Beyonce is involved in another skin lightening controversy, but this time her new look is really going to raise a lot of eyebrows.
In a recently-released image from the photo shoot for her album '4,' the musician sports a blonde wig, bright red lips, and very light-colored skin. She's virtually unrecognizable - trust me, if you saw the photo without knowing who it was, you probably wouldn't be able to figure it out in 100 guesses (the photo can be seen here).
Of course this isn't the first time Bey has been part of a skin lightening controversy - back in 2008 L'Oréal ads in Elle, Allure, and Essence featured another seemingly "whitewashed" version of the star. The cosmetics company denied altering her skin color, and it does seem a little more likely that something like the bright lights used for the photo shoot could have made her skin look a little lighter in this case (at least she still looks somewhat like herself).
But that's not the only time L'Oréal has been accused of messing with the perfect skin of a stunning star. Last year the company came under fire for making "Slumdog Millionaire" actress Freida Pinto look a few shades lighter for a commercial. Once again L'Oréal denied tampering with its spokesmodel's skin tone, even though side by side photos show a marked difference in Freida's natural skin color and the color it appears to be in the ad.
However, one of the most extreme cases of skin lightening comes courtesy of Elle. A cover last year featured one-of-a-kind actress Gabourey Sidibe, whose fuller figure and gorgeous ebony skin are a refreshing change from what Hollywood considers ideal. However, it appeared that Elle drastically altered her look by making her appear about seven shades lighter, and the mag didn't feature Gabby's body on the cover. This might not seem like a big deal since lots of magazine covers focus on faces, but this case was different - for a special October issue, Elle produced four separate covers. In addition to Gabby, skinny stars Amanda Seyfried, Megan Fox, and Lauren Conrad got covers. And of course they got to show off their bodies in theirs. Elle denied any wrongdoing (apparently everyone was just supposed to be thrilled that the mag decided to feature Gabby on the cover at all).
If some actresses want to lighten their skin, that's their choice, and perhaps they shouldn't be so harshly criticized for doing it - after all, plenty of lighter-skinned stars alter their skin colors by tanning. However, it's a different story when skin tones are "whitewashed" in photo shoots, especially when celebs like Gabby and Freida are involved. It doesn't appear that either of these actresses have tried to lighten their skin (now Bey is a different story), so it's unfair and hurtful for magazines and cosmetic companies to send the message to them and their fans that there's something wrong with their natural skin color.
Bey's latest case might be a bit different since she probably had some say in her album photo shoot, but it's equally sad that she tried so hard to look like a completely different person.
So what do you think of "whitewashing" in the entertainment world? Is it sending a bad message to young women, or are those in the beauty business telling the truth when they claim that it doesn't exist?More From This Contributor: Beyonce's Blue Ivy Carter and Other Color and Plant-Themed Celebrity Baby Names
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