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A makeup artist apologized after being accused of ‘blackface’ in controversial Instagram post

With the rise of beauty tutorials, there has also been an unfortunate increase in allegations surrounding cultural appropriation.

Incidents involving white models, celebrities, and fashion brands now dominate headlines, resulting in some policymakers pushing to make the act punishable by law. While borrowing someone else’s culture isn’t illegal, people on the internet are often quick to call out these situations.

Turkish beauty blogger and SFX (special effects) makeup artist Perçem Akin is the latest social media user to be accused of “blackface.” The news — which we first read about on Teen Vogue— comes after she shared a photo on September 25 that showed her wearing dark makeup and a turban headwrap. “Color and Pain. My Lovely Black Beauty Transformation Make up [sic],” Akin wrote in the caption.

Her Instagram account has since been made private; however, screenshots of what is believed to be Akin’s original post still appear online.

Aside from the photo itself, some people claim that the blogger used a series of offensive hashtags including #slave and #sadmakeup.

Amid the controversy, Akin provided INSIDER with a written statement that she originally gave to BuzzFeed on September 27. She said she created the makeup look for an unnamed “movie character” upon request; it was not a makeup tutorial. Akin said that she never intended to mock “dark skinned people,” but rather she wanted to honor “their power and beauty.”

“Firs [sic] of all, I have never ever record any Halloween video of this work. I can prove it Youtube Official history logs,” Akin wrote. “This post is for a movie character in my country.”

Akin said she was asked by a director to create the makeup look for a movie about the global rise of racism.

To clear up any confusion as to why she didn’t employ the help of a black model, Akin said: “We are not living in America or Africa, so finding any black model is so difficult in here.” Furthermore, she said that she never considered her makeup look to be racist. “I just try to see pure beauty behind the pain who have it,” she wrote in reference to people with deeper skin tones.

Regarding Akin’s alleged use of the hashtag #slave, she claimed that someone else digitally altered a screenshot of her post and she’s taking legal action against them.

“I never use hashtags #slave, never ever. My hashtags is #slayer which is the tittle [sic] of the movie,” Akin wrote. “Someone in my country has changed this and started all this against [sic] to me and I am taking a legal action aganist [sic] to them now.”

In her statement, Akin apologized to anyone she had offended. She also said that she’s received “so many supporting email and messages” from social media users worldwide.

“I am deeply sorry If I hurt all those people,” she wrote. “According to me, all those dark skinned people have pure beauty, power and Strength especially the Women have it!! I have always see like that and I will always see like that forever.”




Body Positivity Activist Instagrams About Makeup-Shaming

While wearing makeup is an entirely personal choice, many seem to feel that anyone who swipes on foundation or lipstick is using it as a crutch or mask. If you’ve ever had someone suggest that your choice to wear makeup means you’re uncomfortable with your appearance, you’ll appreciate body positivity activist Michelle Elman’s latest post. Michelle recently shared a side-by-side photo of her face cut in half to prove an important point. On the left, she wore almost no makeup, while on the right, she applied much more. “Body positive,” she captioned one side. “Still body positive,” she added on the other.

Michelle’s Instagram raises an important point: that the prevalence of makeup-shaming suggests there is something wrong with visibly touting your use of cosmetics. But, as she so effectively proved here, the products you apply to your face have nothing to do with how you feel about yourself. “Body positive women wear makeup all the time,” she pointed out in her post. “The difference is that we aren’t reliant on wearing it. We don’t NEED it to feel beautiful because we know we are inherently beautiful with or without it.” As she went on to say, body positivity is ultimately about having a choice when it comes to creating and owning your look. As for whether that looks incorporates dewy skincare, microbladed brows, or a statement lip, it’s entirely up to you — and no one should be able to tell you otherwise.