Shame On You

‘ELLE’ editor apologizes for portraying Solange Knowles in racist blackface

Tue., Dec. 3, 2013 7:18 AM EST
by A.R. Shaw

elle

Jeanne Deroo, Editor of French Elle, created an uproar after she released a photo of herself wearing blackface and an Afro wig. Deroo claimed that she was attempting to portray Solange Knowles while attending a private party. But after posting the picture on her Instagram page, it instantly went viral.

Once the picture caused outrage, Deroo apologized on Twitter by writing, “I realise how much the fact of painting oneself brown is an offensive act. I didn’t realize the seriousness of my action when I went to a private party last Saturday evening, which [sic] the theme was “Icons” and I chose to embody Solange Knowles, of whom I am a fan. During this private party, I posted a picture of myself on my Instagram without intention of hurting anyone. I deeply regret and would like to present all my apologies. I would also like to indicate that this picture published in a private context does not involve in any way the French ELLE magazine.”

However, Deroo’s actions should not be forgiven. As an editor at a prominent publication, Deroo has the common sense to make an appropriate judgement when it comes to how she presents herself. She knew exactly what she was doing when she painted herself in blackface. Her negligence should result in suspension or firing from ELLE.

Deroo is a major voice for the ELLE brand. If Deroo isn’t’ reprimanded, it proves that the publication is willing to allow racist attitudes to exist without repercussions. Hopefully, advertisers will take a deeper look at what ELLE truly represents.

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  • lorde

    Of course she didn’t care, because it was a “private” party and her ignorant a$$ thought no one would see it.

  • http://www.tothemotherhood.com/ HilLesha

    As someone who is mixed and knows that racism still runs rampantly, I’m not sure how this is considered as being racist. According to the dictionary, a racist is a person who believes that a particular race is superior to another. She considers herself as a fan of Solange and the theme party was icons. She chose Solange Knowles. Do you believe that she should have chosen someone who was the same color as her? If so, isn’t that racial discrimination? For Halloween, we dress our children as animals, characters from their favorite shows & movies, and the like, but does that mean we feel SUPERIOR to those things? No. So, you can see where I’m going with this. ;)

    • Khadijah Costley White
    • http://www.couturesquare.com/ Fierce C.H.I.C

      WHAT??!!! I am mixed as well and I know that this is wrong. This woman is not a 20 something year old girl. She was alive during the jim crow days and she knows what minstrels are. Please take time to learn your entire history. Being mixed is not a reason not to know your entire background. Start by googling the term “minstrel show”.

      • http://www.tothemotherhood.com/ HilLesha

        I fully understand what racism is. I’m also well aware of my background. Are you? Racism is something that a lot of my family members dealt with all of their lives, especially my mom who is now 70, and she was the only light-skinned amid 6 of her older brothers whom were dark-skinned. She wasn’t fully accepted by either race while growing up and dealt with pure hatred on both sides. My mom and uncles (her brothers) all grew up in a mostly all-white town in Indiana. Let’s keep this in mind that this was between the 1920s-50s. They can give you a history lesson that the books can’t give you. Reading history and enduring it are two different things. One doesn’t know what true racism is until they have experienced it themselves. Also, I know what the minstrel show consisted of. I may be 20-something, but I’m not a dum-dum. ;) I’d have been quick to pull out the “R” card if she just went as a black person (not a celebrity) for just because.

        • ruhroh

          You should check out structural racism vs. individual racism. If you already know these terms, try fitting them into both the example of your mother and this Elle editor.

          • Lizzie

            agreed with “ruhoh”.

    • PlainAsDay

      The fact that you interject farm animals as a comparison to blackface shows that you probably have no concept of what this means to people who are offended by it and the history behind it. So, yeah, I do see where you are going.

      • http://www.tothemotherhood.com/ HilLesha

        Obviously you don’t……

  • remoten

    I wrote a post concerning the wearing of black face a week or two ago. There were times when I got angry when seeing this practiced as a way of insulting people of color. Then I realized there was a good side to this. Deep inside people who think they’re insulting us by wearing blackface are really letting us know they aren’t comfortable in their own skin and wish they were like us. Why do you think they want tans? Why do you think they have boob surgery? Why do you think they want bigger lips? Why do you think they do body makeovers? Why do you think they imitate us at every turn? They’re jealous. But I challenged all whites to have a DNA test for the purpose of settling their race fears once and for all by establishing their genetics. Lol….it’s really funny to me. There are some who have a feeling their heritage has a black background and would be proud of it and others who would struggle to hide their heritage so the truth not be known that their fore fathers and mothers had intimate relationships with their slaves which resulted in mixed race births that have been carried down from generation to generation to the present. T

    • jmarie

      I so agree with you remoten. One thing you left out. They also want our fine black men. We black women truly love, encourage & support black men, but they only heard something about you all black men through the grapevine & now they want to test it out.lol…. Anyhow..Re: black face.. It’s like the drunk who says what’s on his mind when he’s drunk ( suppressed thoughts) and then we he sobers up says” That’s not how I really felt”. I agree that when white ppl do things like this around other white people they are comfortable with, they are acting out who they really want to be or appear like. The apology only comes after the pic has gone public and viral. I say don’t apologize for wanting to be a beautiful person of color. After all, imitation is the highest form of flattery.

    • Megan

      I’m sorry, but no.

      White people tan because they want to distinguish themselves as the class of White people who can afford to go places where it’s sunny and spend loads of free time out in the sun. Women get breast enhancements because they want larger breasts (White women do have those too). They want larger lips because they want to look like Angelina Jolie (notice they never wanted them until she showed up). They get cornrows because they like to dip a toe into the forbidden waters and then immediately run back home.

      This woman admires elements of us but not us as complete people or complete humans. Us getting their attention is not inherently a positive. No, it’s not worth it getting upset over someone else’s ignorance, but let’s not try to pretend that White people as a whole want to be Black.

      …and am I the only one wondering why she had to paint herself multiple shades darker than Solange? Why not just imitate her actual skin color, other than taking an opportunity to “get away” with blackface?

    • http://www.hereverycentcounts.com hereverycentcounts

      People of color are beautiful. What I want to understand is why is it wrong for someone to dress up to try to look like a person they admire? If it is done maliciously, or in poor taste, then it’s terrible. When men dress up as women with giant fake boobs and think it’s funny, it pisses me off a bit, but that’s considered ok in society. But if someone admires someone who happens to be black, why in 2013 is it bad to dress up like them? I’ve never done this, and I wouldn’t because I realize that it is not “ok” from a societal perspective, but I grew up in the 1980s and had black friends (and asian friends and muslim friends.)

  • powjones

    I don’t think she should be fired or suspended. She of course made a terrible mistake. Which I’m sure she has received a lot of bashing. But also knowing a little history and the fact that the french LOVE people of color i.e. The real statue of liberty, Yves Saint Laurent, and many more. I see this as a nice gesture that should have been thought out. I am not going to sit here and give a pass to anyone who does black face because there has been some insulting ones this past year, but I will say I am tired of the race card being thrown every 2 seconds. We, as black men and women, are so quick to get upset when the real reason we are upset is because there is some truth to it. Let’s stop pulling the card and instead show them what it really means to be Black Men and Women. OH and that statement about “They want our black men” What century are you living it? GET OVER IT!

  • China

    Point blank bottom damn line “Don’t” paint yourself in black face period. I don’t care if your are mixed, white, lightskin or brownskin. Whatever shade you are don’t do it respect history. It’s common sense. Photographers do it to models for artistic expressions I get on the offense about it sometime Beyoncé did it , grace jones did it in white face, I saw a pretty european model do it. But it may not be as disrepectful as it was, but it’s still damn annoying I promise! Ugh

  • http://www.hereverycentcounts.com hereverycentcounts

    Yes, I’m white, but I think we need to stop putting so much into the whole “blackface is racist” issue, because that gives it power to be racist. I’m sorry, but if a person wants to dress up to look like another person, that’s not racist. If the person is acting in a way that clearly is making fun of another race or gender, that’s not ok. But just dressing up as an icon at an icons party — is it better to dress up as the icon and have white skin? That wouldn’t make any sense. Slavery was bad. Oppression is bad. Etc. Etc. But the only way to fix racism is to stop letting things like this seem racist, because they aren’t.

  • remoten

    For those of you that understand what i spoke of; ‘I applaud you!” for those of you who feel that this is about racism alone; “I pity you!” The subject matter is all about opening the eye of the mind and coming to realize that people of all ethnic persuations need to live outside of the box for a change. It’s perfectly alright to correct the misconceptions built up down through the centuries. But before anyone chooses to use the lies built against people of color; remember it was our ancestors who raised the children of the slave masters and taught them what unconditional love was instead of the differences in skin tone. My intolerance has nothing to do with race. It has to do with “attitude!” Contrary to popular belief; the main reason for racism today is due to the lack of real knowledge. Just because a person has the skin tone and voice print that makes them appear to be white doesn’t make it so. I should know; I have plenty of blood relatives who play the game. Yet when it comes to exposing their friends to the family; they pretend to be orphans due to some fictional tragedy. A lot of them grow up get married have children and never bring them around family members as too hide their dirty dark secret. But in the end “the truth shall make you free” as it says in scripture. All secrets shall be revealed in time. Refer to the movie “IMITATION OF LIFE”