In the early 1800s, white performers put on minstrel shows. During these stage performances, the actors made a mockery of the Black experience. Their “costumes” (we use quotes because we know Blackness is not a costume) exaggerated Black physical features: The actors painted their faces black, overdrew their lips, bucked their eyes, and either wore raggedy wigs or tried to give the illusion of having Black hair. Then and now, blackface has been synonymous with racism because it perpetuates negative images of Black people.
In recent times, empathy-free, non-Black people have had a hard time accepting the offensive nature of blackface. Some act like they can’t understand why it’s unacceptable. To put it simply: It’s not okay to participate in something that stirs up painful memories within the Black community. People have rightfully called out Kylie Jenner, Lili Reinhart, Nikita Dragun (in a shoot with Jeffree Star), and Kim Kardashian when they artificially darkened their skin.
The latest example of this grand offense involves makeup artist, who goes by @notcatart on Instagram. A few days ago, the artist posted a video of himself going from what he describes as “WHITE TO DARK.” In the clip, he covers his face, neck, and shoulders in dark brown foundation. While Yo Gotti’s “Rake It Up” plays in the background, he puts on pink lipstick and finishes it off with a grill. Ew.
People started going in on @notcatart for this display of insensitivity — and the YouTuber responded by disabling the comments. To make matters worse, he has reposted a screenshot from the clip. He says that he “will [post] it again and again…” His current bio also seems to respond to the backlash. It reads, “JUST BE YOURSELF, and If people don’t like It, well, You:🐴 FUCK THEM!” Again, ew.
When makeup is used correctly, it rocks. It helps people express themselves, and it can also be a confidence-booster on tough days. But when your expression hurts an entire race, it’s a serious issue that cannot be ignored. Blackface has such a dark history. Don’t be that person who solely focuses on themselves. Please pay attention to how others feel.
To @notcatart, shame on you. No one is “hating on” you. You just stepped on a lot of people, and you clearly don’t care. Sigh.