The old saying “any publicity is good publicity” isn’t necessarily pertinent in the case of cosmetics company Illamasqua Australia, after a Christmas-themed makeup campaign featuring a model with blackface was posted to Facebook.
Known for an irreverent take on makeup artistry, Illamasqua’s Christmas promotion has been criticised for cultural insensitivity and casual racism. Illamasqua Australia’s Facebook campaign featured the above image in which a white-skinned model wears black makeup. Not only has her skin been darkened, the model is pictured wearing a Vaudeville-esque suit and top hat complete with exaggerated pink lips – both features that are stereotypical blackface representations from freaking minstrel shows of yore (yore, meaning the late 19th Century).
Illamasqua insists that the creative was concerned with the colour on the skin rather than of the skin, however, the company seems to ignore the fact that painting black colour on skin which naturally is of Caucasian tone = blackface.
The original image and subsequent thread have since been removed from Facebook, but were then re-posted with a response that has been dubbed by offended fans as a ‘no-pology’.
Those commenting continue to share a range of opinions regarding the nature of the image, with some vowing to stay away from Ilamasqua products for as long as they live, whilst others fail to understand what the ‘big deal’ is. Racially insensitive or an unfortunate marketing stuff up, it looks like Illamasqua Australia have further damage control ahead as offended fans continue to demand a proper apology.