Blackface in the spotlight

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Blackface in the spotlight

Justin Lipscomb, Staff Writer

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For decades blackface has been off limits when it came to the public eye.

But the blinders have been lifted since an old yearbook page of current Virginia Governor Ralph Northam surfaced with one photograph showing a person in blackface and another in KKK garb. Since then Northam has been pressured, but has refused, to resign.

Then there’s the fashion world, where blackface seems to be making a comeback.

One example: the world-renowned brand Gucci, the Italian luxury brand of fashion and leather. Recently NBC news reported Gucci’s online shopped had just recently dropped a new turtle neck sweater that you can pull over lips, the sweater is black but there is a whole around the lips to move freely but the color around the lips is red.

Looks like blackface.

If anyone knows anything about blackface and how it looks, starting in the late 1800s white people would depict black people as big lips cartoonish looking characters, big eyes, red lips and gaping teeth.

With current events, African Americans were outraged all over and started to use the same “cancelled” as they did during the super bowl which is just a term for boycotting.

From prior knowledge it seemed like African American film director Spike Lee was the first to be outraged and let the picture surface and voiced his concern, anger and disappointment in the clothing brand.

“I, Spike Lee of Sound Mind and Body will no longer wear Prada or Gucci until they hire some black designers,” Lee posted on the social media app Instagram.

Since then Gucci has sent out an official apology and has pulled the sweater from both stores and online stores as well.

Alessandro Michele, Gucci’s creative director stated, “The fact that, contrarily to my intentions, that turtle-neck jumper evoked a racist imagery causes me the greatest grief.”

Although Michele has issued an apology people all over social media, many, including some famous celebrities, were not having it at all.

Even back in December Prada was also under fire for figurine key chains of black monkeys with huge red lips had social media in a tizzy fit as well, and a well-deserved fit at that.

Going back to a little more recently just a few days ago, the pop star Katy Perry had to pull her designer high heels from the market because they were also criticized for blackface.

The heels depict an all black shoe with big blue eyes, triangle gold nose, and big red lips. Despite that the shoe came out last summer and the shoe wasn’t only put out in black but also blue, gold, nude, pink, graphite, red and silver, people were still outrage as to how closely it represented to blackface.

Katy Perry’s representative said that the face was more geared towards modern art and surrealism.

“I was saddened when it was brought to my attention that it was being compared to painful images reminiscent of blackface,” Perry said. “Our intention was never to inflict any pain.” Going back to Gucci, celebrities such as Spike Lee and rapper T.I said that he would also join the movement to band Prada and Gucci but also said that black people should start looking towards buying more black owned business products.

And more on the Gucci situation, professional boxer and millionaire Floyd Mayweather was recently spotted heading into the Gucci store when tabloids ran to interview him of course being an African American male after all the controversy.

Mayweather speaks on why he doesn’t care, he’s not a follower, he likes the brand and will continue to shop there. Now

Mayweather and famous rapper/actor 50 Cent are known as not the best of friends with their rivalry over social media. 50 Cent was found on Instagram using a lighter to burn a Gucci t-shirt and prompted Floyd should not be taken seriously as he is not a advocate and voice for black people.