And the hits keep coming.
Black History Month has been marred by example after example of blackface. In the commonwealth of Virginia, two top state officials confessed to wearing blackface in the past, and neither is willing to step down. But it’s not just our politicians letting us down.
Today, Katy Perry is under fire for releasing a pair of mules and a high-heeled sandal that feature bright red lips and eyes on a black background. The image is reminiscent of minstrel makeup, and people quickly noticed, expressing their disapproval online. According to TMZ, the Katy Perry brand is now pulling the shoes from retailers, and Walmart and Dillard have removed the offending products from their website. A spokesperson for the brand also said that any reference to blackface was unintentional.
Katy Perry 'Blackface' Shoe to Be Pulled from Shelves
Ok, can we just make this a rule that ANY product, service or person that is NOT Black will NOT create, promote or apply any combination of BLACK + FACE
— Kim Crayton ???? ????????#causeascene (@KimCrayton1) February 11, 2019
— Daniel ???????? (@daniellovesyooh) February 10, 2019
It’s worth asking why this keeps happening in the fashion industry, which has put out depictions of blackface time and again. It suggests that there aren’t enough people in these fashion houses who are sensitive to the iconography of blackface, which has historically been used to stereotype black people. Nor are these brands sensitive enough to the current climate we’re in, where consumers will push back against such hurtful depictions, whether they are intentional or not.