Kim Kardashian has been accused of deliberately darkening down after posting a photo to promote her new makeup line, KKW Beauty.
The ‘Keeping Up With Kardashians’ star released promotional photos showing the results of her new contouring kit, but some commenters accused her of ‘blackface’ as her skin tone looked a lot darker than usual.
Blackface is a form of theatrical makeup used predominantly by non-black performers to represent a black person. The practice gained popularity during the 19th century and contributed to the spread of racial stereotypes such as the “happy-go-lucky darky on the plantation” or the “dandified coon. Early white performers in blackface used burnt cork and later greasepaint or shoe polish to blacken their skin and exaggerate their lips, often wearing woolly wigs, gloves, tailcoats, or ragged clothes to complete the transformation.
But the reality TV star has now defended herself claiming the image was the result of a “tan” and “contrast”.
“I would obviously never want to offend anyone,” she told the New York Times on Monday 19 June.
“I was really tan when we shot the images, and it might be that the contrast was off.
“Of course, I have the utmost respect for why people might feel the way they did. But we made the necessary changes to that photo and the rest of the photos.”
The 36-year-old posted the controversial snap on Instagram on Thursday 15 June, announcing the new launch of her Crème Contour and Highlight Kit – with the photo receiving nearly 2 million likes.
Social media users were quick to comment on Kim’s darker than usual skin tone.
“This is straight up blackface,” one user wrote.
“This is beyond cultural appropriation,” another posted.
However, some fans came to her defence.
“Not blackface. Some of y’all reaching too far,” one user wrote.
“You guys do realise she is Armenian she can be dark,” another posted.