Anyone who saw the Féria hair color ad in this month’s Elle (pictured, left) might have had to do a double-take to make sure it was really Beyoncé, and not the long-lost twin of the light-skinned model on the product’s box. Today, in a NY Post report cheekily headlined “O, RÉALLY?,” L’Oréal reps deny altering the singer’s features and skin tone. The chairman of the media-monitoring committee of theNational Association of Black Journalists even chimed in, arguing that “magazines have to besensitive to perceptions that light-skinned African Americans are moreacceptable.”
By now, most of us are used to pretty much all commercial images of celebrities getting the Photoshopped-into-oblivion treatment. But shouldn’t there be some sort of line here? We don’t know exactly what or who is responsible – severe makeup? odd lighting? digital alteration? too much time indoors? – for making Beyoncé practically unrecognizable. Whatever the culprit, whitewashing a well-known face in the interest of selling hair color (that is wrong for ‘yoncers anyway) takes the “anything for a great shot” argument a little too far.
What do you think – does the ad offend you, or is this sort of “optimized” commercial image safe in the plasticine land of Fictionarnia we’ve all come to generally accept at this point, and therefore unworthy of a second thought?