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Illamasqua Im Not Dreaming of a White Christmas

I personally was bothered by the Illamasqua Im Not Dreaming of a White Christmas. I sent Illamasqua an email telling them that I was upset with the ad depicting a person in blackface. If you haven’t seen the ad, here it is below.

Illamasqua Im Not Dreaming of a White Christmas

 

To me, this ad was very disappointing after the amazing Generation Q. I just don’t understand how they could think that no one would be offended by this. Regardless, here is the official statement that they sent me to share with you:

Hi Phyrra,

I hope you are very well. The official statement from Illamasqua is below for you:

We thank and acknowledge your comments regarding the campaign imagery. Obviously it was never our intention to cause offence; Illamasqua has always celebrated the right to self-expression and we continually push creative and artistic boundaries, priding ourselves on working with models of many ethnic backgrounds to reinforce this point. Alex Box, Illamasqua’s Creative Director, has emphasised that this campaign is about colour ON the skin, not colour OF the skin, depicting polarity between the two images [both images are the same model] and not race.

The image will not be pulled as it has been our lead Christmas campaign image for over a month now and it’s only been in the past 24 hours that we have seen some back lash to this one particular image. The story has been covered across multiple websites such as Huffington Post, Jezebel etc and we have seen not only that the vast majority of comments understand that what we are presenting here is an alternative look at make-up, but that they appreciate that the images Illamasqua have always created are showing off the range of effects that make-up can give you.

I’m of course here for you to discuss further with, and if you wish to use anything of what I’ve said on your blog, I am happy for you to do so.

Best wishes

Alex. x

They could have taken this campaign many different directions. I feel like this was poorly executed and because of that, it offended and upset people. If the models were wearing different outfits, if the makeup was slightly different, maybe it would have been received differently.

How do you think Illamasqua should have handled the feedback about this issue? What do you think about this campaign?

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    • hazakaza

      Yeah, I’m sorry, but that email really does not deal with the fact that they have a model IN FREAKING BLACKFACE.

      • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        hazakaza I feel like there should have been someone in marketing to go ‘hey guys, I don’t think this is a good idea, it looks too much like blackface. Maybe we should try changing it a bit like this.’

        • Jupiternames

          Phyrra hazakaza Yeah, I’m a bit surprised that for a *Christmas* add they didn’t go for silver and gold or something!? Of all the contrasts to pick…just why?

          • SpangleLime

            Jupiternames Phyrra hazakaza because they’re Illamasqua, they’ll do what they want and be as outrageous as they want…controversy sells…though usually the kind they cause doesn’t backfire this way. Silver and gold are way too obvious-otherwise the model in blackface would have been wearing gold trousers, LIKE A MINSTREL! sorry, not yelling at you, using caps for emphasis.

          • Jupiternames

            SpangleLime Jupiternames Phyrra hazakaza Um, I meant their skin in silver and gold…like robot style.

          • SpangleLime

            Jupiternames  I knew what you meant with the gold and silver, but as we see in the current ad, the photos show the models in all black or all white. Put the black model in a blue morningcoat, scarlet trousers and gold gaiters and voila! A gay golly for the holidays! (when golliwogs became non PC, they changed the name to Gay Gollies, like that’s a giant improvement!)I had the best idea for a satirical, ironic image to demonstrate to Illamasqua what this photo represents to a lot of people even if they don’t mean for it to be racist or offensive. I suck at photoshop or I’d have acted on it already. It makes me a little sad bc Illamasqua prides itself on pushing boundaries to the edge of the milky way and they could have gone edgy and controversial for the holidays w/o offending anyone or desecrating a shameful and sensitive part of the historical record.

      • LaToyaBlue

        hazakaza In your opinion. Clearly not everyone elses.

    • http://www.portraitofmai.com/ Mai at Portrait of Mai

      I think way too many people are making the association that because some people think this is offensive, that that automatically means that these same people think Illamasqua is being racist. In my opinion, no it’s not. The issue with this is that intentional or not, it isn’t difficult to see a similarity between this and the blackface used in minstrel shows. Ignorance of the history is just perpetuating ignorance about the issue. This isn’t about people being “overly sensitive” or “being cynical”, we’re just calling it like it is. It is true to say that blackface was an American phenomenon and I was worried at first that I was being a little egocentric by assuming that everyone knew about blackface but guess what, blackface existed in the UK too and was seen there as late at the 1970s.

      • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        Mai at Portrait of Mai Right. I don’t think the people at Illamasqua are racist. I think their ad is offensive. I think that if they had been educated on why people might find that offensive they may have taken a different creative direction that still would have been innovative without being offensive.

        • http://www.portraitofmai.com/ Mai at Portrait of Mai

          Phyrra I think it’s sad that too many people are quick to defend Illamasqua against claims of racism when it’s about the ad itself. I also think it’s sad that Illamasqua is so quick to defend their “Art” that they think they’re alienating a group of their current and potential customers.

    • http://msbrittanythomas.com/ ClumpsOfMascara

      The ad sucks and for many reasons. #1, I didn’t even get what they were advertising. I can appreciate artistic expression but when it fails to introduce me to what they’re selling, well…it’s a fail. #2, it’s just unattractive and I think it would have been better received if the “Black Christmas” ad featured a darker woman. Any time you paint someone of a fairer complexion black, most people (especially those aware of African American history in the U.S.) think of blackface. Blackface and its reference are still very hurtful and insulting and even though Illamasqua isn’t a U.S. brand, someone in their marketing department should have known this. What really annoys me is when people are like, “How can this offend you? You shouldn’t be offended. Just get over iiiiiiit.” *rolls eyes*

      • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        ClumpsOfMascara All very good points. I have no idea what products the ad campaign is marketing. Is it body paint? Is it lipstick?

        • http://msbrittanythomas.com/ ClumpsOfMascara

          Phyrra I think it’s lipstick??? See! Why doesn’t anyone know? LOL!

      • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        Someone on twitter pointed out that the UK had gollywog dolls, so the people at Illamasqua should have been more aware of how the ad could be perceived and that it could upset people.

      • spiral_bound

        ClumpsOfMascara The UK definitely has its own history of blackface. See here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_and_White_Minstrel_Show
        As a side note, I experienced more racism in the UK than I ever have in the US, though I’ve only visited large urban areas of the US & lived in the UK for a year (as a Canadian who lives near the US-Canada border). So this doesn’t surprise me at all. If the intention wasn’t to evoke blackface, then why the HUGE lips on the “black” side, when the “white” side has lips that aren’t painted outside her natural lip line? It’s a pretty visually distinct image.
        Excusing Illamasqua for not being a U.S. brand is absurd in this day and age, even if the UK didn’t have its own history of racism and minstrel shows. This ad does not exist in a vacuum, and with the internet there to provide information and dialogue, they SHOULD have known better. There have been outcries and huge campaigns against blackface, yellowface, etc. the past few years — and the UK itself has been embroiled in one quite recently. http://www.racebending.com/v4/featured/british-east-asian-actors-speak-the-orphan-zhao/
        Should Illamasqua have known better? Yes, of course. But if they had apologised, pulled the ads, explained about their ~good intentions~ (intent isn’t magical! Good intentions don’t make everything better!), & been proactive about the situation, I think all this would have been forgiveable. All this handwaving & dismissing the hurt is what’s inexcusable, and I definitely will not buy from Illamasqua again.
        Um, also, pigment ON the skin vs. the colour of the skin itself? What, did they think the white actors in blackface dyed their skin black or something? Completely baffled by this.

      • LolaSeicento

        ClumpsOfMascara You summed it up eloquently! Nobody of any race or nationality- (person or a company) should think that using images the evoke an insidious, hurtful and inflammatory racist construct is okay, period. Despite the fact that Illamasqua claims that this was not intentional- really is no excuse. People should just know better- it’s ignorant, grossly inappropriate, and highly insensitive.

    • Whimsical Kelly

      “The image will not be pulled as it has been our leadChristmas campaign image for over a month now and it’s only been in the past 24hours that we have seen some back lash to this one particular image.” 
      The translation that is going through my head “We spent a ton of money on this campaign and OMGU GUYSE ARE SO MEAN AN DON’T UNDERSTAND MY ART!!!”They should ask Amanda F’ing Palrmer how well that worked out for her.

      • http://www.portraitofmai.com/ Mai at Portrait of Mai

        Whimsical Kelly it’s utterly messed up that they’re saying “oh it’s been fine for a month now people only JUST complained about it so it’s totally fine these people are just cynical”. What a terrible message to send consumers that they’re so invested in the promotion

        • Whimsical Kelly

          Mai at Portrait of Mai 
          No kidding! Who cares how long you’ve used the image before people said “Holy crap, that’s offensive”? 
          They should be asking themselves “Do we want to lose the money on this promotional campaign, or long term revenue from the people who will see this, think ‘You racist fucktards’ and never purchase from the company again?”

          • Whimsical Kelly

            Mai at Portrait of Mai Actually, I shouldn’t have said “fucktard” just now. My bad. 
            But let me put it in Illamasqua terms, for fun. “We’re sorry you’re offended by the use of the word ‘fucktard’, but we’ve been using that word for over a month now, and no one else is complaining. So, you know, fucktard, fucktard, fucktard, nyah!”

          • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

            Whimsical Kelly Mai at Portrait of Mai i edited that word to be jerk.

          • Whimsical Kelly

            Phyrra Mai at Portrait of Mai  
            Wait, let me get my “Censorship on TEH INTERNETS!!!” argument all ramped up and ready to go.
            Or, I could just say thanks for catching the slip and editing it to be a better word choice. I think I’ll go with option #2.

    • http://corviddreams Corviddreams

      The choice of lipsticks just makes things look even odder, IMO.

      • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        Corviddreams I think if they’d done like… blue lips with the black skin, for example, it might have had a different impact.

    • Jadelyn

      So their response can basically be summed up as “lol YOLO”?  Brilliant PR there, guys.  
      I mean, it’s pretty obvious that no, it’s not “blackface” in that it’s not done with the intent to make a white person look like an actual black person.  But when you’re talking about such a nasty and pervasive history, even the appearance of similarity to the actual practice is really not okay.  And…yes, it’s the same model.  But look at the lips, the way they did them.  They’re way exaggerated and the shape is actually different in the blackface image versus the white side, and in a pale color like that…I can’t help but think that’s not accidental.

      • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        Jadelyn Yeah, this edgy just fell flat :(

    • mollance

      Ok, I’m confused.  Are they saying they didn’t think that it would be paralleled to blacking up, or that they didn’t think that it would would cause offence and bad feeling because it’s about the ‘make-up’ and it’s all arty.  Just wondering as, why else is she in a bow tie and top hat?

      • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

        mollance Many people feel that the outfit is reminiscent of ‘black minstrels.’ And I think that they felt it was makeup and wouldn’t be offensive.

        • mollance

          Phyrra mollance I do think that the UK don’t find this generally as appalling as the US.  I don’t know whether it’s because blacking up wasn’t quite as popular here.  Also, there’s a fondness for gollywogs, at least for certain ages of people who just remember them from the jam & marmalade, you could collect the vouchers and send off for pin badges. I never even knew it was considered racist till I was in my mid teens, never occurred to me, they were just the cute little dolls from breakfast and Enid Blyton.

          • SpangleLime

            mollance Phyrra I had no idea golliwogs were so racist till I grew up…I have an original, like probably antique, that came from South Africa during Apartheid (my mum said her great uncle got it for her…I call it Jim to be ironic) and it has the original minstrel costume and red lips going on. Robinson’s didn’t pull their usage of golliwogs till 2008, which I think says something…btw, youtube the Kia Ora bird advert if you want to see how messed up and racist something can be-cartoon crows, Louie Armstrong voice, typical racist depiction of a black man (who is black, not dark brown)…as a kid you don’t notice that stuff but seeing it now…and there’s a big debate…’it’s an orange squash advert from my childhood, stop being sensitive!’ Yeeees, we’ve come very far from our imperial colonizing days.

    • kimchimermaid

      Has anyone seen this?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Minstrel_PosterBillyVanWare_edit.jpg
       The lip color is EXACT. Even the bowtie’s (one red and one is white). 
      At first I was like “ugh people being dramatic again over an ad” then I did some research and wow, this is MORE than a coincidence. It’s also interesting that they have the black and white on one side in the ad just like in the wikipedia picture! Someone is up to something and needs to be fired. It’s sad we still live in a world like this.

      • kimchimermaid

        oops the link didn’t work…. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackface

        • http://www.Phyrra.net/ Phyrra

          kimchimermaid thank you for sharing the link. I feel like this ad evokes a very painful time in American history.

          • kmk05

            Phyrra kimchimermaid Oh WOW. When I first saw this post I didn’t think it was particularly offensive (since the white and black are literal, and neither colours are natural). I’ve also never lived in the US. But with the ‘black minstrel’ you linked…Oh my god. How can this NOT be offensive?!

    • LadyAmour

      Thank for bringing more attention to this Phyrra. As soon as I saw the image I felt something in the pit of my stomach. It’s not just the makeup,the bow tie, the top hat, the pink lips! Why not red to mirror the other image if it was completely innocent? Although, it wouldn’t make it much better. The fact that they are fine offending so many people instead of spending some extra time and money says a lot about the brand. I don’t care how much I invested ,their products are being removed from my kit and going in the trash.

    • femmeinistgrrrl

      I absolutely think that they should pull this ad. I would like to see more beauty bloggers getting in touch with Illamasqua to let them know how upsetting and disappointing this ad is. Yours is the first post I’ve seen with communication directly to and from Illamasqua (although The Science of Chic did share this image on Tumblr and acknowledged that she found it offensive, which is how I found out about it). I admit that I don’t follow very many other beauty blogs, though. Regardless, thank you for bringing this issue to light and for communicating your displeasure to Illamasqua.
      As for their deeply lackluster response, I’ll just say that I’m incredibly disappointed at how they’re handling this. Their official statement is completely unacceptable. I will not be purchasing from Illamasqua again.

    • xangria

      Personally I don’t see the problem. They obviously aren’t trying to create controversy or be racist. They are using colors unnatural to anyone’s skin to make the colors of the makeup stand out. It’s just as when we put paintings on a black or white background to make them stand out. I’m really pale, should I take offense to painting the model so white? No. This is the 21st century. We need to move forward and stop thinking everything is meant to be racist or offensive.

      • Jadelyn

        xangria Intent isn’t the point, though.  And in fact, several people have said we don’t think they were rubbing their hands together and cackling in racist glee or anything.  They just didn’t think it through.  Whether they intended it or not, it *is* racist and offensive.  Also, painting someone white isn’t the same kind of offense against pale people as painting someone black is against black people, because the context is different.  Pale white people aren’t discriminated against in any systemic way.  Black people are.  Painting someone pure white is a one-off instance.  Painting someone black brings up references to extremely racist practices like minstrel shows and blackface performances.  It’s not the same thing at all.

        • xangria

          Jadelyn xangria I’m not saying her being painted white is offensive. I was trying to explain that neither color used is natural. And we don’t have the same discrimination in our society as we did so long ago. I’m just sick of people crying racism at any opportunity they see. The problem is that many people try to see everything is racist or offensive when there is no longer racist intent. Instead of singling every race out, we are supposed to be coming together.

          • Jadelyn

            xangria I realize you weren’t saying the white paint was offensive.  I was using that as a hypothetical parallel to explain how the black paint IS offensive, as it taps into a virulently racist history by evoking practices of blackface and minstrelsy.  I encourage you to look through the rest of this comments section, and see a couple of images other people have posted, vintage images of actual blackface that look suspiciously similar to the “unnatural” not-quite-blackface in this ad.  As for the rest of your response, you are deeply mistaken.  We do not have the exact same discrimination or the same degree of discrimination – mostly anyway – but that in no way means that racism no longer exists.  Blackface is still practiced here and now, in this day and age.  College kids dressing up as “ghetto” and going in blackface on Halloween.  The Chris Brown/Rihanna skit at the college basketball game halftime a few weeks ago, featuring white people in blackface.  It’s not over.  It still happens.  Black people are still discriminated against in housing, education, employment, singled out for police violence…just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. There not being “racist intent” doesn’t make a thing not racist.  It’s not about the person or what they meant; it’s about what was done.  Intent is not required to make a thing racist, nor does good intent cancel out racism in an act.  So perhaps consider that when people say something is racist, they’re not “crying racism at every opportunity”, they’re seeing something you aren’t, because you have neither the lived experience of it, nor the time and effort spent in listening and studying the issues.  Coming together requires that we first acknowledge the differences.  We work on that, and the coming together part will happen in its own time.

    • StephLouiseATB

      I’m just going to go with wow. Wish they had used the right photo with multiple dramatic looks or something. I just… Wow.

    • http://www.icynails.blogspot.com/ Ice Queen

      Not acceptable on any level. Calling something this pervasively offensive “art” and laughing off peoples’ concerns smacks of hubris. Badly done, Illamasqua.

    • SarahGrayson

      I find it very unappealing and questionable in judgement.  I usually enjoy the uniqueness of the brand’s ads and campaigns but I find this just sad.  Why settle on this type of imagery when they could have done something extraordinary and positive.

    • Winni

      This is so funny (funny weird, not funny haha) because I just showed this ad to my (black) husband and he said “whatever. No big deal.” And I’m (white) super offended. At the very least this was Poorly executed, naive and demonstrating a deep lack of history. This is why history is important, people!

    • Winni

      This is so funny (funny weird, not funny haha) because I just showed this ad to my (black) husband and he said “whatever. No big deal.” And I’m (white) super offended. At the very least this was Poorly executed, naive and demonstrated a deep lack of historical knowledge. This is why history is important, people!

    • elsafregoso5712

      Wow, how HORRIBLE of Illamasqua. Ignoring years of oppression…
      I’m glad to see that so many people are upset with this. Not all my hope for humanity is lost. Now if you we can get to work on Sugar Skulls are Halloween costumes…

    • http://bubbleteapanda.wordpress.com/ bubbleteapanda

      I’m more disappointed in their response than the original ad. The ad was careless, but the response was myopic and insensitive. I don’t often say this because I don’t like to fall into pitchforks and bandwagons, but I will seriously reconsider before purchasing any Illamasqua in the future.

    • http://bubbleteapanda.wordpress.com/ bubbleteapanda

      I’m more disappointed in their response than the original ad. The ad was careless, but the response was myopic and insensitive. I don’t often say this because I don’t like to fall into pitchforks and bandwagons, but I will seriously reconsider before purchasing any Illamasqua in the future.

    • http://www.beautythesis.net/ Beauty Thesis

      I actually find this quite interesting to see a company remain steadfast in the face of public outcry.  If anything, it gives a very clear picture (whether it’s artistic expression, pr flub or offensive ignorance) and how one chooses to perceive it is entirely up to them.
      All the buzz also gives me the impression that many people want to see that apology simply so they feel comfortable continuing to purchase from them – rather than boycotting the brand over something that may or may not be personally offensive.  All of it reminds me of the Rodarte fiasco from MAC a while back.I’ve also been wondering if it would it have been more acceptable and artistic if the model had been black?  Would it have been more of an exercise in contrast or still offensive, since the ‘black’ skin still would have been darker than the model?

      • Winni

        Beauty Thesis exactly. Their response bothers me the most.

      • LaToyaBlue

        Beauty Thesis I love the fact they are sticking to their guns. Why shouldn’t they? The image has been around for weeks and weeks, and NOW people decide they have a problem with it?!! Now there is a bandwagon to jump on to? It’s hardly as bad as rodarte, that was pure and simple ignorance. Go Illamasqua, you are my favourite beauty brand for the work you produce, and the inspiration that you give me everyday.

        • http://www.beautythesis.net/ Beauty Thesis

          LaToyaBlue Beauty Thesis I don’t think it’s that much different from Rodarte at all, the imagery conveyed something that people didn’t like.  The biggest difference is many people didn’t know about Juarez and were appropriately horrified when they found out.  Most people do know about the history of blackface and are horrified because that’s the conditioned response.

        • Jadelyn

          LaToyaBlue Beauty Thesis I wasn’t aware that racism had a statute of limitations.  How fascinating!  Tell me, what is that time limit?  How long do people have to call something out, before it becomes a “bandwagon to jump onto” rather than a legitimate complaint?  Does it start from the time the ad goes live, regardless of whether people see it right then or not, or does it start for each person from the time they personally saw the image for the first time?

          • http://www.beautythesis.net/ Beauty Thesis

            Jadelyn LaToyaBlue Beauty Thesis Who said a bandwagon couldn’t be a legitimate platform for a complaint?
            As far as time limits, just like perception it’s entirely individual.  I’m sure plenty of people can recall something from childhood that they enjoyed, but as they got older and wiser they gained an awareness to subtleties and nuances that were not apparent before.

          • http://www.beautythesis.net/ Beauty Thesis

            Jadelyn LaToyaBlue Beauty Thesis Who said a bandwagon couldn’t be a legitimate platform for a complaint?
            As far as time limits, just like perception it’s entirely individual.  I’m sure plenty of people can recall something from childhood that they enjoyed, but as they got older and wiser they gained an awareness to subtleties and nuances that were not apparent before.

    • jeanniesmiles

      I thought this was just a marketing campaign in Australia because this blew up on the Australian Illamasqua Facebook page a couple of days ago but I saw no mention of it on the main Illamasqua page. The Huffington post article also notes other racist Australian ad campaigns, even though Illamasqua and creative director Alex Box are British. There were a couple of women on the Australian page who said they were women of colour and not offended by this but they were largely outnumbered by women (not sure of their race, they didn’t state it) who were offended. I’m mostly surprised that of the number of people that must have been involved in making this campaign, nobody stopped and thought, ‘this might offend people’. Like Illamasqua said, obviously they weren’t intending to be racist, but the ad stills comes off that way and is in poor taste.

    • sillysyra

      It really irks me that the left image isn’t even a real photograph, its a really overdone Photoshop of the other. Even the bends in the lapel and collar are the same, it’s clearly not a second photograph. This means that NOBODY at that photo-shoot thought to themselves, “You know what would be a great idea? To paint our model up with black face paint, exaggerated lips, and then mess hair up too!”
      Since the campaign is supposed to be about “the polarity of the two images” they’d have to expect us to be idiots to not notice that beyond just inverting the colors they also made one image out with large lips and untidy hair.

      • LaToyaBlue

        sillysyra No it’s not – it’s the same model. They’ve said that. Have you seen Alex Boxs work before? No way it’s photoshopped.

    • marcella

      What Illamasqua have always set out to do…is infact attempt to further folks thinking wih regard to traditional beauty and this of course may unsettle some folk whom are predominantly stuck in the past. Cmon- consider the media images we are faced with, that symbolize new entities and or exciting possiblities? Avatar? the xmen? youve realy got consider the big picture and where YOU draw your references from.
       YOU SEE WHAT YOU WANT TO SEE.

      • Winni

        marcella I prefer to think of it as “knowing my history” rather than “stuck in the past”.

        • marcella

          Winni marcella ……trying considering the present…oooh and maybe the future!
          or merely contemplate the sentence in slightly larger letters!

          • Winni

            marcella Winni Uh, the ad isn’t a Rorschach Test.

      • Jadelyn

        marcella That is some truly epic spin, congratulations.  Illamasqua gets to decide what is and isn’t “furthering” in people’s thinking, therefore anyone who disagrees that this is forward motion rather than retrograde BS is “stuck in the past”.  Maybe you see what you want to see, but I’m a big fan of seeing what IS, instead.

      • pure_makeup

        marcella No, this is clearly meant to be blackface. The outfits, the exaggerated lips, they knew exactly what they were doing. This isn’t an “pushing artistic boundaries”, it is a way for them to grab publicity by creating something controversial.

        • MelodyValek

          pure_makeup marcella Seriously.  Even if they didn’t do it intending for it to be blackface, it looks dead-on like blackface.

    • sheikah

      I feel like if they had another image with a different color paint, it wouldn’t ring blackface to me and would be more Illamasqua.  As it is, I really feel like they ought to have had someone catch this before it went to publication.
      I see the rep’s point and what they were *trying* to do but out of context, it seems very offensive to me.  Even in context it’s somewhat offensive but perhaps I’m sensitive.

    • notintooutrage

      This image obviously does not depict a white person imitating a black person, which is what blackface was about.  It is a visual statement only, not a social one.

    • notintooutrage

      She is black–the color, not the race–on one side and white–the color, not the race on the other.  Relax.

    • misfitgirlie

      I think the ad was likely not intended to be racist, but I simply cannot fathom that someone at the company didn’t say, “Hey guys, don’t you think this could kind of be construed in a racist manner? Maybe we need to switch it up.” What if they did two completely different colors? Maybe silver and gold (OK, cliche holiday, but I think it would change the tone). I also agree that the lip color choice is exacerbating the problem.
      ClumpsofMascara is spot-on in noting that we don’t even know what this ad is for! I also agree with Phyrra that it is definitely disappointing as the next advert after the amazing Generation Q.

    • misfitgirlie

      I think the ad was likely not intended to be racist, but I simply cannot fathom that someone at the company didn’t say, “Hey guys, don’t you think this could kind of be construed in a racist manner? Maybe we need to switch it up.” What if they did two completely different colors? Maybe silver and gold (OK, cliche holiday, but I think it would change the tone). I also agree that the lip color choice is exacerbating the problem.
      ClumpsofMascara is spot-on in noting that we don’t even know what this ad is for! I also agree with Phyrra that it is definitely disappointing as the next advert after the amazing Generation Q.

    • pure_makeup

      Honestly, unlike some on here, I do think that this is a raciest ad and the creators were raciest. Flat out prejudice isn’t that common these days, but subconscious racism is. It’s in the air we breathe, we can’t grow up in this culture without it affecting us somehow. So what can we do? Talk about, listen to what people of other races have to say, think about how our experiences in society are different. We can’t just shrug it off when the topic is brought up.
      If you are conscious of racial issues, there is no way you could come up with something like this and think it’s ok. This calls to mind a very hateful topic in our history, one that should not be approached without some serious sensitivity.  And lets be real, many of the nasty stereotypes minestral shows perpetuated are still around today.

    • pure_makeup

      Honestly, unlike some on here, I do think that this is a raciest ad and the creators were raciest. Flat out prejudice isn’t that common these days, but subconscious racism is. It’s in the air we breathe, we can’t grow up in this culture without it affecting us somehow. So what can we do? Talk about, listen to what people of other races have to say, think about how our experiences in society are different. We can’t just shrug it off when the topic is brought up.If you are conscious of racial issues, there is no way you could come up with something like this and think it’s ok. This calls to mind a very hateful topic in our history, one that should not be approached without some serious sensitivity. And lets be real, many of the nasty stereotypes minestral shows perpetuated are still around today, so we can’t be so dismissive of the past.

    • NatashaGreenhouse

      Phyrra, I really appreciate you voicing your concern to Illamasqua. I am beyond disappointed not only by the images but by their response to the backlash. It’s to depict the color ON the skin, not OF the skin? What do they think blackface was? Regardless of their intentions or oblivion to racist history, if they see people disturbed by the images, they should simply remove them. It saddens me because I loved the concept behind the brand, “Makeup for your alter ego,” but sadly I cannot in good faith purchase any products from them.

    • LatherRinseRpt

      Thanks so much for covering this. I was one of the original commenters on the Australian thread (which was deleted by Illamasqua) and I tipped the story to Jezebel in its infancy, where other media outlets then picked it up.
      Illasmaqua have done a terrible job with this, not just with the poorly executed, uncreative campaign, but with their failure to listen to customers. It is irrelevent if they didn’t mean to offend, the important thing is that people are very offended and have let the brand know over and over. Illamasqua has not only continued using the damaging image, but has ignored complaints and concerns. They DO NOT care that they are now actively hurting many people, and that is a brand I will not buy from in future.
      For anyone interested, here is my post on the issue, including screencaps of the original thread that was deleted by Illamasqua. http://www.latherrinserepeat.com.au/2012/11/illamasqua-and-blackface-study-in-poor.html

      • http://www.beautythesis.net/ Beauty Thesis

        LatherRinseRpt Very well written & the angry gifs are the icing on the cake.

    • MelodyValek

      Yeah, they should have known better.  Intent doesn’t matter with racism.  It’s the act that matters.  Blackface is never okay for any reason.  Or something that so closely resembles blackface.  Their response is essentially a whine.  “Waaaaah we didn’t even consider the implications of our ad but come on guise freedom of expression.”  Freedom of expression is one thing.  Sure, it’s valuable.  BUT we always have to consider how our expression will appear to others and how it jives with history.  Expression doesn’t happen in a vacuum.  I most definitely will not be buying anything from their holiday collection and will think very seriously about not buying from Illamasqua ever again.  What a horrible response they gave, trying to defend something that is indefensible.

    • SpangleLime

      Interesting fact – I described this ad image to my mum, and Illamasqua’s disappointing reaction; the interesting part is that she hasn’t seen this photo and she knew exactly what I was describing, even bringing up blackface and golliwogs on her own (unprompted, I merely described what it looked like and that’s where her mind went to straight off).
      BTW, anyone really handy with photoshop, and secondly, I cannot find a bio on Alex Box anywhere. What nationality is she? I know it’s not American or British.
      FTR, anyone else think this ad and the endorsement of the Sophie Lancaster Foundation antitheses of each other? That photo appears to project racism, prejudice and intolerance, exactly what S.O.P.H.I.E. stands for…feels a bit like kicking a horse while it’s down…they really didn’t think about their endorsement and association with the Lancasters when people told them they found it offensive etc,? Seriously?