Thursday 29 September 2016

Journalist criticised for using blackface to 'raise awareness' of 'secluded' tribes

Published 07/01/2016 | 09:53

The Himba tribe
The Himba tribe
The Karo tribe
The Turkana tribe
The Mursi tribe
The Arbore tribe
The Daasanach tribe
The Wodaabe tribe

A Hungarian woman has attracted ire online after using seven different types of blackface in a blog post to 'raise awareness' of 'secluded' African cultures.

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Hungarian journalist Boglarka Balogh(34),  transformed herself into seven different African tribes with the help of photoshop and a graphic designer.

The journalist writes about human rights issues and says she was inspired by her time spent in "various African countries where I became fully aware of the issues regarding a number of endangered tribes, and the speed at which they are fading away".

With each transformation, Balogh includes information about the tribe in question. Each image was modelled using a picture of a woman from the tribe.

Reaction to the piece was mixed, with Balogh's fans on her Facebook applauding her for the campaign.

Website comments, however, were almost uniformly against the piece. One commenter explained the reaction, writing "Yikes. Totally get that people want to raise awareness and that's great. Using blackface isn't the way to do it though".

Another wrote "You are performing blackface. You do not need to be the visual intermediary between the West and these beautiful African women. Your blackface part in this is totally unnecessary and codes as racist. You do not get to appropriate the culture of these women for your art".

A woman claiming to be related to women in a number of the tribes wrote that she was "absolutely appalled at your nerve".

"While we are out here being killed over our dark skins, being deemed inferior because of our cultures, you think being an African woman is a costume you get to put on and take off!"

"These are not your people, this is not your history... we are not costumes".

The article was submitted to the website 'Bored Panda' through their public submission form. It has been viewed over 130,000 times.

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