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OTRC: Beyonce under fire for wearing blackface in fashion shoot

Beyonce Knowles on ABC's 'The View' November 22, 2010. (ABC)

Beyoncé is under fire for appearing in blackface in a recent photoshoot she did for the 90th anniversary edition March issue of French magazine L'Officiel Paris.

The magazine was "paying homage to the African queens through the ages," in particular Nigerian musician/activist Fela Kuti, who also influenced Beyonce's upcoming album.

The magazine said in a statement that the shoot was meant to symbolize a return of Beyoncé to "her African roots."

The singer appeared in many outfits for the shoot, with and without having her skin darkened. Editors of the magazine issued a statement, defending the shoot.

"She agreed to pose for an incredible fashion shoot, with the theme of African Queen," the magazine said in a statement, as reported by Time magazine. "Far from the glamorous Sasha Fierce, the beauty posed for the magazine with amazing fashion designers clothes, but also in a dress created by her mother. [It is] A return to her African roots, as you can see on the picture, on which her face was voluntarily darkened."

Several online sources took offense to the shoot, mentioning the degrading history of American minstrels, others believed that art should be held to different standards. A writer at Salon.com wondered why people were fussed over the photoshoot when Beyonce accepted millions of dollars to perform in front of Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi's son.

"We're all so busy debating whether or not it's racist to think Beyoncé darkening her face is racist that we've ignored the fact that the singer and her husband have twice now taken large sums of money from the family of a dictator who is currently killing off protesters in his country," journalist Drew Grant wrote on Salon.com. "Beyoncé doesn't have to apologize for her L'Officiel shoot. But she should be donating some of that $2 million back to organizations helping people in the Mideast."

Do you think Beyoncé's blackface makeup is racist?

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