Haute Couture Or Haute Mess? Why Balmain’s Black Blackface Models Were A Shameful Miss For Me

"Black beauty in all its shades and glory deserves its time in the spotlight and not covered in blackface."

Photo Credit: Peter White/Getty Images

| January 28 2019,

7:22 pm

It was a normal Wednesday for me. I went to work, I sent a few emails and gleefully sprinted to lunch at noon. I scrolled through Instagram as I munched on salmon and airfried Brussels sprouts. My timeline consisted of the usual random mix of shirtless men, ads of insta girls in body-con two-piece sets, fashion and abstract art.

In my vigilant scrolling, I spotted a beautiful haute couture collection by Olivier Rousteing for French fashion house Balmain. I immediately clicked over to Balmain's Insta story. While marveling at Duckie Thot’s beauty, I came across a clip of model Cindy Bruna getting her makeup done for the show. Cindy’s Bruna, a fair-skinned fashion model, was being painted with Black makeup, which contrasted to the ivory dress she donned on the catwalk. Moments after seeing the blackface, I froze in confusion. How could a designer like Olivier Rousteing, who is half black, let this happen?

We all know the world of fashion has lacked the needed diversity for ages. It’s commonplace for Black models to be missing in action during Paris Fashion Week. Furthermore, with so few Black fashion designers being taken seriously, why would a person of color allow something like this? How can one fight for diversity and inclusion then perpetuate this age-old issue? There are plenty of models like Alek Wek, Khoudia Diop, Ebonee Davis and countless others who have beautiful Black skin.

It’s unfortunate that in today’s world blackface is still used to be trendy. With Black representation in fashion at a low, I challenge artists, designers and creatives to put an end to blackface. Black beauty in all its shades and glory deserves its time in the spotlight and not covered in blackface.

Blavitize your inbox! Join our daily newsletter for fresh stories and breaking news.