Poor Beyonce. She’s been put through a lot lately — and it’s all be done by her own wringing hands. Her Fake Baby Pregnancy meme won’t die. She’s been caught stealing from Bob Fosse. Now, her “Blackness” is being called into question — yet again! — by her own perverse sense of self and Racial identification.
We have wondered here in the past about the cultural constrictions we press into skin color, and a related and deeper issue is one of darker skin — Black skin in particular — and how it is socially demonized by negative, historical, intellectual and emotional touchstones associated with “Blackness.”
Take a look at the cover of Beyonce’s new album below. Is that her natural skin tone? Is that what her real nose looks like? Are her arms and legs that skinny? Why is she not comfortable in her own skin? Why is she publicly rebelling against her bones?
This isn’t the first time Beyonce has been caught trying to lighten her skin. Remember her L’Oreal advertising campaign in the Summer of 2008 when she allowed her Race to be changed?
Cosmetics company L’Oreal denied that it lightened Beyonce‘s skin tone for an ad — after gossip-site tmz.com posted comparison pictures of Knowles promoting Feria looking noticably paler and lighter than usual. “We highly value our relationship with Ms. Knowles. It is categorically untrue that L’Oreal Paris altered Ms. Knowles’ features or skin tone in the campaign for Feria hair color,” the Paris-based company said in a statement to the Associated Press.
On November 19, 2009, I wrote an article — The Unbearable Lightness of Sammy — that incredibly marked the strange change in baseball player Sammy Sosa’s skin color from dark to light:
We are left troubled and abandoned by Sammy Sosa’s want to be Whiter and we hope one day he will put down the creams and the chemicals and start to love himself by confessing his past bad behavior with drugs and baseball and then admitting that he ruined his legacy and any future Hall of Fame hope because of who he was and not what he looks like now.
We wonder what’s really going on with Beyonce. Does she hate herself so much that she must always push to change how she thinks we perceive her — and that we are so shallow that we only see her as a color and not a full-spectrum human being? All of her private lies and public shenanigans only damage her talent and leave us asking impenetrable questions about a sad mocking of a relative celebrity and the aftereffect it leaves on the young and impressionable who look up to a woman for Racial Imprinting and Human Validation and come away feeling barren and Whiter.
Two of the women in my office looked at the images in this article and could not believe that it was Beyonce. One of them saw the album cover and asked me if it was Lady Gaga. Quite scandalous. The other asked why she is trying to look like a white woman. Why indeed.
I can’t believe it’s her, either. I think that Beyonce album cover pose looks a lot like Rihanna’s writhing body angles in her videos. I tend to believe with these scandalous changes she’s making she hopes she’s being daring and bold like GaGa and Madonna — but have those two ever appeared on an album cover in Black Face?
They have not and would not — seems clear what the perception is of what is popular in this country and what is not, sadly.
That’s an excellent point, Gordon. I don’t think they’d dare. Race is still is big and uncomfortable issue in the USA.
The girl has lost her mind already, now she is losing her identity…. miss theose “Dreamgirls” days…
That’s right, Katha. Money and fame corrupts — and we’re seeing the evidence of that truth, in public, as Beyonce tries to shed her skin now that she has the power and clout to pull it off.