Halloween is a great time to transform into someone completely different from yourself — say, Wonder Woman or Pennywise. Some people take the holiday as an opportunity to appropriate other cultures, though. One makeup artist on Instagram, in particular, is being criticized for taking her Halloween makeup tutorial several steps too far.
Percem Akin, a self-taught special effects makeup artist who lives in Istanbul, posted a picture on Instagram of herself with foundation several shades darker than her own skin tone with the caption, “Color and Pain. My Lovely Black Beauty Transformation Make up.” There’s no question about it — this is glorified blackface. According to Daily Mail, Akin also posted a tutorial video on her YouTube channel for the look. It has been since been deleted, though. The Instagram photo, however, remains on her now-private account. The comments have been turned off, though.
But it gets worse. The caption for her Instagram photo also includes distasteful hashtags like, #blackwoman, #slave, and #sadmakeup, and #blackmakeup. Supposedly, #slave even appears twice. Akin told Daily Mail that #slave was a typo, though. It should have read #slayer, which is the name of the movie she said she created this look for. “This is just a movie character, and the movie [was] directed by some poor students in my country, Turkey,” she told the publication. “We are not living in America or Africa. In my country, finding any black model is so difficult, and [the directors] created a character.” (Yeah, we’re not buying it.)
People on Twitter are obviously fuming over Akin’s take on blackface. One user who goes by @PylesKristen wrote, “Black face is never ok smh and the hashtag #slave is just blatant disrespect and ignorance.” Because Akin’s Instagram is private, many included screenshots with their Tweets for all to see. Many are even asking others to report Akin on Instagram.
Let Akin stand as a reminder that other people’s cultures aren’t a costume. Feel free to dress up as a celebrity of a different race as yours, but don’t change the color of your skin in the process.
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