Beyoncé's L'Oréal ad: You can't do that in advertising!

Beyonce_lAnyone who saw the Féria hair color ad in this month’s Elle (pictured, left) might have had to do a double-take to make sure it was really Beyoncé, and not the long-lost twin of the light-skinned model on the product’s box. Today, in a NY Post report cheekily headlined "O, RÉALLY?," L’Oréal reps deny altering the singer’s features and skin tone. The chairman of the media-monitoring committee of theNational Association of Black Journalists even chimed in, arguing that "magazines have to besensitive to perceptions that light-skinned African Americans are moreacceptable."

By now, most of us are used to pretty much all commercial images of celebrities getting the Photoshopped-into-oblivion treatment. But shouldn’t there be some sort of line here? We don’t know exactly what or who is responsible — severe makeup? odd lighting? digital alteration? too much time indoors? — for making Beyoncé practically unrecognizable. Whatever the culprit, whitewashing a well-known face in the interest of selling hair color (that is wrong for ‘yoncers anyway) takes the "anything for a great shot" argument a little too far.

What do you think — does the ad offend you, or is this sort of "optimized" commercial image safe in the plasticine land of Fictionarnia we’ve all come to generally accept at this point, and therefore unworthy of a second thought?

addCredit(“Beyonce (right): Kevin Mazur/”)

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  • Stephanie T.

    Just out of curiousity, what IS Beyonce’s shade anyway? I mean, I have seen pictures and movies where sometimes her skin shade (due to foundation and or photoshop)has been either lighter or darker. Rhianna is light skinned, and she even admitted that when she went to school in Barbados, she was often taunted because she was lighter than the rest of the girls. But even she’s not as light as the picture on the left. That picture looks ridiculous. Bottom line, if you are marketing a product for women of color, leave the skin tone alone. It should not matter at all.

  • Snarf

    Any photo I see these days (unless I take it myself) I asume the person has been digitized, lightened, darkend, enhanced, amped, stretched, augmented and generally enahnced to sell whatever. Bottom line? Non-issue.

  • Tony

    For whatever reason, neither of them really looks like Beyonce to me. But if I guessed, I would have said the lighter skinned one, even though she’s far too light. The other Beyonce looks darker than I think of her.
    I thought I knew what Beyonce looked like, but apparently I have no clue.

  • Alexa

    They don’t look alike to me. Maybe the same makeup and eyebrows, but I wouldn’t think they were twins or that one had been lightened (though I’m sure other PhotoShopping had been done).

  • James

    Oh please. As a dark-skinned Black man, I can tell you I’ve seen pictures of myself that vary widely in complexion. It’s just one of those things. Heck, I’ve noticed the same thing with Whites. Some photos look darker than others. This is way overblown. (And I’m not even a Beyonce fan.)

  • majigail

    I didn’t think the darker picture looked like her either!

  • liv

    i think they both look like horrible pics, not a fan but to be honest she looks 10 times better in the lighter shade….

  • kim

    Beyonce’s hair has always been blondish in color – looks great on her. So the dark picture isn’t really her either. But I do say some photos on magazine covers are so changed I don’t even know who the cover is until I read it somewhere at the bottom of the 1st page.

  • dan

    I don’t buy that anyone did this on purpose. I mean seriously, we’re talking about BEYONCE here. Yes, it’s commonly thought that lighter skinned african-american models are more accepted… but this is no ordinary case. It’s BEYONCE! You know, sold millions of records, starred as Mike Meyers love interest in an Austin Powers film… Are there any ad execs who can possibly think she wouldn’t be accepted? What would be the argument for all of her previous success? That nobody had ever noticed how dark she was before? It’s stupid. This is a fake controversy.

  • Sheila

    I am so way over this story….. I mean if they had darken a white persons skin, as they often do, to give the person would anyone be screaming about it. This says more about the people that are complaining than anyone else. All this talk of being lighter being more “accepted”, accepted by whom and why does anyone care whether random people accept them and think them beautiful. I mean come on… does this affect career/education, ability to own a business, buy/rent a house or in anyone prosper.

  • BilliamE

    I saw the picture on the left and instantly knew it was Beyonce. The picture on the right looks odd to me…

  • Ken

    you know what i noticed more, is how they fix the left part of her lip in the lighter picture. that’s the thing that i found offensive. LOL

  • Sina

    The ONLY bad thing about this “advertisement” is that Bey wears a wig and that’s a wig in the advertisement. EVERYONE knows Bey wears a wig so whoever would go and buy Lo’real because Bey is in it would be crazy anyway.

    • Larry55X

      It sad when the African Americans can be duped with the premise that we can buy a product in a “can’t do” situation. If you want your hair color a certain color we will buy a wig. Try dying a wig. So L’Oreal think nothing of Blacks. They will buy anything.

  • Helen

    Firstly lets get something straight here. Beyonce’s hair is not her hair. It is fake extensions glued onto her scalp. Secondly, she has the last say on any pictures that are issued through advertising. It is part of the contract.

  • Ms. C

    It’s the NOSE that has been altered. The bridge has been built up all the way down to look more anglo.

    • Nkele

      he’s mentioned jay’s name nrmeuous times on all of his albums & even publicly admitted he hoped for a dream collabo which never camenow he’s taken a different approach by dissing his idol, so who knows maybe this time it’ll work & he’ll get some attention from jayeither way, this is really desperate & i just feel sorry for game

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