are chantelle winnie’s blackface fans lovers or haters?

The model has defended her imitators' actions, but others are calling out them as racist.

by Charlotte Gush
24 August 2015, 2:28pm

chantelle wears cardigan vivienne westwood. trousers drome.

Model Chantelle Winnie's distinctive pigmentation, due to the skin condition Vitiligo, is enviably beautiful. So much so, that a group of her fans have attempted to recreate the patterns on their own -- white -- faces; a look that is proving to be very controversial.

"I really wish people would stop doing this shit like This is not 'art' you're literally doing black face," Tumblr user hellyeahchantellewinnie commented, along with a compilation of the offending images; with someone else posting on Twitter, "Blackface is a form of what you say? Appreciation? You right.... I totally see it," alongside images of the racist practice of minstrelsy.

Winnie herself, however, has defended her fans' enthusiasm in a comment posted on Instagram. "My response to this is probably not what a lot of people want but here it goes," before saying that in her opinion, "every time someone wants fuller lips, or a bigger bum, or curly hair, or braids does Not mean our culture is being stolen." She then asks critics, "Have you ever stop [sic] to realize these things used to be ridiculed and now they're loved and lusted over?"

"The amount of mixed races in this world is living proof that we don't want to be each other we've just gained a national love for each other," the model continues. "Why can't we embrace that feeling of love? Why do we have to make it a hate crime?," adding that, "In a time when so much negative is happening, please don't accuse those who are showing love and appreciation, of being hateful."

While it seems clear to most that these fans are not trying to hurt anyone and just want to show their appreciation, discussions of cultural appropriation have generally concluded that it is not a privileged person's intention that is important, but the effect it has on the oppressed group. Even though they weren't trying to cause offense, they should celebrate all difference by accepting who they are, not by appropriating the beautiful difference of someone else.



Text Charlotte Gush
Photography Harry Carr
Styling Bojana Kozarevic
Hair Louis Ghewy at The Book Agency using Bumble and bumble. 
Make-up Danielle Kahlani at The Book Agency using Laura Mercier. 
Model Chantelle Winnie.

Cultural Appropriation
chantelle winnie