Last night, the girls packed their bags and went to Hawai'i, where their skin was darkened for a "biracial people" shoot. To get them into character, Tyra offered inspiration: "Think about the people in Egypt and what they've been through!"
Guess who was the inspiration for the shoot? President Obama. Because they were in Hawai'i, Tyra wanted to do a shoot inspired by "the world's most famous hapa."
This isn't the first time that ANTM has done blackface—or had a confusing, high-concept approach to cultural awareness. For a photoshoot back in Cycle 4, the girls were each assigned a race different from their own that they were supposed to embody for a Got Milk? ad, while also holding a child. Brittany was made to be African-American.
Tatiana was "biracial."
Noelle, who is biracial in real life, was made to be "African".
Naima, who is a mix of several different ethnicities, was made to be Swedish.
And back in Cycle 2, for a shoot in which the girls had to each portray a different famous person, Xiomara was given dark makeup in order to pose as Grace Jones. I remember that she was wearing a thong, and when she got off the wall she was leaning on, she had left two distinct butt marks from her makeup. I'm sad that I can't find a picture of that anywhere.
And just when we're starting to believe all of Tyra's hype that all shapes, sizes and colors are beautiful—and eligible to compete for a useless title on this show—we learn that being short still sucks.