All That Glitters

Illustration for article titled All That Glitters

[London, February 19. Image via Getty]

A model poses backstage at the Charlie Le Mindu fashion show during the first day of London Fashion Week, in London, on February 19, 2010. AFP PHOTO/Carl de Souza (Photo credit should read CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)


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See, we can look at this and say how pretty and avant-garde and artistic the make-up is, but if this were a white model, and there was a little less glitter, some of us would be tempted to call it blackface.

I think we have to be careful. Blackface is the assumption of appearance of black skin as a race, not simply black-painted skin. Ie, if models are painted pitch-black with sparkles and crazy hair, that does not consitute blackface in the way that that recent L'Homme magazine spread does - where a white model assumes blackface as a way of assuming a racial identity - with an afro and all. Painting the skin black, if possible without racial connotations, should not constitute 'blackface' in itself.

(Says the white girl with a penchant for creative makeup)