Last night was quite an interesting night for Blackface in that, I fielded mock outrage or feigned righteous indignation over the name I decided upon for this business. I call it mock outrage because there are things, much more egregious instances of blatant racism, bigotry, and questionable antics, that require righteous indignation and the name a Black woman chooses for her company is not one of them. In fact, to be upset over the name and have that outrage fade away after a few rants tickles me just a bit. When I am up in arms over a subject, I am spurred into activism. What I got was my Instagram account reported, though there are no offensive pictures on it, and a makeshift history lesson, (only with two bachelor’s degrees, they could have spared their time because I’ve definitely familiarized myself with my history.)
I fully understand the history of blackface1, which is why I chose the name. I did not and do not appreciate black people being made a mockery of and do not appreciate that it persists to this. But I wake up every morning and love myself and the skin into which I was born which was one message I was trying to convey. When I put on my makeup, I am smearing NC45 on my face and blending it into my beautiful brown skin and the transformation begins. Originally, performers in Blackface did so to mock African Americans and to portray a character. By naming this business Blackface Makeup Artistry, I am engaging in reclamation because I am not a minstrel character; this is my face, my body, my life, and my passion.
One of the byproducts of introducing the country and, by extension, the world to African Americans through stereotype is the cultural appropriation that followed and persists, (think Miley Cyrus with her gold teeth and twerking or the need some have to tan until they require darker foundation.) These are things that I do not appreciate.
But again, I am a chocolate girl from a multi ethnic, mixed-race family raised not to hate others and to stand up for my beliefs. Be offended when someone actually performs in blackface, be offended when people of color are ridiculed and stereotyped, be offended when people of color are openly mocked and then we see that which has been mocked appropriated and uplifted on others, be offended when discrimination is actually happening, or be offended when a racial slur is used like it’s a greeting, but being offended when a pun perfectly attributable to a woman of color is used is ludicrous and I can’t entertain it.
I absolutely abhor the fact that I had to address such foolishness, but I love my clients and love my models. For those that have come to the site with open eyes to see that there is absolutely nothing offensive about it, I appreciate you!
- “Blackface.” Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 31 Mar. 2014. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/blackface>.