In the latest edition of cultural appropriation gone wrong, a Hungarian journalist thought it would be fitting to acknowledge the near “extinction” of certain African tribes by using Blackface to transform herself into seven African women.
For the misguided article entitled, “I Morphed Myself Into Tribal Women To Raise Awareness Of Their Secluded Cultures” Boglarka Balogh used Photoshop to remove the faces of women from Ethiopia, Kenya and several other African countries and replace them with her face.
“These stunning portraits show how beauty varies across the globe and prove that all of us are beautiful in a different way. They’re celebrating stunning tribal beauties at the brink of extinction” she said.
What Balogh was saying through her piece was that the photos weren’t beautiful as is; they only became good enough when she inserted herself into the image and she could see the women from her perspective.
Nigerian pop cultural blogger, Awesomely Luvvie marvelously articulated the issue with the piece in saying, “Why not raise awareness by simply telling the stories of these tribes? OR having them talk about their own experiences. She could record them and have them talk about what they’re going through. Take their pictures, record them on video, let them speak.”
Luvvie also added that what Balogh did is the equivalent of “Columbusing”, in which white people think they’ve discovered something which already existed “..It’s exactly what white people have been doing to Black folks for a while. Erasing us from our lands, our contributions, our history, and forcefully putting themselves there.”
Following the virality of Balogh’s post and the overwhelming disdain for her “art”, she’s since deleted it from the BoredPanda website. Her reasoning for doing so further reiterated her lack of understanding as to why what she did was offensive.
“Since I had no intentions to offend anyone and yet I’m not able to answer to all of you, I’ve decided to delete my post” she began.
“My intention was 100% pure with this tribal art, being a human right lawyer and journalist who knows pretty much about racism and similar issues, I have never imagined that my work will annoy so many people and that I will have to explain myself. And sure, I will not do that. Keep calm and love every human.”
Hiding behind the excuse, “I’m a human rights lawyer and a journalist…so I know about racism” is the equivalent of saying “I’m not racist because I have a black friend.”
Thank you social media for speaking loud and clear about this travesty. Balogh can continue to have all the seats in the world.