While everyone is up in arms about the discovery that Queen Bey has pores, there's another controversy brewing about a piece of apparel she wore to the NBA All-Star Game.
Beyoncé rocked a Scooter LaForge custom painted trench coat. Scooter is known for his pieces that feature caricatures, but critics of this particular artwork note that the big red lips, teeth, and bright eyes are reminiscent of the logo for Coon Chicken Inn—based on the Sambo art of the first half of the 20th century.
The resemblance between the logo and coat's image is undeniable, and you've got to wonder if Bey took note. If she did, her choice to wear it deserves some unpacking. Many African Americans collect racist memorabilia with a desire to preserve and engage with history. For that reason, I don't find the choice to wear it particularly egregious. The primary issue is that people around the world will view it without context.
Beyoncé's style is the definition of hit or miss, and It's difficult to pinpoint her influences. Perhaps she was making a statement, but she probably just liked the image.
The designer, who is white, posted this side-by-side to his Instagram amidst the burgeoning controversy.
The painting could certainly pass for a clown, but the omission of a signature red nose is rather conspicuous. Ultimately, your interpretation of the image will depend strongly on your frame of reference. I'll admit that I saw a Sambo. What do you think?
Kimberly Foster is the Founder and Editor of COLOURES. Email or Follow @KimberlyNFoster