Today in Entertainment, Kim Kardashian has landed herself in some hot water with her most recent business venture. Her new line of beauty products, titled KKW Beauty, launched this week and was heralded by a series of promotional photos in which Kardashian appears to be wearing — wait for it — blackface.
Black Twitter, the capitol of black celeb gossip and urban news, instantly took note of the photos and lambasted the reality star, questioning the choice, the marketing team, and the celebrity?s sanity. After that, the celebrity gossip blogs weren’t far behind (there’s a reason celebrity gossip is a $3 billion dollar industry).
The photos themselves show Kardashian with her skin remarkably darker than normal. Many thought the photographs might have been artificially darkened. But Kardashian denies any wrongdoing, saying to the Daily Telegraph perhaps “the contrast was off.”
In an interview with the New York Times, Kardashian said ?I would obviously never want to offend anyone. I used an amazing photographer and a team of people,” she said. “I was really tan when we shot the images, and it might be that the contrast was off. But I showed the image to many people, too many in the business. No one brought that to our attention. No one mentioned it.”
This is hardly the first time Kardashian has been in trouble for being insensitive to people of color. You might remember the champagne incident from 2014, when Kardashian posed for a picture, emulating a pose from Jean-Paul Goude?s book Jungle Fever, a collection of photos in which he places women of color in hypersexualized, eerily inhuman poses and situations. Goude was the photographer behind Kardashian’s shot as well.
And this isn’t the first Kardashian incident of this nature, either. Other incidents have occurred as well, often related to the appropriation of black hairstyles and fashion staples. At one point, Kim even sparked an outrage on some celebrity gossip sites after a photo op where the star was wearing a Burqa back in 2011.
Given Kardashian’s continual missteps with people of color and other marginalized communities, the question arises: at what point do ignorance and not meaning to be offensive no longer cut it as excuses for appropriation and racial insensitivity? Given the enormous amount of attention and visibility Kardashian enjoys, how long can the public excuse her continued ignorance of what is and is not acceptable?
Despite this latest controversy, the makeup line has been remarkably successful, selling out of the light and medium shades of her contour/highlighting kit within minutes of the product launch. It was only a matter of hours before both dark and deep dark sold out as well.
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