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October 14th, 2009
06:15 AM ET

Art 'offending' life – Is blackface ever okay?

French Vogue magazine is famous for pushing the fashion envelope.

A photo spread in this month's edition has triggered outrage in Europe and the U.S. over a white model posing in blackface.

Is it high-fashion or just highly offensive?

So what do you think – Is blackface ever okay?

Filed under: Controversy
soundoff (145 Responses)
  1. martin gagne

    As CNN mention, it is not the first time a people try to show himself as a color people. More than that, you must understand a certain thing; French vogue magazine do NOT make any politics!!! Is that simple enough? Don't try to make a storm in a glass of water.

    October 14, 2009 at 9:10 am |
  2. Fran Shattuck

    Regarding the Model with the tinted skin........please, how can you not feel that this model is depicting anything else but a color to create a striking look. Do we question the geisha and why they paint their faces white? The Mimes? The Blue Man Group?

    C'mon, you are insulting everyone here..... It is pretty obvious when someone is slamming someone, and this is not it.

    October 14, 2009 at 9:07 am |
  3. Cody

    In japan there is a whole fashion culture called ganguro which translates in to "black face" Nothing they do or dress up as is an imitation of dark skinned races.

    October 14, 2009 at 9:06 am |
  4. Scott

    Hey, You failed to mention the new "White Voices" Blog........ come on Jason..... no comment? No reply?...... yeah, that's what I thought.
    Jason, I would like to hear your own response. Is having a "Black Voices" Blog but no "White Voices" Blog offensive?

    October 14, 2009 at 9:06 am |
  5. Lisa

    To me, this is offensive. This just blows using the "blackface" off the map. How will black America react to this? Some aren't offended and some are. So, does this mean the "N" word is ok? Nothing is ok and it offends me to the fullest. How would Latinos feel if America depicted them as black America has been depicted over the years. This goes for all races. How would each race feel?

    October 14, 2009 at 9:05 am |
  6. rick

    white voices arent allowed to be heard anymore, Scott. That is the way it is now, our kids are being taught to be ashamed to be white in our schools, and that they owe everyone else. I believe the playing field is equal as it can get and my kids dont owe anyone anything except to be decent and fair to them and do as well as you can.

    October 14, 2009 at 9:04 am |
  7. Chris

    I'm both African American and American Indian and unil you can walk in my shoes justify your comments. This offensive to me and my family. Maybe you like it, it's your right. But because something wrong was done in the past I'm suppose to pretend like everything is OK you my friend live tunnel vision world. No matter what your race, don't be late for your rally.

    October 14, 2009 at 9:04 am |
  8. Michelle

    I personally find this offensive – the greatest issue is the fact that there are actual black models that could have been used, additionally, the practice is historically offensive. Perhaps when black models are painted white and replace the white models that dominate the runways and magazines then this could be seen as 'art' vs. prejudice and racism. The insult is greater given the whites only top model list.

    October 14, 2009 at 9:03 am |
  9. Jean Hayes

    My thought on the white face painted black: Suppose Ebony Magazine featured a black model on their cover and then with the model's face painted white. Just imagine the outrage if this would happen.

    October 14, 2009 at 9:03 am |
  10. Steve Bowles

    Sounds like a lot of people need to lighten up. Sheezo people! Find something of substance to be outraged over, say this healthcare catastrophe maybe.

    October 14, 2009 at 9:02 am |
  11. Tawnya

    The regal and proud Krewe Of Zulu parades in black face every year on Mardi Gras day. Black and white participants use black face as part of their costumes.

    October 14, 2009 at 9:01 am |
  12. mike-sey

    Get over it. These are startling fashion photographic studies in contrast. Like the UNited Colours of Beneton campaign they are eye-catching and a little bit shocking. They are in a French publication for a European audience (market). France is not the USA. Not everything is about the USA, and everything should not be interpreted in an American context.

    Look at the military use of camouflage or war paint and then ask the question about acceptability!

    October 14, 2009 at 9:01 am |
  13. Rodney

    What about black people making movies with white faces. Shouldn't white people feel offended about whith chicks played by 2 black male actor. That should have been offensive. By the way I'm black.

    October 14, 2009 at 9:00 am |
  14. Jason

    Didn't the Wayan brother's have a movie called, "White Chicks" where they dressed up as rich white twin women from the Hamptons? I thought it was funny. . .

    October 14, 2009 at 9:00 am |
  15. john

    Michael Jackson did white face. Ok. no problem with me

    October 14, 2009 at 8:59 am |
  16. rick

    the picture looked very tasteful and ckassy to me

    October 14, 2009 at 8:59 am |
  17. rick

    whats the big deal? its not racist to have a movie called white girls and poke fun and insult the whole time? whats the equality in that?

    October 14, 2009 at 8:58 am |
  18. Arnout

    The U.S. has got an unique history when it comes to race issues. The sensitivity here is different than in other countries. But also in the U.S. each person has got his or her individual view on topics like this. Some people do feel offended, others are not. That's why it's important to try to express our own feelings and try to understand the feelings and views of others.

    October 14, 2009 at 8:56 am |
  19. Walid in Toronto

    When we find ourselves in the presence of situations or things that have not been explained to us or are not self-explanatory, our brain automatically tries to make sense of them. These internal interpretations are based on our personal insecurities/strengths/weaknesses and past experiences.

    What if the artist behind the picture is saying "Black is so beautiful that even white wants to imitate it" ??

    October 14, 2009 at 8:53 am |
  20. Scott

    I want to hear how those you "Air" calling this a racial slap justify blacks such as Waylen brothers, Eddie Murphy and Dave Chappel doing the EXACT SAME THING is NOT racial ????

    October 14, 2009 at 8:51 am |
  21. Lucius Dechausay (Toronto)

    Asking if blackface is ever okay is like asking if Anti-Semitism is ever ok? Aside from French Vogue, which a number of eyes in North America wouldn't have seen if not for this controversy, examples have been popping up on television as well. Both Mad Men and Weeds have had characters dawn black face this season. Using a technique born out of racial segregation, discrimination and humiliation to sell a few magazines or shock viewers is not ground breaking it's regressive and not where I thought we'd be this many decades after Birth of a Nation.

    October 14, 2009 at 8:44 am |
  22. Deidra Deanne

    I'm so blown away by people who are dismissing this! True homosexuals are being treated unfairly, true Jews and Italians are treated unfairly...True White Chicks and Tropic Thunder were movies that reversed this role, true this doesn't display all of the garb worn in traditional blackface costume. The point is, that mockery is ugly and this magazine in sadly lacking in black models and it's just tacky and irresponsible to say that instread of getting a black model, we'll just put the white ones in brown makeup and it'll be beautiful!! The story we were asked to comment on today is about French Vogue's shoot. Why are people making light of this just because there are other injustices out there? If the story were about Gays or Jews or any other group, I would comment accordingly. French Vogue has refused to comment so that only leaves us to question why? If there's nothing to hide and this is completely innocent, there should be no reason that they can't enlighten us.

    October 14, 2009 at 8:27 am |
  23. Scott

    I also see that CNN has a blog for "Black Voices". This greatly offends me!!! WHERE'S THE "WHITE VOICES" BLOG ???? HHMMMM, dare you put this on the air........ yeah, that's what I thought.

    October 14, 2009 at 8:25 am |
  24. Virginia Robertson

    I am black, this picture shows how beautiful we really are. Whites stay is the sun trying to get brown skin...wake up black people, they have being telling us for years that they want to look like us. Stop burning your skin and be happy with what God has given you, we know black is beautiful.

    October 14, 2009 at 8:23 am |
  25. Scott

    I find it most interesting that this is causing such an uproar. Where was the media when movies like "White Chicks" and "White men can"t jump" were on the scene? Afican Americans have been making fun of white culture for years and since the election of President Obama all doors should be open. African Americans have been represented by the NAACP since forever. What group represnts whites?? Boy would that cause an big stink!!! (NAAWP). I also find it interesting you interviewed the coordinator of BET (Black Entertainment Television), but failed to interview the counter-part at WET.... oh that's right theres no such thing allowed!!!

    October 14, 2009 at 8:21 am |
  26. Ronald Gordon

    The US created blackface and as an exporter of pop culture distributed this and other racist ideas to the world. In fact, in broadcast medias the US continues to export stale stereotyped versions of blacks to the world.
    If you want the view of blacks to change, then distribute the ideas of black equality as vigorously as you distributed the notion of black inferiority.

    October 14, 2009 at 8:21 am |
  27. lauren

    Whoa....I just remembered something. In one season of America's Next Top Model, one of the African American contestants was "blackfaced" to portray Grace Jones (the challenge was portraying various American icons – Cycle 2, 2004). So French Vogue isn't really pushing the envelope, it's just recycling it.

    October 14, 2009 at 8:21 am |
  28. Kimberly Young

    "Black-face" in French Vogue? The French have always different, however are there not any beautiful black women in France?
    There are beautiful black women all over the world & there not enough black women models, but there are thousands of young pretty black women who would love to get out of their situations in say Nigeria where there is electricity "sometimes" during the day...maybe. I am a white woman and I think it was an insult to the many many beautiful black women who would have loved to make the money that young French girl made during that shoot.

    October 14, 2009 at 8:21 am |
  29. William Walker

    Before we get our knickers in a bind ,remember when Eddie Murphy used dress up in "white face" and emulate the speech of a white person on SNL. Black stand-up "comics" use very distasteful comments about white people. Racism is not a white franchise....racism is rampant among the black community. Let's be fair!!!!!

    October 14, 2009 at 8:20 am |
  30. Jeff Bienenfeld

    Vogue's photos are not a vaudeville caricature, but a celebration of the beauty in black skin. It is bronzer taken to the next level. If we are closer to the point where skin color is a fashion statement, rather than a way to judge a person, that is a good thing.

    October 14, 2009 at 8:19 am |
  31. jim vicalvi

    The next thing that wil be banned will be suntan lotion and people will have to go to the beach fully clothed like they did earlier in the century.It seems to some people that the color of ones skin isn't the only difference between people. The thickness of ones skin is also a problem.

    October 14, 2009 at 8:19 am |
  32. Marcus

    I do not find it overtly offensive, but sorry most will find it offensive. There are so many models that are African, African-American, Cuban, etc. that they could have used to be black in the ad. For a magazine that has supported so many black models lately, so why even go in blackface when you have so many to choose from that you have used recently. For that reason, I see it as offensive.

    October 14, 2009 at 8:19 am |
  33. Virginia Robertson

    Hello, I am a black woman this article did not offend me. Black is beautiful no matter who is wearing it. Some black women for years have tried to look white by putting products on their hair to make it straight and colors that is made for whites. So why are we offended by this, we are never happy with ourselves and when someone shows how beautiful our skin color is, we get upset. One of my white friends told me that she wish her skin color was like mine. Come on Black People we have some thing that whites wished they had, why do you think they stay in the sun, its because brown is beautiful!!!!

    October 14, 2009 at 8:15 am |
  34. george wong

    Why is this so different than the movie "White Chicks" (2004) by the Wayan brothers who are black guys playing white women? Women are also considered by some and have historically been an oppressed group?

    October 14, 2009 at 8:15 am |
  35. Tony

    @ Chris

    So because previous generations of society held a barbaric view of race for a long time, black actors are entitled to offend any race without criticism? If you think you have it bad, trying finding an American Indian to ask them how they feel about racial equality.

    October 14, 2009 at 8:13 am |
  36. I support Health Care Reform

    We are not talking double standards. We are talking about this one issue. Is this French Magazines pictorial okay? My answer is it's not.
    There is a a double standard in this country and is should be discussed when its on the table. The issue on the table is, is blackface ever okay? The answer is NO.

    October 14, 2009 at 8:13 am |
  37. Deidra Deanne

    How sadly inappropriate! The first disappointment is that this is an idea that would even be discussed when brainstorming for ideas for a magazine this reputable. Did no one stop and think that their black readers would be hurt by this? There were gorgeous black models that would have suited this purpose just fine. They just didn't have to go there and I hope that their peers in the media and their readers cause a fire storm over this!

    October 14, 2009 at 8:13 am |
  38. Forrest

    I thought imitation is the highest form of flattery

    October 14, 2009 at 8:12 am |
  39. Chris

    Does anyone who offends this having any other comparison than the movie WHITE CHICKS, please provide more. This sad

    October 14, 2009 at 8:10 am |
  40. Norbert, TX

    This is a typical example of transfert:
    This 'black-face' issue is an americano-american issue. This cover is the cover of the _French_ edition of Vogue.
    Contrary to the cnn report claim, a French reader watching at this photo will NOT make the association with the so-called 'black-face' from 'american entertainment' fame.
    It is somewhat disturbing to witness how incredibly self-centered are the CNN anchor: They propose that the 'cause' of that 'outrageous picture' is that 'other country' didn't have the 'civil right mouvement'.
    Sure most country didn't, at least not in the XXth century, because most country didn't lived under an apartheid regime until the last part of the XXth century!!! Most country did not exterminate their native population, and replace them with millions of imported slaves....

    Furthermore, a cursory review of French-Speaking news outlet, indicate that there is no 'controversy' and even less 'outrage'. The only reference in french speaking media that I could find was a blog making reference to a London Times piece.

    @jen:"Why not use a “real” blakc model?"
    Please do give a definition of a 'real black'. If you were shown the picture without knowing who the model was, how would you determine if she was 'really' black ? On that topic, is John Boehner offensive for is 'brown face' depiction ? At which level of tanning does your 'offensive sens' get triggered ?

    October 14, 2009 at 8:08 am |
  41. lauren

    Another African American not particularly offended...sorry. The problem with "traditional" blackface was that it was meant to be degrading with the exaggerated portrayal of ethnic features and the accompanying stereotypical buffoonery. The French Vogue pictures have none of that. However, these pictures do speak somewhat to the continuing perception that ethnic features are somehow less appealing or haute couture than traditional European features. I agree with John: there are no doubt a number of ethnic models who could have been given this opportunity and been even more stunning by showcasing the wide range of looks on the African continent. Believe it or not, not everyone on that continent looks alike!

    October 14, 2009 at 8:07 am |
  42. Frank Blackwell

    In this case it isn’t true that blackface was used in a derogatory or racially malicious manner – it was used as a visual medium of expression. I think it very short sighted to infer that a black woman could have just as easily been used for this shoot because saying so implies that the same but better effect would be realized. The images that French Vogue created were never meant to be of a beautiful black woman; they were intended to be of a beautiful white woman painted. We place far too much importance on these instances of reference to skin color. Maybe that is one of the prime reasons racism continues to exist. It would be nice if stories like this just didn’t matter any more.

    October 14, 2009 at 8:06 am |
  43. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    Maybe this girl just has a skin problem like Michael Jackson did.

    October 14, 2009 at 8:05 am |
  44. Charles

    We live in a time when America has spoken and elected our first black president. And it was not just black voters that elected him. We stood up and said we are tired of race issues, but we continue to see more increasing racial issues. At what point will people move past these issue( NOT FORGET) AND LIVE TOGETHER IN peace.

    October 14, 2009 at 8:05 am |
  45. Jerri

    Racial lines these days are being blurred. How many African American celebrities now present themselves with long, straight, fair hair- is that 'white face'? The Vogue photos show a beautiful woman posed beautifully. Let's leave it at that.

    Ironically, your follow up piece is about herion addiction and treatment. Personally, I have always felt the name you use 'amfix' to be insensitive- a lighthearted treatment of the name used for a serious, deadly problem.,

    October 14, 2009 at 8:04 am |
  46. Timothy Prolific Jones

    There is no getting around the fact that this was a bad idea, no matter how you attempt to justify it, no verbal potpourri can camouflage the smell. Blackface was born in an era of subjugation, segregation, institutionalized racism, and lynching.

    A minstrel performance in or out of paint is still a minstrel performance, and neither will ever be kosher in my book. Putting a white model in blackface in France doesn't make it high art. it makes it a closed door for a black model, and a cultural insult to the African Diaspora on every continent.

    October 14, 2009 at 8:03 am |
  47. MW

    Again, it depends on the context. What was Vogue thinking? How can anyone celebrate supermodels without the "exotic" models from Africa, or Asia? Almost super women of un-photographed beauty? Those pictures looked stupid, as those women do not carry beauty of color in their face. If some were green or pink or blood red it would have been a different message.

    As far as the other countries, I think that they are so much in denial of racial bias because they have never had to deal with it in civil unrest. This country was somehow made for learning about racial bias.

    The world makes fun of the people who seeds the very culture they embrace. Street dance forms, music, music video, pop close, language idiom – and everyone wants a tan. Schizophrenic or what? Maybe there is a learning moment for us too?

    October 14, 2009 at 8:02 am |
  48. Darlene Thomas

    Black face is never excepable and is not neccessary! There are plenty of naturaly dark skinned people in the world to fill any need for modles and entertainers. I think that if is in very bad taste to have white people dressed in black face.

    October 14, 2009 at 8:01 am |
  49. Chris

    BLACK FACE. BLACK FACE. Why is it that everytime someone makes a comment or gesture that isn't necessarily degrading it is seen that way? Granted black face was used in our country to degrade African Americans in entertainment, but I see this as paying homage to African Americans. Think about it, Caucasians getting painted black for photos. Get over it. Our country, despite all its strife and violence against African Americans over the last 100 years, has made great strides in equality. It actually saddens me to see the AFLCIO, ACLU and other groups taking to the airwaves anytime a little picture in a newspaper, article in a magazine or a song mentions something in regards to African Americans. This shows their insecurity in regards to the efforts made towards AFrican Americans and how they want the freedoms they fought so hard for, yet want to quell freedom of speech. Where is the sense in that?

    October 14, 2009 at 8:01 am |
  50. Ida Vaynberg

    I just want to ask one question, how come it is okay for the Wayans brothers to dress like white women in a film, but when French Vogue paints their models black (who by the way get painted every color of the rainbow for photo shoots) it is offensive? Why can't it just be art for the sake of art?

    October 14, 2009 at 8:01 am |
  51. mark

    Clearly none of you have heard of "Black Pieter" from the Dutch Santa Klaus story. Tons of Dutch people dress in black face. And they do so to their children also. I don't see the reason for this but everyone has different views of what is okay and acceptable. That's life, use your time reporting on good stories not this garbage.

    October 14, 2009 at 8:00 am |
  52. Andrea

    This is HIGHLY OFFENSIVE! There is absolutely no rational in this day and age for any magazine, especially a popular magazine like French Vogue, to promote the despicable image of Blackface. Rationalizing that their nation has not experience the hurt or ramifications of this buffoonery is a cop-out and I won't buy it!

    October 14, 2009 at 8:00 am |
  53. Deborah Zawacki

    A few years ago I watched one of those modeling-reality shows–and one of the photo shoots for the contestants was to have each model be made up to look like a completely different race– I am not sure if it was a make-up/artistic/creative thing or a social experiment kind of thing.....
    Perhaps FV could offer some similar comment....

    We have seen famous people don fat suits to gauge reaction and experience what it's like to endure those challenges. We have also seen movies about people changing their skin color–some with comedic intent, some with more serious social implications.

    Would anyone tell Eddie Murphy or other Black comic/actors that they aren't allowed to do "white face"–ah but there is that darned double standard–

    October 14, 2009 at 8:00 am |
  54. Chris

    For the ones who are of color you may not be old enough to no any better, when you think this is OK. Talk to your grandparents and ask them there opinion. The movie WHITE CHICKS, please this doesn't come close to over 100 years of film portraying whites as blacks. Give more supporting movies or articles.

    October 14, 2009 at 7:59 am |
  55. Cathleen Case

    Black face is never ok. The history of this racist "entertainment" practice dates back to American Reconstruction and was employed as an argument for the "happy" Black eager to serve white audiences. Vogue can present the photos as art but the use of black face is racist especially when Black models exist who can demonstrate that Black is beautiful.

    October 14, 2009 at 7:59 am |
  56. Susan

    If the rest of the world is open minded enough to not take offense to this why is it that Americans have yet again find something to complain about. This is not something to he offended about no one was offened when the Waynes brothers dressed up as white women, they looked lik idiots, but you didn't see white people or women throwing a fit! I completely argree that there should have been a range of people in the spread, but where were the Asian or Hispanic models? Grow up and complain about the really important issues!

    October 14, 2009 at 7:59 am |
  57. Erika

    Blackface is never okay. What this French Vogue photo shoot illustrates is that racism and racist images can easily be imported via media. My question is with so many individuals involved in the making of a single magazine issue, how did it make it to print? Why did no one ask the question "How might this offend readers throughout the world?" Let's be serious, blackface or the painting of a white person's skin via burnt cork (or bodypaint in this case) says we only interested in blackness in so far as we can "try it on" and then wash it off. Let's not forget blackface was used to bring a likeness of blacks too the stage, with the added bonus of not actually having to engage with real black folks because individuals were not interested in seeing individuals of African descent as humans, but rather as characture, un-real and non-human. Countires like Japan that have popular signing groups and stamps with blackface likeness are simply reproducing the same racist ideology and keeping it alive.

    October 14, 2009 at 7:59 am |
  58. Dwight Downey

    I lived several years in France so "blackface" being used in Vougue magazine doesn't really surprise me all that much. However I was fairly offended by Harry Connick Jr.'s statement that we spend so much time trying to NOT make black people look like bufoons in this country that we really take that kind of stuff to heart. Is he saying that we are buffoons and it takes alot of effort to make us look otherwise? Because that's what it sounded like to me. We need to be worried more about racism in America, before we start pointing fingers at France or anywhere else for that matter.

    October 14, 2009 at 7:58 am |
  59. Tony K

    The issue of "blackface" clearly represents racism today. A white model is painted black and its offensive. Yet, if a black model were painted white, no one would say a word.

    October 14, 2009 at 7:57 am |
  60. Tony

    Race portrayal is a serious issue, but why are performances only by non-black performers singled out as offensive? In 2004, Keenen Ivory Wayans & Shawn Wayans donned "White face" for the movie "White Chicks"; and not even for an artistic statement. I don't remember CNN doing a segment about the racial aspects of that movie.

    October 14, 2009 at 7:57 am |
  61. Joe

    Hmmm... The Paris Vogue photos are offensive and yet the movie "White Chicks" is not? You can't have it both ways, folks!

    October 14, 2009 at 7:56 am |
  62. pete

    I think america is the only country that is partial to racism, no other country has been through what we have when it comes to african americans, so being that its not america based I don't see amything wrong with it.

    October 14, 2009 at 7:56 am |
  63. Doris Lewis

    It is offensive and extremely racist. As Black people we must always speak out against these kinds of racist and degrading images of us regardless of where it takes place. We must also understand that racism/white supremacy is global.

    October 14, 2009 at 7:56 am |
  64. Tanya

    Why pay a white women to look like a black woman? That is taking a job a black woman should do and giving the job to a white woman. The white model should be asamed of herself. One of the hosts of your show this morning said "African-American and white". Why not say African-American and caucasian? Or black and whie?

    October 14, 2009 at 7:56 am |
  65. Angelle Ozenne

    What is the obsession of 'black face' anyway? Why would a white person need to paint their face black to prove a point, any point? Like was stated, there are several BEAUTIFUL black women that could have posed for the photo. Thank heavens it wasn't done in a demeaning way – I think it shows just how obsessed 'white America' really is with blacks.

    October 14, 2009 at 7:56 am |
  66. Cooperkids

    This particular Black face instance appears to be simply a Fashion statement, I believe they just missed the mob by not adding the white lips, The lips would have sealed the DEAL!!!
    White lips Black face = Racial Hatred!!!!!!

    October 14, 2009 at 7:55 am |
  67. Hakim - Philadelphia

    Blackface is not appropriate because there are plenty of black entertainers and models throughout the world who can portray black people in an honest and gratifying way. Throughout history, it has been very offensive and used to mock individuals in movies, cartoons, on stamps and on posters. Why paint your face and mock people when you can simply find the real deal to send the same message. It's just a perfect example as to how blacks are the most immitated people on the planet due to our talent and abilities that many times go unseen in the media.

    October 14, 2009 at 7:55 am |
  68. Edward Ash

    I do not think "black face" is offense, after all, it's entertainment. Have you notice, the Jackson 5 black face, was probably not meant to offend. After all Elvis Presley, played an Indian, who got mad at that, Tom Cruise, played a Samari. Please lighten up America, all things are not meant to be offensive. Love you all at CNN!!

    October 14, 2009 at 7:55 am |
  69. Aaron

    While I certainly understand the extreme sensitivity around race and racial predjudice, I think sometimes it would serve us all well to take a step back sometimes. Perhaps if we just look at this photo spread as an extremely exotic example of the marvelous beauty that is black.

    October 14, 2009 at 7:55 am |
  70. terry smith

    my first instinct is: No, it is never okay. maybe there is the one circumstance when the stars and moon are perfectly aligned; but it is not okay for FrenchVogue to use blackface on a white model. they do not get a pass because they can spin it with some artistic babble. it is not in good taste. add the fact they could not find one african american model to recognize and honor. if it talks like a racist and walks like a racist; it's probably a racist.

    October 14, 2009 at 7:55 am |
  71. Billy Flood

    Naomi Campbell, Iman, Tyra Banks, noticed none of them were asked 2 b included. Clearly French Vogue will go to ANY length not to hire black models including painting white models black. Sad commentary on race relations in the international community

    October 14, 2009 at 7:55 am |
  72. Mark

    I think this whole issue is silly. These pictures were not done in an offensive manner or to belittle blacks at all. These pictures were done for entertainment purposes only, not to transmit a political message.

    People in America need to get over the fact that the world does not revolve around them and just becuase some in America believe that this act may be offensive, does not make it so to the rest of the world. We need to stop creating controversy where there should be none in the first place.

    October 14, 2009 at 7:54 am |
  73. Jan

    Seriously...what about the Wayans brothers making money painted like white women???

    October 14, 2009 at 7:54 am |
  74. Gustav Elgers

    I personally find "blackface" distastful yet was this outrage displayed over the film "Whitechicks", the doublestandard is somewhat obvious

    October 14, 2009 at 7:54 am |
  75. cece

    NO it is not OK. Is ANYTHING that offends ever OK?

    October 14, 2009 at 7:53 am |
  76. Andy

    Blackface is just makeup, its the act itself that may or may not be offensive. If you get offended about the makeup itself then what about whiteface? Featured in films like the Wayans brothers movie white chicks.

    October 14, 2009 at 7:53 am |
  77. John Sabotta

    Is Jew bashing OK, what about picking on Mexicans or gays or illegal aliens?
    What's the difference?

    October 14, 2009 at 7:53 am |
  78. Carly Sipes

    I think that comments like this is what is causing racism to persist. If people stop caring then maybe everyone can finally move past it. I think it is good that my generation is viewing racism as a big joke- because then it can never be taken seriously.

    October 14, 2009 at 7:53 am |
  79. James

    This isn't racist!! Grow up people if you want to see racisim come by my house I promise it would be better reporting than this story

    October 14, 2009 at 7:52 am |
  80. Dru

    I have no idea what the artists' ideas at French Vogue were but i think that the same exact picture could have been taken with a black person rather than the dutch model.

    October 14, 2009 at 7:52 am |
  81. Leonor Packer

    This is a disgrace because individuals constantly say that African Americans are always using the race card. Everything of identity has always been stolen by caucausins for profit. Wheather it be Elvis or rap music, some feel it OK to to exploit other races. This will never be acceptable, because it takes this country back to a time when blacks were hung from trees for just looking at a white person. We have to move forward and past this.

    October 14, 2009 at 7:52 am |
  82. Michael

    This is just another example of people being way to over sensative. People get way to offended when it comes to things that deal with race an try to make a huge political debate over something thats just not important at all. Honestly people need to stop caring about race an start caring about things that really matter.

    October 14, 2009 at 7:52 am |
  83. nick

    Hey Anyone see the movie white chicks isnt that offensive

    October 14, 2009 at 7:51 am |
  84. bobby

    And what about White Chicks? Anyone see a double standard in our society?

    October 14, 2009 at 7:51 am |
  85. Kahdir

    Correction to my previous post:
    The movie was called Tropic Thunder, not Chocolate Thunder.

    October 14, 2009 at 7:50 am |
  86. MOG

    How much longer must we endure this? I don't want to hear that they are "french" they need to know their international audience. As a black female I am so offended. And to celebrate super models and no black models made the issue is even more offensive.

    No black face is NEVER okay.

    October 14, 2009 at 7:49 am |
  87. GARY


    October 14, 2009 at 7:48 am |
  88. Kahdir

    I am African American and I do not take offense to the French Vogue photo spread. Being offensive is never okay, but blackface can be done in good taste. I have yet to see Chocolate Thunder, but reverse examples such as Eddie Murphy in whiteface and Dave Chappelle's Show have been done in good taste. The blackface joke I heard from my Caucasian wife about a mom and son making chocolate cake is the best example that comes to mind as a tasteful blackface portrayal.

    A mom and her son are making chocolate cake, when her son smears chocolate all over his face and says "Look mommy, I'm black".
    The mom yells at him and demands he see his father.
    The son puzzled, goes into the living room to show his father and says "Look daddy, I'm black".
    The father displeased with his son appearance scolds him and sends him to see his grandfather. Still puzzled, the boy goes upstairs to see his grandpa. He knocks on grandpa's door and says "Look grandpa, I'm black".
    Grandpa smacks him in the face and says go wash that off.
    The grandson calmly looks at his grandfather and says "I've been black for 5 minutes and I already hate you white people"

    October 14, 2009 at 7:45 am |
  89. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    Some body give this poor girl some pancakes to eat .

    October 14, 2009 at 7:43 am |
  90. Matt

    This is NOT blackface being portrayed here. For the media to say this is blackface shows how uneducated they are about history. As a theatre major at my college we took an extensive look at blackface with al jolson and the other minstrels in the early 20th century. Blackface is the performance of it...not just the portrayal. Also the picture featured in vogue is not blackface because it is missing essential parts, first, the black wig, second, the giant red lips, and third, the performance. what vogue did is what tyra banks did on Americas Next Top Model a few cycles ago where they are portraying a different race and transforming a white woman to a black one. I do not find this offensive in the least because it is NOT blackface. The performance in australia was more blackface than this. There is a difference.

    October 14, 2009 at 7:32 am |
  91. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    This girl looks like crap

    October 14, 2009 at 7:26 am |
  92. Al Cossari

    The exotic women in Vogue looked even more beautiful with their bodies painted brown. It was a very effective art form in a beautiful and natural color. I don’t think the artistic contrast would have been as effective in an unnatural color like purple. If anything, the magazine was honoring the brown skin tone rather than demeaning it. You are encouraging racism by absurd criticism. What makes American news commentators greater experts than the French who actually taught us about interracial relationships? Let go of this issue so the rest of us can go on admiring all peoples and all forms of tasteful art.

    October 14, 2009 at 7:20 am |
  93. Dorothy

    I think the real question is.... Are there no Black Models?

    October 14, 2009 at 7:15 am |
  94. Zac T

    All I have to say is LOOK UP MARIA CARRIE'S new chart single, "Obsessed." In it she portrays a white person, or more specifaclly the pop artist, Eminem. Maria also has an upcoming TV series where she portrays herself as an "ugly white woman."
    Other big name, David Chapel, portrayed himself as a white man several times on his series, The Chapel Show. NOBODY said anything then.
    If the same argument that many use when justifying the double standard of blacks using the n word can be said about race painting, all I can say is if it isn't right one way it isn't right another. If we are trying to teach our children that mocking or stereotyping other races is wrong, what will they think if they compare this story with what they've seen allowed on Mtv, Vh1, or Comedy Central?
    I personally feel that you should have reported examples of both sides of the same thing.

    October 14, 2009 at 7:12 am |
  95. Jack, Montauk, NY

    My immediate reaction was no, it is never okay, but I thought Robert Downey Jr. was brilliant in Tropic Thunder ... for some reason that worked. But I am white and may not understand. I am Italian and some things people say are offensive to me and non-Italians don't get it.

    October 14, 2009 at 7:08 am |
  96. Christopher Landavazo

    I am amazed at the double standard that has been created with regards to race relations and what is deemed offensive. How ironic is it that we can find this offensive but when it come to attacks on the LGBT community by the perdominantly African Amarican Hip Hop Community we turn a blind eye?

    I am shocked at how individuals from a group of people who bore such hate and bigotry could come up with a term like "No Homo" and use it in lyric and song like it was right as rain. I am even more troubled by the fact that its OK to play songs that contain the statement on the radio when in fact, if a term like "No Negro" was used it would be completely offensive and would be ban from the air waives.

    I would hope that our communities would unite to fight bigotry and hate speech in all forms. So that all people from all walks of life would feel respected and dignified by each other. We need to learn to be kind to one another.

    October 14, 2009 at 7:08 am |
  97. Jen

    I just don't get it! What were they trying to say? Why not use a "real" blakc model? This is not ok.

    October 14, 2009 at 7:06 am |
  98. Dusty

    Movies such as the Wayans Brothers "White Chicks" (2004) has made over $113 million worldwide. I would pose this question to you. Is it okay for blacks to make fun of whites but not the reverse? Have we come to the point where the sufferings of the past out-weigh the possibilities of the future?

    October 14, 2009 at 6:56 am |
  99. J.J.

    I am black and I don't find this French Vogue pictorial offensive. i believe people are being too sensitive over this topic. Of course the minstrel shows were offensive but this issue of French Vogue is pushing the envelope, like they are known for.

    October 14, 2009 at 6:51 am |
  100. Julie M

    Blackface is never ok. However, why are you not also citing the video that was done recently and is all over youtube by nick cannon and another gentelman who are in blackface. It should not matter what color your skin is if you are being offensive. Just my opinion.

    October 14, 2009 at 6:48 am |
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