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Winnie Harlow Responds To Blackface Accusations And Backlash

By Kristy Puchko | Celebrity | August 24, 2015 |

By Kristy Puchko | Celebrity | August 24, 2015 |

You might recognize Canadian model of Jamaican descent Winnie Harlow from her work in Glamour, Complex, Cosmo or from season 21 of America’s Top Model. Her distinctive blend of skin colors as a result of vitiligo was something for which she was once mocked. But by loving the skin she’s in and celebrating it as part of what makes her beautiful, Harlow has not only become a successful and instantly iconic model, but also an inspirational one.

However, some of the inspired are now coming under fire. Specifically, white women who are painting their faces to resemble Harlow are being accused of blackface.

Harlow took to Instagram to share her own thoughts on these imitations, writing:

My response to this is probably not what a lot of people want but here it goes: every time someone wants fuller lips, or a bigger bum, or curly hair, or braids does Not mean our culture is being stolen. Have you ever stop to realize these things used to be ridiculed and now they’re loved and lusted over. No one wants to “steal” our look here. We’ve just stood so confidently in our own nappy hair and du-rags and big asses (or in this case, my skin) that now those who don’t have it love and lust after it. Just because a black girl wears blue contacts and long weave doesn’t mean she wants to be white and just because a white girl wears braids and gets lip injection doesn’t mean she wants to be black. 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. Why can’t we embrace that feeling of love? Why do we have to make it a hate crime? In a time when so much negative is happening, please don’t accuse those who are showing love and appreciation, of being hateful. It is very clear to me when someone is showing love and I appreciate these people recreating, loving and broadcasting something to the world that once upon a time I cried myself to sleep over #1LOVE

Declaring these were not cultural appropriation, but earnest appreciation has earned Harlow a lot of hate in return. Within a day, she wrote this follow-up:

never been called such derogatory slurs so repetitively.. By the the same people trying to nail me, but sound pretty backward with words of “coon” “white washed bitch” “brain washed nigga”… Actually sound stupid as hell with “she’s not even really black” :I what is it called when your mother and father are Black..? Sigh.
The point here is Not to make it seem that Blackface is okay, or act like our people haven’t gone through hell and back to then have things from our culture be stolen. #BlackLivesMatter This is Very true. But This situation has nothing to do with blacks or whites. All races have recreated the pattern of my skin and when they did it, it was complimented and glorified. This is Not appropriation, go look up the definition real quick! And it barely has anything to do with Vitiligo to be honest. People bash my fans who get my face tattooed on their bodies. It’s not actually about me or anyone else. It’s about a feeling I’ve created, and what I represent to whoever draws me, tattoos me or recreates my look (regardless of race!). It’s about the hope the pattern of my skin represents to THEM, it’s You who places a negative on it. It’s the representation of not being afraid to be proud of who you are not just a “disease” as you so disablingly call it. I know my history. If you know ANY black Canadian you would know we all know our roots and are proud of where we’re originally from. But we also don’t live in the past. We are in the present creating a new future and even if it’s a slow progression we’re having, why can’t we continue? Our ancestors didn’t go through bullshit their whole lives for us to sit here and stay bitter or hoard our culture. The fight was never to Keep us segregated. It was to allow us to come together. So while a Lot of things in this world are wrong (and No I don’t support “Blackface”), a lot of things, including many intentions, are pure. Use common sense (and the definition…) to know the difference of appreciation and appropriation.
Alright mi done talk!! Unno cyan gwan now and flip my words however u please #1Love


H/T Blavity

Kristy Puchko has fallen into the rabbit hole of Winnie’s instagram. Don’t send help.