The Adulation and the Disappointment: A Seesaw Week for BeyoncéFebruary 9th, 2012
This week Beyoncé put Baby Blue Ivy down for a long nap, put on a fancy red dress and bejeweled heels, stepped outside of her Tribeca residence and went and gave the world what it has been waiting for since she announced she was pregnant: a peek at how a Beyoncé Knowles Carter looks one month after giving birth.The furor that erupted after seeing that she looks draw-droppingly unbelievable (when, of course, everyone likes to imply that brand new moms should look dumpy, pudgy and worn out) was such big news that you would have thought she did something more than sit at her husband’s club and attend a party. You would have thought she gave birth in that dress, then smoothed her hair and continued with the night like nothing major had happened.
But for all the fawning and praise, Beyoncé didn’t make everyone’s Best Of list this week. When TheGrio.com reported on a new L’Oreal ad with the star, it drew attention to a problem many had noticed. In the ad, which is for foundation, Beyonce says, “There’s a story behind my skin. It’s a mosaic of all the faces before it. My only make-up? True Match.” OK, fine…until we find out that this story behind her skin is that she is “African-American, Native American” and “French.” OK…sure…technically. Like almost all African-Americans, it is a safe guess that she is not 100% anything. Actually, like all Americans or people from places whose histories were transformed by the transatlantic slave trade, that is a safe bet. Yet, somehow, in a similar ad for Jennifer Lopez, she is “100% Puerto Rican,” as though white colonists and Africans forced into slavery had nothing to do with that island’s history.
This is not the first time Beyoncé’s skin has come under question. During the promotional ads and packaging for her last album, 4, she looked more like Columbian Shakira than African-American Beyonce. Magazine covers and beauty advertisements are no stranger to lightening her skin, and chances are it will happen again, no matter how many bloggers, consumers and other outraged people complain. Because as we know, whether she’s having a baby or attending a party, there is nothing Beyoncé can do that the world doesn’t feel entitled to talk about, dissect, applaud or lambast.