To promote some kind of holiday sales promotion with a hashtag, the cosmetics company Illamasqua apparently decided the best thing to do was to produce this charming image of a model in blackface.
The photograph appeared on the Facebook page of Illamasqua Australia (of course) last night and was swiftly criticized by commenters.
Click to enlarge the full image. You know, I am notably uninterested in splitting hairs over blackface, or in parsing which of the many examples of blackface the fashion and advertising industries have served us in recent years is truly the "most offensive." They're all terrible! But it bears pointing out that this one hews particularly closely to its source material. Not only has the model's skin been darkened with makeup, her lips have been exaggerated with pink lipstick — like a minstrel show performer from the 19th Century. And the top hat and bow tie is looking very Bert Williams. All told, this is some pretty blackface-y blackface. It looks exactly like the kind of blackface ad you'd make if all your blackface reference images were of actual, historical blackface.
Illamasqua has yet to comment on the image.
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