November 21, 2009

Tyra apologizes for "colorface"

Tyra Banks Apologizes Over Bi-Racial Episode of 'ANTM'

By Dana OliverTyra Banks apologized today if she offended anyone with the recent photo shoot featured on "America's Next Top Model" where contestants were painted in dark makeup to depict bi-racial women.

"I apologize because that was not my intent," said Banks."It's my number one passion in my life to stretch the definition of beauty. I listen to many heartbreaking stories of women who thought they would be happier if they looked different. I want every girl to appreciate the skin she's in."
And:In the shoot, models were made up to depict various racial and ethnic combinations, such as "Russian-Moroccan," "Native American-East Indian" and "Botswanan-Polynesian."

Banks said the goal was to create an editorial celebration of the "Hapa," the Hawaiian word and concept of mixed race. Coincidentally, two prominent fashion magazines--French Vogue and V--also recently featured white models painted in dark makeup.
Comment:  Here's an idea. Next time, use actual biracial models to celebrate biracial beauty. That way, you won't have to make-up people to be something they aren't. In other words, you won't have to perpetuate a century-plus of minstrel shows and old Western movies.

For more on the Tyra Banks controversy, see "Next Top Models" in Blackface and "Think Native" on America's Next Top Model. For more on the colorface issue, see "Colorface" Yesterday and Today and A Brief History of Redface.


jean said...

Well its about time. What took her so long?
Maybe Vogue should give celeb covers a little restand put a Native American beauty on the cover.Please no wanabes or lookalikes like Patricia Velaquez,Talisa Soto and Ali Macgraw(as much as I admire them).Come on US model scouts..broaden your horizons!There's potential right on your doorstep.

P.S. NO!Siberian or Mogolian models should not pass for Native American women.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing to apologize for. She tried something new for her photo art, and people like you, a white guy, have to tear down her hard work. Shame on you. I wouldn't want to see you at an art gallery; you'd probably tear down every little detail that wasn't there.

Rob said...

If there's nothing to apologize for, Anonymous, then why did Tyra apologize?

What does my being white have to do with it? I originally learned about this issue on Racialicious, a blog devoted to racial issues. Many people of color there objected to Tyra's scheme.

I "tear down" those who stereotype, mock, or offend Native people. If you, Tyra, and assorted art galleries don't like it, don't stereotype, mock, or offend Native people. It's just that simple.