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blacking up is back September 23, 2006

Posted by Winter in media, race matters.

Via The FWord.

Gosh, look at that hot, pouting African chick on the cover of The Independent! She looks pretty good doesn’t she? You know, considering all the AIDs and there not being enough food out there, she looks almost as good as a wester….. wait …. hang on a minute, that’s no hot African chick, that’s Kate Moss all blacked up with her face digitially altered.

What the Hell did The Independent think it was doing with this image? Is it supposed to be shocking, ironic, subversive? How unbelievably, racist, patronising and appropriative, not to mention objectifying. Kate doesn’t even look like a real live woman in this shot; she looks like a statue. Did they really think this pciture would make people engage with the issue seriously? Are they trying to “sex” up the plight of African women by using a model who’s image is so highly sexualised?

And this isn’t an isolated incident. Blacking up has been creeping back for a while. See Hannah Pool’s piece in the Guardian and Stroppyblog for a longer discussion.

Stop press: Via Bitch Lab here some more from Helen Kolawade.



1. Louisefeminista - September 24, 2006

Thanx for linking to the post at Stroppy.

I was appalled by the actions of The Indie and their utter stupidity. At Stroppy we had some choice comments which really exposes peoples lack of political understanding of why blacking up is racist. When “entertainers” do it aint funny just offensive…

I also used a pic of Angela Davis to advertise the post as I wanted to show a strong, dymanic and influential Black woman.

2. Winter - September 24, 2006

You can’t black up innocently because the action has such long racist history.

I’m sure they could have found a high profile African woman, but no, they went for the quick publicity grabbing shot.

What I find particularly offensive is the suggestion that Kate Moss identifies with/is identified with the problems African women face when she’s such an icon of western wealth and consumerisim.

3. Winter - September 25, 2006

But, as Lizzy at literary hoax points out, of course they wouldn’t use an African woman because this feature is really all about the west saving the poor Africans.

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