How has those definitions changed over time in the United States?
To be blunt without cursing, the United States has real messed up legal and social definitions of race. These definitions are themselves evidence of racism.
A person who has one White biological parent and one biological parent of another race should be able to indicate that she or he is White without regard to that person's skin color or other physical features. At this time, some White Americans can claim a little bit of Native American and/or Native Alaskan and/or Polynesian and/or Asian ancestry and still be publicly accepted as White. I wrote "some White Americans" because I think that this claim would be much less well received in areas of the United States were there are proportionally large numbers of Native Americans, or Native Alaskans etc. And I think that this acknowledgement of "non-White blood" would be better received in the United States (albeit often in an exoticism manner) from people who are considered to be celebrities. I believe that there will come a time in the United States when a person who is accepted as White by other people will be able to publicly acknowlege any Black ancestors he or she may have and still be considered White. I have read a few very recent comments online from some celebrities or other people who are considered to be White who have acknowledged a Black great grandmother or some other distant Black ancestor (Sorry. I can't remember who or on which site I read these). But these statements are exceptions to the "one drop of black blood" makes a person Black rule, and the concomittant rule that a person can not be a member of the Black race and a member of the White race, though that is also slowly changing.
I think that one important question is "What are we who want to see more expansive and less fixed definitions of race in this nation and other nations doing to promote such attitudes about race?" I commend Molly W for her 11:59 am on February 25, 2011 comment to this post which in part reads
"Yeah, but intent is beside the point. People in general have an obligation, I believe, to be more thoughtful when they’re doing something that bumps up against race/ethnicity/etc."
I still consider Lisa's post to be much less thoughtful than I think it should have been, and I hope that in the future Lisa will be much more thoughtful in her posts on race/ethnicity.
Gregstop — February 27, 2011
Is this an example of race being performed?
E — February 27, 2011
what I find most offensive is the Wikipedia definition of Creole in this post. Creole can mean a thousand different things, but it mainly denotes a person of African descent born in a French territory. It's like the French version of African-American. It can mean mixed-race or not necessarily mixed-raced.
also being light-skinned doesn't denote more white in their background than a dark-skinned person. genetics don't work like that.
XXX — March 1, 2011
The Sociological Images Game:
instructions - select one or more from numbers in applicable instance
No [perceived racial minority group] in the advertisement?
[Perceived racial minority group] in the advertisement?
2.NOT OPPRESSED LOOKING ENOUGH. RACIST
Toni Carter — April 3, 2011
Okay Beyonce' is Black whether anyone likes it or not and she has identified herself as Black woman numerous times. FYI her father is African-American and her mother is a Louisania Creole woman. She may be light skinned but she is still Black or African-American whatever you want to call it. Leave her alone gosh
ugh — May 26, 2011
a bunch of dark people complaining that she aint black just because she a little famous..anytime anything is ever good black people always try to discredit it. just because we black do we all gotta look like welsey snipes or some shit?
is beyonce black or white?
i dunno go back to 1864 and ask me again because i swear she'd be somebody's slave just like you and me
Liglas — August 5, 2011
lisa wade u are an asshole
LIGLAS — August 5, 2011
YOU DAMN ASSHOLE LISA WADE,,,, WHY CANT U JUST SAY UR OPINION THAN TRYING TO DEFINE THE NIGGA HOOD HERE................. WATCH YA MOUTH U SON OF BITCH
APGifts Gifts — December 16, 2011
Listed below are links to information on the topic
of the history of 'Race'; 'Mixed-Race', 'Interracial
Marriages / Relationships'' etc. found in the U.S.:
APGifts Gifts — January 3, 2012
--- There's No such thing as a "light-skinned black" person
-- The Black-And-White-World of 'Walter Plecker' & 'Naomi Drake'
-- How an act of 'Loving' destroyed a racist "rule"
Allpeople Gifts — February 18, 2012
CONTRARY TO the racist-'One-Drop Rule'-based
MYTH - the Black "race" does NOT "come in
ALL shades, colors, hues, tones or arrays".
It is Mixed-Race that "comes in ALL shades".
HERE ARE LINKS TO A FEW MORE
THOUGHTS ON THIS VERY TOPIC:
Trisha — May 26, 2012
Every white person there listen up beyonce is BLACK wheather you like it or not . Even if you think she is mixed race she is more black then she is WHITE so get your facts strait beyonce is black .the only reason she looks WHITE on some pictures is because she gets skin bleeched like michile jackson. WHO RUN THE WORLD BLACK. we have had our time 2 be slaves know its you white peoples tearn 2 be slaves you watch so get your white ass up and get to work.
myview — November 16, 2012
BEYONCE'S BLACKFACE IS ONLY AND SHOULD ONLY BE OFFENSIVE TO ALL THE BEAUTIFUL DARKSKINNED WOMEN WHO COULD HAVE MADE MONEY AND BEEN CHOSEN TO DO THAT SHOOT BECAUSE OF THEIR OWN NATURAL BEAUTY AND NATURALLY DARK SKIN THAT THE AD WAS OBVIOUSLY LOOKING FOR... UNLESS THEY WEREN'T ACTUALLY LOOKING TO SHOW THE BEAUTY OF DARKSKIN BUT RATHER TO MOCK THE DARK SKINNED SISTERS BY SAYING "A LIGHTSKINNED/MGM MIXED WOMAN CAN PORTRAY BEAUTY USING BLACK FACE BETTER THAN THOSE WHO ARE TRULY DARKSKINNED. JUST SAYIN. SHE WAS WAY OUTTA LINE FOR THAT! ALL THE UNPAID AND UNDEREMPLOYED BEAUTIFUL DARKSINNED ACTRESSES AND MODELS COULD OF HAD AN OPPORTUNITY THERE, ESPECIALLY SINCE THEY PRETEND THEY WANT TO SHOW THE BEAUTY OF DARKSKIN. IN REALITY IT'S JUST ANOTHER JAB AT THE DARK SKINNED SISTER. THE SAME OLD COLORISM AND MOCKERY OF BLACK FACE FROM TIMES OF OLD. I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH MIXED AND MGM MIXED PEOPLE APPRECIATING ALL OF THEIR CULTURES BUT IF YOU DO IT BE YOURSELF!!! DON'T LIGHTEN UP AND DON'T DARKEN UP!!! BECUASE WHEN YOU DO YOU STEAL OPPORTUNITY FROM OTHERS WHO ARE JUST AS WORTHY TO SHINE. I'M DONE... HERE COME THE HATERS... BET THEY WON';T READ THE ENTIRE POST BEFORE COMMENTING.
Green — February 22, 2013
Lisa, brilliant points on the social construction of race. power to you and the peaceful~
Htwn5440 — December 23, 2015
Skin tone doesn't determine how Black you are. Only genetics. Her dad is black and her mom is creole. She's black with mixed ancestry like 99% of blacks that descended from slavery.
Jovan Campbell — December 6, 2017
Look genetically Beyonce may be at most 20% European. Like me!.. But that 80% is black. Beyonce is black. She will tell you herself. NO ONE QUESTION ABOUT IT.
Justice White — February 3, 2018
Wow. Almost all black people are mixed with black/Native American/white! We all know this about ourselves.
I am creole and clearly identify as black. So I’ll start by explaining my mother’s side first.
My mother’s father is creole from Louisiana.. he was black/Native American/Jewish. My mother’s mother was also black/Native American/white. So both of my grandparents on my mother’s side are black/Native American/white (creole).
Now that I’ve explained what my grandparents are mixed with, I’m going to explain what my great grandparents are mixed with with..
My grandmother’s mom is Ruth and she’s also black/native American/white. Ruth’s dad was full blood Native American (Blackfoot Indian). Ruth’s mother was French (her mother was white) and father was a black slave. So my Indian great great grandfather and Black/white great great grandmother made Ruth, my great grandmother.
Now that I’ve explained my grandmother’s mother’s side, I will explain my grandmother’s father’s side.
My grandmother’s dad’s name was Charles. His mother Iyler was Irish/Native American/Black. I’m not sure what my great grandfathers father was completely but I do know some African descent and Native American.
So as you can see all of these people are technically creole.. we are yellow and brown, we are considered black and look like average black people.
I could keep going and going but each person is mixed with Native American/White/Black in my family. Whether it be both their parents are creole or it be that one of their parents are one of those things while the other is the other two. So all blacks don’t specifically identify with being creole but majority of us in America are mixed with Native American/black/white for obvious reasons.
Beyoncé isn’t bleaching; I get really light and dark also, that’s normal. White people arent the only people who have blonde hair it’s just that there’s more of you here and only 13% of us. Not only is the world more exposed to white people than of people of color but blonde hair is a lot more common on whites too. So I believe that there’s a lack of knowledge because everyone isn’t exposed to blacks all around the world.
My best friend in elementary was naturally blonde her name was Samera - both of her parents were black. There was also another black girl named Ashley who had naturally light blonde hair in elementary. I’ve gone to school with naturally red headed black people who had freckles. I’ve seen at least 4 of each on just here in Ohio. There’s also Melanesians who have dark skin and blonde Afros. So to say that Beyoncé is trying to be white is silly.
Beyoncé embraces her race/ethnicity. She is a good representation of a large amount of black people. It’s very rare for me to meet a black people who isn’t Native American/black/white. This only makes since when you consider American history.
86. Tot welk ras behoor ik? – Factotum — July 29, 2018
[…] Is Beyonce black? (Lisa Wade, Sociological Images) […]
suzy q — August 25, 2018
she is a negro wanna be white
Martha Louise — July 22, 2020
"Black or not",what does it matter?
It's what you've achieved, how you've contributed to the society. Beyoncé has made her fame through hardwork, besides she's obviously talented, beauty or not, if there's anything else involved, it's her business..
You dictating whether she's black or not wouldn't change who she is.
At the end of the day, it's her life, period.
Kitty — June 29, 2021
Wow ! Nothing like reading the back lash of feelings being hurt over an opinion . See what I don’t get is why is it the black Americans think only the meaning of the word racism is only factual when a black American is telling you what the word means. Now , I differently don’t have the grammar capability everyone here does so please forgive my spelling and grammar.
I’m trying to understand why peoples feelings over “ Lisa’s “ OPINIONS are so hurt . See in my mind I’m thinking while reading these comment is WTF ! Why is Lisa getting all this attention over her option on Beyoncé and lack of education on American history .
Let me ask do black Americans know everthing about the American white culture other then the greedy wealthy privileged racist a fact that most black Americans believe whites to be?
When did being ignorant become a crime ?
When do Americans that been on American soil for three hundred years black or white except they 100 percent American and stop claiming other countries as theirs? When will black and white Americans stop using racism for profit bullying and power domination because each and everyone of your words are benefiting in some form.
Do black and whites understand that whites know their privilege but they can’t see why they are privileged and that’s where the problem begins they aren’t able to see past the screaming that they get more when clearly whites have struggles no different then black.
People racism will never end if we don’t stop profiting and benefiting from racism Americans must put education first inner city schools must becfirst and I don’t mean teaching whites to hate themself that’s a benefit that is simply not in anyone’s favor I mean really let’s use common sense here , hate only ignites hate. I’m saying black children in inner city schools don’t have a choices to pick from by 6th grade the outdated books desk Atmosphere starts to weigh heavy on a six greater starts getting dark really dark they get up in the morning they have nowhere to go for safety not even for eight hours it’s disgusting but white people can’t see this and they can’t hear it either if you’re yelling about your hurt feelings because of Beyoncé and some Lisa who is ignorant an American history Beyoncé isn’t that important who cares what skin she wants to wear good for her she can pick and choose at the end of the day Beyoncé goes to bed a american gets up a american not African . Honestly when will blacks and white specially that been here for 3 hundred years admit that after 8 9 generations it’s time to let go hyphenated And be what we are american . Don’t waste time wondering the color focus on schools and cleaning up the white and black politicians that are corrupt