Is anyone genuinely surprised by this recent L’Oreal Feria/Beyonce skin lightening advertising drama? I wasn’t. Not at all. This has happened to Beyonce before, after all. And I don’t get why so many people are blaming Beyonce — do celebrities get final approval on how they look in advertising? I’m inclined to think not, given everything I’ve read about stars getting upset about how their appearance was altered for print. Beyonce’s not a Photoshop pro who touches up her own pics. Just about every image you see in a magazine has been digitally retouched by a angel somewhere along the line.

Lighting is artfully manipulated to soften harsh lines or to brighten up skin tone. Colors are lightened or saturated to become more vibrant. Bodies are digitally altered to appear more svelte. Cosmetics advertisements are probably the worst offenders — the deception begins before the photographs are really taken. You didn’t believe that the eyelashes celebrities bat at the screen in just about any mascara ad on TV were real, did you? All fake, sad to say.

I guess I’m just jaded by the practice, and I don’t think it’s going to change. I see a photo like this Feria ad, where Bey is practically unrecognizable, and it makes me angry. Of course it does. But then my analytical side kicks in. Call me cynical, but I just see this as one of those cyclical beauty industry sins that only become controversial when it’s glaringly obvious. Respect to Jezebel and Racialicious for wading so deep into the issue, because sometimes I’m like — oh no, not again.

In order to effectively make a statement to the advertising industry that hey — Photoshopping in your skewed, ethnically exclusive perspective of beauty is not cool — consumers have to get to the point where they’re so angry that they boycott the brand, the magazines, everything. That never happens. A comment on that Racialicious thread summed it all up pretty well, IMO — Black Canseco, an industry insider who has a pretty cool blog of his own put the Photoshop whitewashing issue like this: “It’s simply part of the business; and the business does it because it sells; and it sells because the masses of folks prefer it/are comfortable with it/believe this is how it should be.

So now what?

Exactly. Does this kind of thing make you outraged? Do you believe consumers have the power to alter industry-wide practices? I’d love to hear from you all on this issue. Now what, indeed?

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Get Togetha. says:
August 8, 2008, 11:51 am
It does'nt make me outraged cause I don't look to Beyonce for beauty inspiration. I love her "shallow pool" dance music and I think she's a successful marketing gimmick. And that's as far as it goes. As for the lightening. I'm not surprised. And I'm gonna go ahead and put it out there. Lighter skin=more dollars. I won't go there for the countless examples that support this simple truth. Loreal just didn't know that they would get such reactions because they probably do this practice often with other contracted celebs. I don't think companies such as Loreal really understand the complexities of colorism within the black community. So unless Beyonce herself comes out and denouces this debacle of an ad. And you know chick ain't gonna do that.
Get Togetha. says:
August 8, 2008, 11:54 am
There will be a hush over Jerusalum if we're waiting for B to offer up an opinion. I would really like to hear from her.
Kweenie says:
August 8, 2008, 12:10 pm
She must of had a say in the final image. And she--like most celebs, black or white--probably didn't have a problem with it. When was the last time we heard a celeb complain because they were photoshopped on a magazine cover or in an ad to look thinner, blonder, more voluptuous, etc. etc...It's all the same thing. It's the rest of the public that sometimes gets upset when these stories get out-like they were lied to. I agree with the reader that said that whoever was in charge of this at L'oreal didn't give a second thought to race or how sensitive an issue this might be in the black community. They just thought they were making her look 'better'.
edessedesigns says:
August 8, 2008, 12:43 pm
The photoshop job does not bother me as much as the fact that she's wearing a weave while promoting hair products. Just like the Pantene ads, I did not know pantene had a weave hair care product line. It just seems like false adverstising--so false it's an absolute insult to our intelligence.
Haitianroots says:
August 8, 2008, 12:48 pm
i really don't understand why some people are trippin' over this add. Beyonce has another ad with l'oreal for some lipstick and she looks like herself there. if i recall, l'oreal has had quite a few sista's grace their ads, kerri washington, janine green, both looked "normal" theirs. i really believe it is the lighting in this ad in particular that brightens up Bey's skin. i have not met ms. beyonce personally, but i know some who have and they say witout a tan, this girl is pretty light, i mean, look at her momma. i think people are making a fuss just to make a fuss. now if this was a consistent thing that this company does (if it is please excuse my ignorance) then i could understand, but this? people please.
SisterSpeak Online says:
August 8, 2008, 12:49 pm
AfroBella: thank you so much for commenting on this issue. Like you, I am disappointed, but frankly not surprised. I doubt if Beyonce had any control whatsoever over the final image, and it's sad but predictable to see the mainstream beauty industry's perpetuation of a mythical, and frankly 'played out' beauty standard. This illusrates why I love the new generation of Black indie beauty artisans, designers, mags & e-zines who aren't afraid to represent, depict, and celebrate Black beauty in its natural, untouched, and gloriously beautiful state. We need to stop buying the brands that mis-represent and demean us, and throw our support and dollars behind those companies and brands that get it right!
honee says:
August 8, 2008, 12:54 pm
The only reason this is getting any reaction is because its Beyonce. People who dislike her who have always felt that she wants to be white just see this as proof in their theory. People who like her are outraged that someone at Loreal would think that her natural beauty wasn't enough to market the product. People who don't have an opinion on her are speaking to that fact that someone of her status doesn't have better control of her image. The fact of the matter is this is just internet b.s. How many of people are upset when Kerry Washington is lightened by Loreal to almost appear the color of a tanned Beyonce? How about when every dark-skinned black woman that appears on the cover of Essence always appears to be a very light browned hued woman? How many times have you heard a black woman comment when looking at a photo of dark skinned woman - "They messed her picture up...made her too dark." My point is that for most black people the colorism issue boils down to the perception of another black person (specifically black women because I do not hear this issue hardly ever anymore with the men) receiving some type of white priviilege and the reason this doesn't register for white companies or people is that a black person will never receive any form of white privilege. Back to Beyonce, this has been a career life story...whispers of her getting privilege because she was the lightest one in the group, she bleaches her skin, she wears her hair blonde to appear more why would she comment. What is there to denounce? Are we hoping that Beyonce leads us on a mission to do away with the Euroncentric beauty ideals? If we haven't acheived for ourselves in 500 years, I doubt Beyonce will accomplish it. The fact of the matter is this is a woman who's colouring changes dependent on the amount of sun or bronzers she is using(like myself) or the lighting/flash from the camera (like myself). There are candid pictures of Beyonce usually in the colder months that she appears the color in this ad or lighter. Did Loreal alter this photo? Yes, the bone structure is clearly altered and the hair looks as if it was placed on her face using photoshop. I don't even think this is a new picture but recycled and photoshopped to death to appear new. Sorry for the long post but I attempted to restrain myself from posting on the numerous blogs that have carried this story but I just couldn't hold it in any longer.
Ursula says:
August 8, 2008, 12:56 pm
Beyonce is not credible in these ads -- not because they have lightened her skin but because her hair is a weave. Seriously! Would any woman take hair beauty tips from a woman who is wearing a weave? I know I wouldn't!
Nakia says:
August 8, 2008, 1:00 pm
While i'm positive that she's been retouched (they've repositioned her eye and elongated her face) but I'm not sure she's been lightened...smoothed maybe, but not neccessarily lightened. On most of those haircolor boxes the models/actresses rarely have the actual haircolor shown on the box. The hair and/or color is added later. But I HAVE seen some really "bright" photos of Beyonce without the layers of foundation and bronzer and she is a very light skinned girl.And I've taken photos where the flash and overhead lighting combo have made me look two to three shades lighter (and the opposite sometimes too). The lighting in the first image on this page have that effect. But I'm NOT defending L'Oreal I know that the world standard of beauty still leans heavily toward white so L'Oreal is doing a really good job of trying to get everybody to buy this color. Beyonce is a better choice to put on a box than say...Kelly or Michelle, not because they are less popular, not because they would look hella foolish with blond hair, but because Beyonce is "safe". They have an image of a very BEIGE woman (retouched or not)on this box to appeal to white women who want to be blond as well as black women. BTW, I actually cut, pasted and edited this message before posting it because some of the most intelligent sisters post comments on this site and I do NOT want to be the exception. I love that I can come here and actually READ the comments and feel like people are really trying to make an intellectual point, and not just rant on like a bunch of ignorant children. Kudos to you all!
tg says:
August 8, 2008, 1:00 pm
I completely agree with how wrong it is for ad companies to completely manipulate the faces they use in their ads... celebs or not. For example, if anyone viewed the Wendy Williams TV Show when Omarosa was a guest, you will see that her picture on her book cover looks almost nothing like her in my opinion.
southernbella says:
August 8, 2008, 1:18 pm
As a former NYC record exec i will say that an artist and his/her representatives do get final approval on all written or photographic likeness. I'm sure we all know that she and her family have said they are of various ethnic descents.. and aren't considered african american, which is why they wear so much fake hair.. who really cares.. though she may not want to represent african american women.. we all know who she is..and we know that this product will not lighten our hair to a bright almost white blond..
Rich says:
August 8, 2008, 1:27 pm
This has been done for years.... Ever see Oprah with out the lights and make-up? (from prof. experience) Dark skin is technically difficult to light and hightlight in a proper way. However, I understand everyone's passion on this. On a side note, Afrobella can I get a comment from you on how to keep beads on my daughter's braids? I'll included my blog with has some background information. Thanks, Rich
Grace says:
August 8, 2008, 1:33 pm
Hm, isn't that funny though? She wasn't reppin all that creole/I'm not black bullshit when she was in the original Destiny's Child and her career depended on her representing black women. Seriously though, this gradual whitening has been going on for a really long time. I'm surprised people are just now taking notice. I love how everyone thinks she had no say in this ad...LOL yeah right.
RyanB says:
August 8, 2008, 2:15 pm
In my opinion, the reason why it's disturbing is because she IS a role model for young Black girls (maybe not you and me, but many others). Girls who will try to achieve the standard of beauty that she (and virtually every other mainstream media outlet) puts forth - the whitewashed one. says:
August 8, 2008, 2:29 pm
Hello there! I doubt that Beyonce had ANY APPROVAL of the ad's final "look". Beyonce is hired by L'Oreal!! She works for them... they DO NOT answer to Beyonce. They sign a contract stating that they understand that the photos will be "retouched as needed". They don't know WHAT "retouch" will mean making their skin four shades lighter. White ad companies change the skin and facial features of the models who are hired by the consumer product company ALL the time...they just don't realize that black consumers will react negatively to that if the person in the photo is black. L'Oreal lightened her skin and then denied they did it but it's a lie because they do not do their own ad work, their ad agency does! So they felt they were correct in saying THEY didn't lighten the photos of Beyonce! Well, the company they hired did! Therefore, they know they are responsible! L'Oreal wants the black market of lighter-skinned black women. That is the consumer market they are trying to win over in this ad. L'Oreal has never featured darker hued black womwen in their ads. NEVER. @ Edeseedesigns White women wear hair pieces in ads for hair products all the time? Even in those commercials! You think all those models have that thick hair? *LOL* Many of those white models are undernourished so SURELY you can't be grossly underweight and expect your hair to grow in nice and full! *LOL* @ Honee As for those who think Beyonce is trying to be white... not having children out of wedlock is wanting to be white... not speaking incorrectly and misprouncing words is wanting to be white... having two parents who got married before they started having babies is wanting to be white... being in a steady relationship with one man rather than being in the tabloids with a new man every week or in a sex video (like Paris) is wanting to be white... and I supposed Eryah Badu with her three children with three different men is an example of a "true" black woman? What does that say about your sense of moral systems in interpreting other black women? Having high standards for your life....having an education... is wanting to be white? Is Michelle Obama with her Ivy creds wanting to be white too... since she never uses Ebonics and her children do not speak English like Flavor Flav's children!! They all want to be white? says:
August 8, 2008, 2:30 pm
Sorry, that comment was long! I didn't realize until I just saw it onscreen...
Naturally DevaSTing says:
August 8, 2008, 2:39 pm
I may not work in music, but I've worked in TV and Film long enough to know that a star, of Beyonce's magnitude, will absolutely have final approval of all photos. If you've ever had a chance to see a client's contract, you will see that it is a painstakingly long and drawn out agreement that will delve into every minute detail from ad approval to detailed lists of what they want on set, also known as a "rider." The only artist I know who has gone public about an ad was Kate Winslett, when a particular magazine photoshopped her down from a healthy size 6-8 to a size 2. Artists who are conscious enough will make their objections known, or will at least pull back the facade, i.e. Oprah who always notes all the htings that go into taking a great picture, lighting, photographer, make-up etc..... To be honest, most white folks don't know about the colorism issues within the Black community, so they probably photoshopped under the guise of trying to make her look pretty rather than white. However, like most Bellas pointed out, I take greater issue with her promoting a hair products wearing a weave rather than her look in this ad
nolagirl says:
August 8, 2008, 2:52 pm
1. I think that Beyonce considers herself Black,Her mother likes to state that she is creole. its a southern thing let her have it. 2. Beyonce dyes her hair to match the weave, so her roots won't be as noticeable..... I think you can constantly rock yaki and still be on a commercial for hair dye. 3. Beyonce has been getting lighter since 1998. This was the focus of another blog a few months ago, she became a white woman for Jay Z two years ago ( hence looking like Shakira in the beautiful liar song - its was a joking blog) 4. This is so funny to me, a few years ago when Whoopi Goldberg was so upset that Ebony lighted her skin they said it was t o make her look better and no one but Whoopi seemed to care then. 5. I am dark, and I took family photos with my dark family the lighting the photographer used to “ enrich us” made me look 3 shades paler than I am….. if this was done to Beyonce then photo shopped on top of that she could easily appear as pale as her mother…. And I have seen Mrs. Knowles, but I’ve also seen her daddy. He is no ones pale, light bright….. yeah. 6. I love all these post! Bella you are on it!
nyc/caribbean ragazza says:
August 8, 2008, 3:02 pm
I work in Hollywood. There is NO WAY a star of Beyonce level doesn't have final approve of an ad campaign. Magazine covers, probably not but movie one sheets, promotional items for the movie, ad campaigns yes. I don't know why people are shocked about the ad. The girl has been wearing blond weaves for years and had a nose job to look more anglo. She was almost the same complexion as Shakira when they did a music video together. If you see the videos from the Bills, bills, bills era she looks very different.
honee says:
August 8, 2008, 3:07 pm
@blackwomenblow.... How does your comment relate to my comment? I mentioned none of the aspects at all you mentioned in your post? I think two or three posters here already have stated just what I said would be stated by black women...Beyonce wants to be white and they attribute that to the blond, straight weave and her varying degress of colour throughout the years (without taking into consideration other facts), her mother claiming her Louisiana Creole roots and the rumors surrounding her career. So I guess my sence of morals are in tack the way I'm a young, single black woman with no children out of wedlock(but I am the product of such a union...and my mother is a true example of strong educated black woman)with a doctorate degree and my sexual history/track record of men is spotless. I've always been an outspoken black woman in regards to race relations but my blackness has always been questioned...Why?...b/c I'm the color of Beyonce in that ad and when I choose to straigten my natural hair...I appear to be trying to be "white". Also, you may want to check your history on Loreal b/c despite the lightening of her Kerri Washington is very much a dark-skinned black women as well as Janine Green and others. I will agree with you that Beyonce had no say in that ad...there is a difference in a entertainer having a say in their cd artwork, video or a photoshoot here and there but Loreal is not giving Beyonce final say on there ad. I'll say it again this appears to just be an old add that they just photoshopped to appear new.
nichole says:
August 8, 2008, 3:14 pm
I'm not outraged but I am disappointed. Not a Beyonce but at the industry. Beyonce is a very talented young woman who appeals to many people and races. I'm sure a big part of why L'Oreal is using her as a spokesperson is to appeal to black women. With that, they should understand that not all black woman look like Beyonce or Halle. That's why I truly appreciate Cover Girl now (and use some of their products) because they stepped out and use Queen Latifah as their spokesperson. L'Oreal should make a statement.
edessedesigns says:
August 8, 2008, 3:16 pm
@blackwomenblow... It does not make it any less false to say white women do it too. I know that. It's still false advertising and I am still disturbed. However,t his thread is about beyonce.
Janelle says:
August 8, 2008, 3:25 pm
Is it me or did anyone think that her skin was lightened in the picture not to look "white" or "less black" but to saturate the color of the hair color that L'Oreal is selling??? They have her in a pale neutral muted colored top, washed out her skin either with lighting or Photoshop, all in an attempt to highlight the richness of the hair color. While I admit that at first I didn't even recognize her as Beyonce, the first thing my eye was drawn to in the ad is the vibrancy of the hair color. And I think that's L'Oreal's point - to sell a product. Call me naive, but I think it's all about selling a product, not selling us on the white is right mentality (at least not this time). If you look at all those hair product ads (especially those for hair color), everyone looks pale and washed out- white, black, hispanic, creole, other, whatever. The hair is the focal point, not the person hawking the product.
nyc/caribbean ragazza says:
August 8, 2008, 3:34 pm
L'oreal did make a statement. They said they didn't alter her looks. I wonder what young brown and dark sisters think about all the "role models" they are supposed to look up to. None who look like them. At least when I was coming up there were sisters of various complexions represented. Now it's a very, very narrow definition. Even Mary J. Blige had a nose job and is rocking the blond hair (yet her transformation doesn't bother me.. I guess because she still looks black). The whole thing is crazy.
SoFrolushes says:
August 8, 2008, 4:07 pm
woah it is getting heated in here my take on it is that Loreal has whitened beyonce before. I remember an ad where it had a pink background bey did not look the same. plus its in her contract about hair colour. hair dyes and bleaches are bad so why not use false hair though the whitening of beyonce skin in this ad makes her look ghostly imo. Can someone tell me why people refer to lighter skin or lightening as brightening and clearer skin? my aunty always described me as having clearer skin than my cousin who peeps said we looked alike. i have always been baffled by that
I'm gon' do the God-created me. says:
August 8, 2008, 4:07 pm
Not outraged, just seeing the truth for what it is. Loreal thinks supposedly "light is right". I don't need to buy their toxic potions anyway. When consumers take a major stand(worldwide) with their dollars maybe there will be a change. As far as Beyonce's influence, I don't know what is ever going to change that. Some people keep supporting her image.
I'm gon' do the God-created me. says:
August 8, 2008, 4:17 pm
My 9 yr old son just saw me viewing this blog and he ask me, Mommy, is that Beyonce? I said yes, that is her. He wondered if she had lightened herself. I just did not know what to say. I ask him, what picture do you think is prettier? He began to point and reply: Ene,meane,minne,mo. He pointed to the original or darker Beyonce. Why do you say that? I asked him. Do you know what he said? The lighter Beyonce is fake.
sho nuff says:
August 8, 2008, 4:20 pm
i'm with ya on the hair issue. how is a woman in a wig gonna tell me what hair products to use? i remember my mom used to talk about the neighborhood "kitchen" hairdresser....."i don't know why everybody goes over there and lets that bald headed woman do their hair, and then complain cause the head look like a cat sucked on it." i'm in my thirties so i missed most of the black pride movement. i don't remember a time when advertising and entertainment didn't tell me that it was better to be lighter. i even had a fourth grade teacher who told me i'd be prettier if i were just a little be lighter and my hair wasn't so nappy. jesus take the wheel.
August 8, 2008, 6:46 pm
I write L'Oreal an email asking them why in the world they would chose a women who has worn a weave everyday of her life to promote their hair care line. Honey, they still haven't replied to my email. Personal the only thing on Beyonce that looks lighter to me is her hair. If you look at pictures of her when she was in Dreamgirl she looks pretty light to me. How are we to know when this girl has a tan or when she doesn't? Beside I think most of the people who are tripping have never laid eye on Beyonce. I could go dig up a few photos of myself where I'm either lighter or darking then I am now.
Carol says:
August 8, 2008, 7:17 pm
"As for those who think Beyonce is trying to be white… not having children out of wedlock is wanting to be white… not speaking incorrectly and misprouncing words is wanting to be white… having two parents who got married before they started having babies is wanting to be white… being in a steady relationship with one man rather than being in the tabloids with a new man every week or in a sex video (like Paris) is wanting to be white… and I supposed Eryah Badu with her three children with three different men is an example of a “true” black woman? What does that say about your sense of moral systems in interpreting other black women? Having high standards for your life….having an education… is wanting to be white? Is Michelle Obama with her Ivy creds wanting to be white too… since she never uses Ebonics and her children do not speak English like Flavor Flav’s children!! They all want to be white?" blackwomenblowthetrumpet:What in the world does your post have to do with what honee said? It's completely irrelevant to the topic. We are talking about one asked for a Bil Cosbyesque rant. ______________________________________________________________________________________ I honestly am not surprised. Beyonce was MUCH darker in the 90s when she first came out, slowly but surely she became lighter and lighter...and obvious representation of this was in her "Ring The Alarm" video and the video she did with Shakira. I have a difficult time believing Beyonce is not privy to the drastic changes in skin color that has been going on..hell she watches her videos like the rest of us do! It's no secret that Black female celebs often undergo skin lightening treatments and even if one were to compare Beyonce's skin color from 98' to 08' a difference in skin color would be obvious. Bottom line, I think Beyonce has lightened her skin, and I also believe that she is aware of how much lighter she has began to appear in her videos. Also, I think that the "Beyonce wants to be white" idea is rather simplistic, many Black women claim to be proud of who they are while still wishing to be a few shades lighter. They don't equate wanting to be white with just wating to be lighter. Come on, let's not fool ourselves ladies, Beyonce is WELL respected as an entertainer so should we REALLY assume that Beyonce has NEVER had any say in how light she has gotten over the years? Come on. I know ya'll did a double take when you saw Beyonce looking pale with those mint greenish lookin' eyes in that Ring The Alarm video. Go dig around for your Destiny's Child This Is The Remix cd..homegirl doesn't even look that much lighter than Michelle... and her eyes are BROWN.
Michelle says:
August 8, 2008, 8:36 pm
The thing that concerns me is the message that really young girls get when they see this. Young girls look up to Beyonce and really want to be just like her. After all, B is a beautiful woman, and she is a beautiful woman on her own. However, when young girls see pictures of B, it typically manufactured beauty that they see and that is the beauty they want for themselves. We cannot expect B to take charge of all young girls out there. As the saying goes, that is not her job . . . she is an entertainer and it is not her responsibility to make sure that young girls understand that beauty really does start from within. However, if she should find the time, she could do what other entertainers and actresses have done and go public and say this is me, but me with a lot of tweaking (remember Jamie Lee Curtis on Oprah)? Perhaps L'Oreal would have a problem with her doing that, but she could also make the point to L'Oreal that people have a problem with them for false advertising.
Sumatra77 says:
August 8, 2008, 9:48 pm
I feel like I should be outraged, but I'm not. It's a clearly altered picture but there are so many other things to be outraged over, that a lighter Beyonce makes me shrug and move on. If there is someone gullible enough to think that their hair will come out long, straight and blond and they will automatically look like she does in that picture, then so be it. I look to women like Bella for inspiration: normal, natural, everyday women who just want to look and feel beautiful in our own skin without the manipulations and gimmicks. I don't think Bey should be obligated to speak out if she's not offended. She's making some good money and it may not bug her, just like the Vogue cover didn't bug Lebron James. It doesn't make it right, but beyond making a bunch of noise about it, being outraged really doesn't do much. says:
August 8, 2008, 11:39 pm
@ Honee Now that I have re-read the thread, I realize that you are right that my comments were directed at another commenters comments. A thousand apologies for not being more careful about addressing the correct person! Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS! Lisa
ceecee says:
August 9, 2008, 12:05 am
I'm with HaitianRoots on this one. I saw a candid pic of Bey about the same time I read up on this and I could almost swear she looked as light as the photo in this ad. The only notable difference that struck me was her dyed eyebrows and lighter brown pupils.
heartsandflowers says:
August 9, 2008, 1:31 am
I never understood why people refer to Beyonce as light. Alicia Keys is light. Mariah Carey is light. Beyonce is not light. I always felt that was part of her marketing to make her seem more desirable. She is brown. She might be a caramel-ish shade of brown in a Halle Berry/Paula Patton variety but that still makes her BLACK. I'd even say her mother is light - but she is NOT LIGHT. I could care less about her celebrity and thinks she takes herself way too seriously. This really pisses me off. Plus she stays in those blonde wigs 24/7, has had a nose job and other surgery I'm sure. It is also rumored that she takes pills to lighten her tone. So she is clearly not satisfied with herself even as being promoted as this standard of beauty that we should aspire to be like. I also understand women have undo pressure and even moreso for celebs but she is not innocent here.
TeMo says:
August 9, 2008, 4:27 am
For me the issue is simple. The image on the left is so much more beautiful than the image on the right.
Tyriq says:
August 9, 2008, 10:12 am
R.I.P Bernie Mac.
honee says:
August 9, 2008, 1:13 pm No problem.
b. says:
August 9, 2008, 2:53 pm
Ditto at Janelle and Sumatra77. Even the white models look ghastly pale in the hair dye ads. Why? To flaunt the hair color on their heads (fake hair notwithstanding). Do I *like* the ad? No. She looks unwell and, like the commenter's post above noted, fake. As to why she insists on lightening her skin and wearing wigs, well, she's going to be herself. I think it's a shame if some young lady looks up to her without any regard to the falsehood of her looks. At that point, some mom or aunt should play interference and help their daughter/niece/whomever see the reality of beauty. Blogs like this one are read by younger women I'm sure, and it's dialogue like this that will help many young women see what beauty is and what it's not. And call me cynical, but Bey has never been the pinnacle of beauty to me. She's the beauty stereotype and she's doing her thing (big ups to all her hard work) but I glance over and keep going...moreso now than ever.
jopj says:
August 9, 2008, 8:54 pm
Its marketing. If it doesnt sell, it wouldnt prevail
BlueCornMoon says:
August 9, 2008, 9:07 pm
White folks are indeed aware of colorism in our community.THEY STARTED IT DURING SLAVERY by selecting light skinned offspring of slaves & masters to give perks to:good education,better treatment,& the idea they were superior to darker people.They also got a higher price when they were sold! I grew up in the 50's & 60's & it was common knowledge that white folks feel more comfy around people who resemble them.They think they're nature's default setting & everyone else has to meet their beauty standards. Ebony mag ( Michelle Obama on front) has an article on the lack of black models in shows. Check out the female news anchors;most are light. Ted Koppel even did a story about this on Nightline a few years ago.Look at the black women & kids on most TV & magazine ads & in the infamous music videos. The "light & curly" look. A subliminal message purposely sent out to all dark women & girls "your skin & hair just don't make it". I'm an elementary teacher & believe me I see the results of this in class when kids hurl insults based on hair texture & skin color.Girls with bad perms & too tight extensions which make their edges bald, all trying to get "the look". Granted many girls aren't into color wars any more but too many still are. And to add insult to injury OUR BOYS & MEN ALL TOO OFTEN OPENLY PREFER LIGHT SKIN & LONG HAIR. Check out these sites:,94432,.shtml
HighJive says:
August 9, 2008, 10:56 pm
Hello. I have a slightly different take on this. I don’t think L’Oréal lightened Beyoncé via Photoshop. If I’m wrong, I’ll be the first to get on your boycott bandwagon. You’re cordially invited to read my perspective and comment. Thank you.
BlueCornMoon says:
August 10, 2008, 2:37 pm
BlueCornMoon says:
August 10, 2008, 4:19 pm
I read your response & agree with lighting, etc. I also know that ALL models/celebrities wear false hair, different makeup colors, weaves,extensions, etc. I'm brown skinned & my school photos appear lighter or darker depending on what company took the photos. However when I read your response this sentence stood out : L’Oréal is working with White beauty standards. Hence, they failed to foresee the damage this campaign has generated. Beyoncé looked just fine to L’Oréal—and she still does.” That’s my point. This issue has popped up before. Back in ’94 after OJ Simpson was arrested he was featured on the covers of Time & Newsweek. : Time made him darker & there was a big outcry because we all know that light = good, intelligent & dark= bad , evil. Dark skinned black men get harsher prison sentences. Light skinned blacks get job preferences . You can bet that somewhere along the line it’s gonna come up in the Obama campaign. This especially hurts black women. In the Tv & magazine ads the men/boys can be ANY color but the girls/women are almost always “light & curly” .There’s a big subliminal push, using visual images, to denigrate & devalue all dark skinned people, esp blacks & black women. They show light skinned Latinos, Middle Easterners,Southeast Asians & East Indians in travel ads & the populations are actually brown skinned & many are darker than African Americans. I’m over 50 & it’s ALWAYS been that way & many blacks & other dark people have internalized it & thus learn to despise themselves & start looking for European types to represent them. That’s why so many black men like light women. Many very dark girls & women develop nasty personalities & negative behaviors. In Philadelphia there used to be a dark skinned girl gang in the 60’s & 70s that specialized in attacking light skinned girls or any girls with long hair.
BlueCornMoon says:
August 10, 2008, 4:20 pm
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to take up for & reassure dark students who felt inferior or stupid because they’d been subjected to colorism. I teach music & can recall times when there’d be a music question of some sort & WHITES WOULD ASK A LIGHT SKINNED PERSON FOR THE ANSWER INSTEAD OF ME, EVEN IF THAT WAS NOT THE LIGHT PERSON’S FIELD & THEY KNEW NOTHING ABOUT IT. Like I said before, whites, esp those in charge, think they are nature’s default & skin color goes with intelligence. It’s so ingrained that they do this AUTOMATICALLY. People can get over this nonsense if positive dark role models are seen. Dr. King, Bill Cosby, Whoopie Goldberg, Oprah, Samuel L Jackson, Michelle Obama & the late Bernie Mac are all dark skinned but popular. Many of my students are NOT into colorism. It has to be TAUGHT to keep the bigoted status quo alive. We need to face this as a people & stop letting it kill us & our kids. Hurray for Tyra Banks having Alek Wek on her show
J.Adia says:
August 12, 2008, 1:38 pm
I am not surprised by this ad. I never saw Beyonce as light-skinned, but as lighter than the other members. It's not like the girl would have passed for white. I think the entertainment industry will always promote a European aesthetic. Many black actresses have had their noses altered. The work is subtle and less obvious now so many nose jobs go unnoticed. In regards to Beyonce's skin tone in this ad, it just looks artificial. Something's not right and I believe she's been altered. Beyonce is a pretty woman and a good entertainer, but like the fist poster said she's a marketing gimmick that I don't look to for beauty inspiration.
Colbie says:
August 12, 2008, 5:30 pm
This is a dang shame. Not only did they lighten her up so she barely looks black, but they have her with some beach blond hair. This really is a slap in the face that the executives dont think that black is beautiful enough to sell their products, so they make her light. Its already a shame that people think that way, but then they act on it too? And what did the Loreal execs think Beyonce's reaction would be?
Kelis says:
August 13, 2008, 3:40 pm
The people commenting on this are absoulutely ridiculous! There are more important issues to discuss than if Beyonce is trying to be white or they lightened her skin. What if they did? Who really cares? Last time I checked its her business and she didn't ask to be a role model to your kids. You should be role models to your own kids. Leave the girl alone and let her be. I am so tired of jealous sisters saying she said she isn't black or she wants to be white. Whatever she wants to be is her business. (Note: I am not light skinned) What she does has nothing to do with me or anyone on this blog so mind your business and take care of your home and get out of hers.
coco_fiere says:
August 13, 2008, 6:20 pm
It's remarkable to notice how much of an uproar this has caused because it's Beyonce. It tickles me how many people, who have never met Ms. Knowles (Carter), seem to know what she thinks, what private things she may have done to herself and what she is trying to represent. Amazing! The ads with Eva Longoria showcase her extensions/weave and false eyelashes to sell the mascara and hair color and Beyonce wearing a weave is no different. Most models and celebs wear weaves to protect their natural hair from the damage that frequent,extreme styling does to it. Gabrielle Union wears a weave and Kerry Washington has worn one for roles and appearances. So what? Did you get this upset when our own Oscar winner JHud clearly had about 20 lbs shaved off her album cover? Do you insist she had "final approval" and should have told them no? The colorism-induced self-hatred makes a lot of our sisters hate on one of our own and it's ridiculous. Beyonce is a light-skinned woman with a lot of influence. Rihanna is a light-skinned woman with growing influence. Halle and Latifah are medium-complected women with influence. Kerry and Gabrielle are darker-complected women with influence. They are models and their bankable faces get people to buy stuff--period. We should be proud of them all and not insist that THEY are "trying to convince us what to buy and what to use" because they are just faces for the companies who are trying to convince you what to buy and use. Do you really think Hillary Swank only wears Insolence perfume because she's in the ad? Do you think Eva Longoria uses Feria or Preference when Ken Paves does her hair? Chill and focus your anger and vile for the right target....L'Oreal and the ad agency they used. Peace
flygyrl72 says:
August 14, 2008, 1:16 am
Yo.... I like Beyonce. She's pretty & she's a good performer...but, Beyonce is TOTALLY COMMERCIAL. It is what it is. I don't look to that chick for any inspiration style or fashion-wise & certainly not sista-wise. Although, she finally got on my radar by looking flawless in Dreamgirls... Yeah, she looks a little different in these ads, but I don't think she looks all that different from how she usually looks...artificial. She is a talented performer though, & I always thought she was the best dancer in Destiny's Child. In that "No, No, No" video w/ Wyclef, she was the only one puttin it down, droppin it like it was hot...LOL... But, to Kelis...she's a public figure, she puts it out there for the public, so therefore, public gotta right to comment. I don't necessarily think that folks is just plain hating on her, saying that she wants to be White (anyone that has ever heard that chick talk knows for damn sure she's not trying to be White, she has never lost her sister drawl, never...I sometimes used to cringe when I heard her talk, now I appreciate that she doesn't go outta her way to tighten up on her pronunciations & get all nasal , she's articulate, but she keeps it real) Man, I just wish L-Boogie hadn't of went crazy (she'll be back), then she woulda represented for all us boho sexy natural chocolate (or not so chocolate) about fly ass
Ms. Bar B. says:
August 15, 2008, 4:51 pm
As I am a relatively new reader of this blog I thought this post was interesting enough to aid me in a final paper on the effects of images in pop culture, so thanks Afrobella. In addition to that I would just like to say that I just received my latest issue of Essence (which has the Obama fam on the cover) and this L'oreal ad is featured. Let me report that in this ad the photo is in the right tones for both B's skintone and the hair color. I'm not sure what happened with the photo that we have here. Perhaps this was one that was touched up too much or perhaps after the attention L'oreal decided that they should present B as she originally is. Who knows? Also, there have been other celebs who have questioned the way that their photos have been presented in ads: Mary J Blige for a cover of Essence that she didn't like (I think it was Essence), and Queen Latifah was upset that pounds were taken off her body in ads for the Chicago movie. But anyhoo... Just wanted to say thanks again for giving me an image to work with =).
Ms. Bar B. says:
August 15, 2008, 5:22 pm
Oh yeah, you can check out the link below for a comparison of the photo from the ad in Essence and the one that has been circulating.
Cheli says:
August 17, 2008, 2:28 pm
has anyone asked themselves why beyonce is getting paid to advertise hair when hers is not of the real variety?
LV says:
August 17, 2008, 9:16 pm
I also noticed this as in the new issue of Essence, but I also noticed the House of Deréon ad a few pages away where Beyonce is almost the same color as she is in the L'Oreal ad. So you can't get mad at L'Oreal for doing what everyone else is doing, you have to attack the industry as a whole.
Nandi says:
August 18, 2008, 2:18 pm
Sure wish to heck they would have done that, lighten us up, for us with those darn school pictures!!!
Dido says:
January 5, 2012, 3:25 am
I am really surprised to read SILLY coments which say "no, she is not trying to be white"... WTF??? Are you blind? Or just too proud to admit it? Then, it is just out of random that she appears with paler skin, paler eyes, and European-colored hair? That we NEVER see her with her natural black hair and black eyes? That she never wears blue or green wigs instead of those European colors? OF COURSE, she's 'whitening' herself!!! What she says matters not, what she DOES is the truth. And many other Black celebs do the same. This is whitewashing, and the many who say that it's her business must not have children. Or they don't care if our society and silly beauty standards tells them that they are "too dark to be pretty". :( And this is spreading all over the world: in India, Japan, Brazil, one must look pale or 'whiten' himself/herself to be regarded as pretty (even if this is obviously a lie: non-white people with fake white feature ARE NOT beautiful, they look artificial). Some turn themselves in extra-terrestrials: look at Beyonce or Tyra Banks, they looks abnormal with these fake european colors. We are told they look better but this is quite the opposite. On the scarce pictures of them with black hair and eyes, they look definitly better. Since beauty is what most people are after, putting a race criteria in it IS dangerous. Some make stupid comparisions with make-up or clothes...but NO ONE is born with clothes of make-up, so all women begin with the very same basis. Or is one race in this world born with mascara??? x_x Whereas this whitewashing tells us that our VERY RACE makes us pretty or not. According to what you were born with: too bad if you have dark skin, black hair and eyes...great, if you have something else, such as brown eyes (rather scarce, most are jet-black) and a paler complexion. We're told that we look ugly, and that the same will go for our children and grand children. Unless they accept to erase their racial features... :( :( :( In doubt? Take a look at a VERY INTERESTING documentary, called "the modern racist paradigm". You can find it on Google videos. If some don't mind being told that their race is ugly, fine: they are free to think so. But I cannot accept that. And more and more people like me are aware of this nonsense. So thanks, Bella, for this post which might help some blind (or jealous?) people understand what is really at stakes here. I must add one thing: I am white, and as you can see, I do not promote my own type of beauty. It is the opposite in fact: I would like every people on Earth to be accepted for their own breauty style, which cannot be the same for people of different origins and skin tone.


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