Instagram makeup artist PaintDatFace received major backlash after posting a picture of his most recent “transformation." The post, which he soon deleted, was a before-and-after picture of a white woman who had been transformed to look like a woman of color.
PaintDatFace included a disclaimer on the post, saying “This is a transformation that I’ve been holding back from releasing for awhile now, solely because of the fear I’ve had of people turning it into a racial scandal against me.” So it sounds like he pretty much knew that he was doing something wrong but wanted to do it anyway.
According to Teen Vogue, Instagram user Ericasmariee commented, “You could have merely used a [person of color] model instead of using a white model. no matter how much you try to avoid the fact or set disclaimers, this is blackface.” For context, blackface is not only offensive for its culturally appropriative nature, but it's also historically charged, having been used by white people to mock people of color in theater and film starting in the 1800s.
PaintDatFace explained himself after the incident, but refrained from apologizing, and still fails to see the wrong in his transformation.
The transformation that I recently posted of a woman transformed into a woman of another culture has been highly criticized by those who don't understand the message. I deleted the post, not because I had regret or saw wrongdoing, but because of the negativity social media turned it into. It's been assumed by most that my intentions were to transform my model into a black woman. Truth is, my intentions were to keep the look vague enough to be relatable to many women of different cultures, but the true inspiration of the overall look came from my Cuban heritage. Although I am saddened by how many people are angered, I can't offer an apology for my artwork and for what I find to be beautiful. The transformation came from a place of love and was not about mocking one's race, but rather about celebrating it. I am so proud to be illustrating a woman representing several cultures along with their achievements, beliefs and histories. Art is interpreted differently by all and sometimes it's uncomfortable, but making this world a better place starts with our mindset - thinking positive, showing love and practicing unity.
“The transformation came from a place of love and was not about mocking one's race, but rather about celebrating it,” he writes.
If you’re trying to celebrate diversity, why not use an actual woman of color for your transformations? Or include more diverse women on your page? There are definitely better ways to celebrate diversity, especially with talent like this.