It seems that brands and corporations will never learn to avoid ‘blackface‘ even though companies are constantly called out and called into question for using it in fashion and beauty. Is it that they really don’t know about the offensive nature of blackface or are they intentionally drumming up controversy?
The latest brand to cook up blackface backlash is UK makeup brand Illamsqua, which posted the above ad on its Australian Facebook page. As you can imagine, the photo of the model wearing Black makeup and red lips led to a lot of complaints on the company’s Facebook and Pinterest pages. Illmasqua in turn pulled the ad and issued an apology:
We thank and acknowledge your comments regarding the above image. Obviously it was never our intention to cause offence; Illamasqua has always celebrated the right to self-expression and we continually push creative and artistic boundaries, priding ourselves on working with models of many ethnic backgrounds to reinforce this point. Alex Box, Illamasqua’s Creative Director, has emphasised that this campaign is about colour ON the skin, not colour OF the skin, depicting polarity between the two images (both images are the same model) not race.
In any case, apology or no apology, Illamsqua just got a little more recognition, but is it for the better?