Did Beyoncé Wear a Sambo on Her Coat to the All-Star Game?

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.
A photo posted by scooterlaforge (@scooterlaforge) on

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


  1. Look at the eye of the black face and the eye on the trench coat. THEN look at the eye of the clown. It's obvious that the design is Coon-inspired. Nice try, Scooter. Nice try.

    1. You're right Letesha. The signature triangle cut in the eye makes it much more likely. As for those lips, clearly coon inspired.

  2. I just left his instagram. The coat is the least of his problems. That child's not okay...

  3. I, too see Sambo. The Dark color of coat doesn't help the situation either.

  4. I doubt whether Beyoncé knew about what this caricature represents and saw it as just another fashion statement. I personally think it looks horrible and oversized.


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