After sharing the video last night that I created to go along with my photo shoot for QAMA, the guy organising the magazine messaged me. “I have SJW’s (Social Justice Warriors) messaging me that your series is Black Face”. I have used different coloured body paint in various shoots for my tribe series, and for the Shrouded exhibition I painted Jason from the shoulders up in black body paint. It’s always been a very carefully considered approach to make sure that I wasn’t being guilty of cultural appropriation.
In the case of the QAMA series the black paint represents sexuality and fetishes in general taking over the model. If I had indeed been trying to parody black people or demean the very real oppression they have faced then I would expect a backlash but I genuinely can’t see anything of “black face” in this series at all.
Indeed one of the comments on the post of the video was from a reader in the U.S. who said “As an African-American guy I was a little worried about the appropriation of blackface, but I was happy to see that this made no reference at all to the minstrel tropes that might have made this offensive to some. Gorgeous work. Beautifully done.”
I admire people who are ready to fight injustice when they see it. Most of us are a bit shy of wading into such delicate waters. What I don’t like is people looking for injustice, racism or other forms of discrimination when there is clearly no intent at all.
Above is one of the images that will be included in the QAMA magazine.