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L’Oreal Feria denied whitening Beyonce’s face in this ad, which I think works against hip hop feminism. Knowles has enormous influence in the hip hop world and is looked up to by many customers and fans as one of the most successful women in hip hop and R&B music. This ad is a good visual example of how advertising (particularly for beauty products) often favors whiteness, and when they do use women of color in their ads, they still must look “white enough” to market the product. Beyonce is already light skinned, but apparently that wasn’t enough for L’Oreal, who not only whitewashed her face but denied doing so. This message primarily affects L’Oreal’s darker skinned customers as well as young hip hop and Beyonce fans. Industry preference for lighter skinned women is one of many body issues the hip hop generation faces, and there is barely any conversation or public acknowledgement about using women of color to market a white ideal of beauty. It sounds like an oxymoron to suggest companies use more “natural air-brushing,” but what is the point of using someone as a model if you use air-brushing to completely change the way they look instead of accentuating features they already have? And for the record, I doubt someone as rich as Beyonce has ever used a box hair dye in her life. L’Oreal should probably rethink their product representatives.

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