L’Officiel Paris March 2011 Spread

by Coco + Creme

click on image to view gallery

Ever since images from Beyone’s photo shoot for L’Officiel Paris’s March 2011 spread leaked, many have debated whether the fashion industry has gone too far. The choice to darken the singer’s face for a Fela Kuti inspired shoot — titled African Queen — left a sour taste on the palate of even the most discerning fashion aficionados. Others argue that people are being too sensitive and praise the work of photographer Mark Pillai.  

Now that the official images are out, what do you think of the controversial spread? High fashion or highly offensive?

  • http://www.abarbiedefined.com kearea’

    you never see a dark skin actress in any movies or on television. even on networks that cater to african americans. they’ll cast a darkskin brother before a dark skin female. im glad beyonce allowed the makeup team to make her appear darker. i think it raises awareness to everyone that the world is not ffull of only black women that look like beyonce. kudos to her and the photographer

  • Lena

    So Beyonce can’t be dark skinned or it will cause some people will go into a FRENZY???? Really?!?! I guess some people forgot she is BLACK! Ridiculous.

  • CB

    It’s beautiful, what is the problem…I’d rather see a woman of color do this. It would have better to see a DARK model do the spread, maybe an African model, but Bey is international so hey it’s beautiful

  • Tara

    I’m not really offended by it. But I agree on using a model with darker skin would have worked better overall. Maybe an Alek Wek, Iman, or even a crazy Naomi Campbell. Besides, that the pictures are nice.

  • Tara

    Also, darkening her skin kind of seems unnecessary. That picture would look better with her natural skin tone in my opinion.

  • MissLeticia

    I don’t see a problem with this

  • kal

    where are the new 6 full articles each monday on the top page like clutchmagazine.com. its been over 2 weeks cocoandcreme!! i need my C+C fix. updated pronto.

  • keke

    There are so many things wrong with this photo shoot.

    If French Vogue wanted to do a photo shoot paying homage to Fela Kuti and/or “african queens” (french vogue statement: http://jezebel.com/#!5769433/french-magazine-beyonces-makeup-inspired-by-african-rituals) then there was no need to take any pictures with with darker skin tones.

    They could have used AFRICAN MODELS instead of relying on the name recognition and media press of beyonce.

    Also, I am so sick and tired of eurocentric fashion designers relying on the same old images and stereotypes to represent black or in this case “african culture” (and treat Africa as though it is a country and not a continent). We see tribal prints, shells, animal prints, beading, elaborate head gear and this is all in an effort to further acknowledge the impact that “african culture” has on fashion; that is so lazy.

    Also i find it curious that in an attempt to emphasize the influence of “african culture” on the fashion world, they neglected to showcase any AFRICAN designers. We get designs from Gucci, Pucci, Fendi, Tina Knowles and a host of others but no actual African fashion designers. I know for sure that African fashion designers exist, but once again the fashion world is stuck in its own eurocentric bubble to venture out and spotlight such artists.

    So we get blackface by one of the most recognizable black stars in the world, stereotypical clothing and accessories as an attempt to acknowledge “african culture”, paint on her face as an attempt to showcase tribal rituals, NO african models, and NO african fashion designers…..

    uggh, this is gross and so typical

  • esmagnifique

    What really disgusts me is how people can’t see what is wrong with it. Yes everyone is entitled to their own opinion but just because you donit see the issue with this spread doesn’t mean you have to belittle those and deemed us “overly sensitive” who do. This is MY personal issue with this spread.

    1. What the hell does this spread have to do with Fela Kuti? Yes he is a legend, but let’s not forget that he was a Nigerian man. Nigeria is a country located in the continent of Africa. This spread is just another way of overly simplifying the beauty that is African people (beads, headpiece, dark skin, really though?)

    2. Beyonce, like many light skinned women, have been deemed the face of all black women, so the beauty of out African diaspora is hardly ever shown. Think I’m joking? Look in some of these fashion magazines and when they given tips for dark skin, Ive seen Halle Berry, Kerri Washington, Chanel Iman, Eve…….guess Gabrielle Union has lost her trophy as FACE OF ALL DARK SKINNED WOMEN.

    3. If this was the look they were going for, why not just get a dark skinned model? They didn’t even cover her whole body. Hmmm I wonder why.

  • esmagnifique

    The only reason Bey is in this spread is because she’s safe. They can 1/4 dip her in chocolate but she can wash it off in order to appeal to an “international” audience. I’m no Beyonce hater nor am I a stan, I just can’t congralute this just because it’s her. Hell, I’m sick of seeing dark skinned high fashion models playing these same roles. And is looked like she recycling her “Survivor” video outfit. Nothing creative about this.

  • Mindy

    Keke I do have to agree with you for the most part. It does seem strange that while they say that they are paying homage to African culture and fashion there are no African designers present. But I do disagree with the comment about using an “African Model”, I get what you mean but we all originate from the motherland in some way, shape, or form so I don’t think you should totally discredit Beyonce’s African heritage because she is also an American.

  • http://coco&creme CAH

    I personally do not see anything “African” about this photo. What I see is a light skinned celebrity partially painted in brown goo with a hat on her head that reminds me of the type of pilot’s hat Amelia Earhart would have worn. And what is the point of the dark brown goo paint anyway? What message is she (they) trying to convey? I stared at this photo for several minutes waiting for it to speak to me and I got nothing…

  • Zanele

    Sorry, Mindy, but you Black-Americans need to drop the “African” tag from your vocabularies and get a life! You are NOT Africans anymore. Your “heritage” and all of which you speak should now be attributed to your Urban American culture! I can put money on it that you could not name the 53 nations of Africa or speak even one of her 8000 identified languages (these are the ones that have been classified according to Western linguisicts) let alone the thousands more which have yet to be discovered and classified, or prove that you were BORN and RAISED in Africa like Oluchi, Benvinda, (African models) or myself (an African). Beyonce should go home and lay tribute to her American and Creole roots. Leave us to pay tribute to ours – we actually KNOW the difference! (Clearly, you don’t sound like you do.) Americans and the West should stop exploiting the visual elements of us as Africans for profit and work on creating something authentic and inclusive of their own continent. Keke is right – this fashion inspiration – is LAZY!

    And as for the other idiots commenting on here with such ignorance as to suggest that ALL Africans are lighter than ALL western black people and the likes, as well as those who are so wilfully apathetic to understand why this exploitation is offensive, no comment.

  • Jenroses

    Beyonce Looks Stunning In These Pictures

  • Kudzai

    I think it is wrong to typify all africans as very dark, we all know that africans come in every shade, from white to black and so I have a problem with the black face culture. It is interesting that on TV we never see the darker toned blacks but in the fashion world they are all the rage, and if they are not available we just paint them black literally. Beyonce has just insulted the whole african continent, even more so because she is black and should be more sensitive to that.

  • Sugar Brown Tan

    Beyonce sells.
    Beyonce’s safe.
    Actual black skin, unwanted.
    Game over.

  • Jaz

    @Zenele – You sound ignorant and very condescending. Whether in Africa or born there, our heritage is of African Descent, so therefore WE ARE AFRICANS, just in America. To be African has nothing to do with knowing all the languages, nations, cultures, customs, and anything of the like. It has EVERYTHING to do with being from or having descendants Africa and nothing more and nothing less. Get off your high a** horse, This is why American Africans and Native Africans can’t get along. At the end of the day we’re all called n***** and we’re all in this fight together. Sit down.

  • Tiffany W.

    You sound angry, Zanele.

    But in the great words of Paul Mooney, “Naw, you got it twisted. We’re mad at you. We waited, and no one came for us!!!”

  • Melinda

    Well said,Sugar Brown Tan.

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