Many a mainstream media outlet has fallen prey to trying to claim long-standing Black fashion traditions as their trend of the season, but one medium you won’t see mentioned in that mix is PopSugar. Learning from the failings of its predecessors like Allure and Elle Canada, the fashion site decided transparency is the best policy when earlier this week it told its readers flat-out: don’t even think about trying to walk out the house in African tribal makeup just because we talked about it.
And the church of Black said Amen.
Brinton Parker gets the credit in this case for her feature: 9 Tribal Makeup Tutorials That Honor the Beauty of African Culture. Following a short intro paragraph shouting out the YouTube gurus responsible for these glorious tutorials, she warned:
Whether you want to adapt these traditional makeup methods for everyday wear (like this Instagrammer does so beautifully!) or simply need to perfect your face-painting skills for a celebration, let these gorgeous women teach you. And remember, it’s important to respect others’ backgrounds without erring on the side of cultural appropriation — if your heritage is not African, it’s possible to learn from and appreciate these culturally significant makeup looks without donning them yourself.
In other words: White girls, chill on running out to Sephora to get white paint pots and start dotting your face up before work. Now whether Parker and PopSugar really care about the concept of black beauty in the way we do and their anti-appropriating featurette is genuine is certainly up for debate. By by the lack of backlash received, we can deduce that the purpose plainly stated in their headline was achieved: honor. Take note sister sites.