Recently, a disturbing amount of blackface has occurred in the fashion industry outside of Halloween, and the latest perpetrator is Jeanne Deroo, the beauty editor of Elle France. Over the weekend, she posted a photo to Instagram of herself wearing blackface and an afro wig, proving that she is an idiot.
To achieve her current position, Deroo is clearly a smart and successful woman, so it's mind-boggling that she would think it is acceptable to 1) commit this act of racism, and 2) share it with the world via Instagram (the photo has since been deleted). And no, the fact that Elle France just put French justice minister Christiane Taubira, a black woman, on its "Woman of the Year" cover does not excuse this atrocious behavior. Seriously, when the fuck is this going to end.
Sadly, it seems like every year there is a blackface fiasco when Halloween rolls around. There is no need to enforce the incorrect and dumb-ass mindset that blackface is okay by putting it in a magazine's pages. Nor should people in positions of power like Deroo, whose job it is to pick what is communicated to the masses as desirable, ever transmit the message that this bullshit is acceptable.
This is the second recent incident of fuckedness for Elle. Earlier this year, the magazine named "North Korea Chic" as a trend for fall 2013. Only recently did people notice this messed-up move. Seems like Elle and Hearst's publicists are working hard to earn their holiday bonuses.
Jeanne Deroo appears to have issued an apology, stating that she was at a party where the theme was "icons," and she chose to dress as Solange Knowles. She does appear to be contrite and acknowledges that she understands the seriousness of her actions. That being said, it is entirely possible to dress like your hero without resorting to blackface, mimicry, or any other form of racism/race-sampling.
Below is the full statment:
"I realise how much the fact of painting oneself brown is an offensive act. I didn’t realise the seriousness of my action when I went to a private party last Saturday evening, which the theme was 'Icons', and where I chose to embody Solange Knowles, of whom I am a fan. During this private party, I posted a picture of myself on my Instagram without intention of hurting anyone. I deeply regret and would like to present all my apologies. I would also like to indicate that this picture published in a private context does not involve in any way the french ELLE magazine I work for, and I am sorry for the prejudice it has caused."