After shoes sold by Katy Perry’s brand were indicted on social media as being guilty of perpetuating blackface, they were removed from sale, according to news reports.
The $129 shoes were released last summer by Perry’s Global Brands Group to minimal hue and cry.
However, sensitivity to blackface increased several thousandfold after Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam sought to deflect a firestorm of protests after a picture that showed a person in blackface was discovered on his medical school yearbook page.
A comment about blackface also led to Megyn Kelly’s ouster from NBC.
In recent days, social media users took Perry and her company to task for selling shoes that, to them, appeared to be endorsing blackface for the sake of profit, Fox News reported.
— Daniel ?? (@daniellovesyooh) February 10, 2019
— American Massage (@chadwick_el) February 12, 2019
ThOsE KaTy PeRrY BLacKfAcE sHoEs ArE raCisT pic.twitter.com/fHS8Q9C4Qj
— THE MASKED SINGER / DOC FLY (@MaskedViner) February 12, 2019
The Katy Perry Collections’ shoes in question were the black “Rue Face Slip On Loafers” and “Ora Face Block Heel Sandals” which sport cut-out faces — red lips, large blue eyes and a triangular nose.
The brand replied to the outrage with a statement to calm the fuss, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“The Rue and The Ora were part of a collection that was released last summer in nine different colorways (black, blue, gold, graphite, lead, nude, pink, red, silver) and envisioned as a nod to modern art and surrealism,’ the statement said.
“I was saddened when it was brought to my attention that it was being compared to painful images reminiscent of blackface. Our intention was never to inflict any pain. We have immediately removed them from Katy Perry Collections.”
Perry is hardly alone. Items sold by Gucci and Prada have also been labeled throwbacks to blackface, which began when white entertainers painted their faces black in 19th and early 20th Century minstrel shows.
— Kieren Boyce (@ThatGyrlKieren) February 10, 2019
Katy Perry ‘Blackface’ Shoe to Be Pulled from Shelves
Ok, can we just make this a rule that ANY product, service or person that is NOT Black will NOT create, promote or apply any combination of BLACK + FACE
— Kim Crayton ? ??#causeascene (@KimCrayton1) February 11, 2019
Amid the national discussion on blackface, the Pew Research Center released a survey this week that shows Americans have widely different views on wearing blackface at Halloween. Kelly made comments about the practice, which led to outrage followed by an apology and ultimately an exit from NBC.
The survey found that 34 percent of Americans said wearing blackface on Halloween is either “always” or “sometimes” acceptable. Fifty-three percent said it was not OK for a white person to darken his or her skin for Halloween.
Breaking the results down by race, the poll reported that 39 percent of whites said wearing blackface on Halloween was OK, as did 28 percent of Hispanic respondents. Only 19 percent of blacks surveyed agreed.
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