Is it Okay to Wear Blackface For My Halloween Costume?

Your first thought upon reading that was probably one of the following: ‘Huh?’, ‘Isn’t it 2013?’ or ‘Why are we even still having this conversation?’ The answers are ‘yes, ‘yes’ and ‘I DON’T KNOW EITHER BUT SOME PEOPLE STILL THINK IT’S OKAY.’

First we had Julianne Hough and her very questionable Crazy Eyes costume. Then some geniuses thought it would be a good idea to incorporate blackface into their already awful Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman costumes. Then fashion’s finest decided it would be a cool idea to throw a ‘Disco Africa’ Halloween party incorporating copious amounts of black facepaint. It was also documented extensively on Instagram (search the #hallowood2013 hashtag for the whole racist enchilada).

Here’s the Italian designer Allesandro Dell’Acqua getting good and blackfaced while posing with Dolce & Gabbana’s Stefano Gabbana and fashion publicist Juan Fran Sierra:




And more from the same party:






Wow. Just… Wow.

For future reference, here’s what you should do when deciding whether or not to use blackface: First ask yourself, ‘Is blackface offensive?’ The answer will always be ‘yes’. Then ask yourself, ‘Should I do it anyway?’ If your answer is ‘yes’, you’re not dressing up as a black person for Halloween but dressing up as a racist for Halloween. If your answer is ‘no’ and your costume is half decent, you get the same effect with 0% of the racism. Here is the rule in picture form:

Conclusion: Blackface, never okay. Ever. Just don’t do it.

UPDATE: The organizers of the party have posted the following apology on Instagram:

marnau As the organizers of the fashion party “Hallowood Disco Africa”, we would like to sincerely apologize that this private party offended so many people. It was never our intention to do so. We had named the party “Disco Africa” to reflect the growing influence of Africa in the design and fashion world, not only as a growing market but also as the source of creative ideas. In retrospect, we clearly failed to think through the possible negative consequences and interpretations that might have resulted and appeared in both traditional and social media. These interpretations are all the more upsetting because most people in the fashion industry, from which we come, have always taken a strong stand against social discrimination whether on sexual, religious or racial grounds. Creative talent is what counts, not a person’s social, racial, religious or sexual background. We’re so sorry that we failed to make our position clear and gave the impression of racism. We are now much wiser and will do our very best to clarify our position in the future.
#hallowood2013 #discoafrica

Related links:
Numéro Puts a White Model in Blackface… Again
Numéro Photographer Responds to Blackface Controversy
Why is Beyoncé… In Blackface?

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