Jennifer Aniston in Blackface?

A photo recently surfaced on Instagram of actress Jennifer Aniston from her recent shoot with InStyle Magazine. The internet was quick to spot the difference in the skin tone of Aniston. This brought a storm of negative comments and one word: “blackface”. 




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    “Blackface” is the use of makeup to resemble the appearance of dark skin and/or black people. This practice of theatrics began in the 19th century with non-black performers who aimed to demonstrate racial stereotypes. While it was popular in its time, it’s always been offensive to those who it applies to. Now, more of the population acknowledges how demeaning it is to the black community and others who share similar skin colors; the practice of black face continues in other countries. 

    While the intentions of this look were to channel the glamour of the 60’s and 70’s, the people of the internet were not happy.

An Instagram user, Patricia Birch, explained “...that ‘glamour’ routinely marginalized women of color”. Some netizens were blaming Jennifer Aniston and some blamed the magazine itself. LA Times writer Christie D’Zurilla said, “In 2019, if you want a brown-skinned woman on your cover, put a brown-skinned woman on your cover,”. It goes without saying: it was offensive back then, but you should know better now.  

    It’s clear that Aniston and InStyle Magazine meant no harm, but this situation should be looked at as an educational moment. Black women and men have been criticized and belittled over their features for centuries. Oppression continues to flow through America’s veins. Protective styles that have been passed down through black generations are seen as unprofessional in the workplace. Black people have lost jobs over their hair, but it’s the same hair that their counterparts wear without repercussion. So while it may just seem like “hair” or a “tan” to someone, it’s a piece of heritage to the black community and not one person can invalidate how “blackface” or “cultural appropriation” makes them feel.