Chinese makeup artist accused of ‘blackface’ after Kobe Bryant tribute resurfaces
A Chinese makeup artist has been accused of "blackface" after her transformation video tributes to the late Kobe Bryant recently resurfaced.
The videos ignited several discussions on Twitter after media outlet Daily Loud posted about one of TikTok user @easy_baobo’s videos about Bryant, who died following a helicopter crash in January 2020. He was 41 years old.
Woman disturbingly recreates Kobe Bryant people are calling it “blackface” pic.twitter.com/OiXGkXX2H6
— Daily Loud (@DailyLoud) May 23, 2023
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In @easy_baobo’s videos, which were originally posted in May 2022, she highlights how she made herself look like the late NBA star by using makeup to darken her complexion.
She can also be seen adding more makeup to make it appear as if she has facial hair.
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@easy_baobo Kobe is forever in my heart #fyp #foryou #foryoupage #kobebryant24 ♬ original sound - easy_baobo
“Kobe is forever in my heart,” @easy_baobo wrote in the description of one of her May 2022 TikTok videos. “[Imitation] makeup not imitating people just respect.”
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While the makeup artist's tribute videos to the late Los Angeles Lakers player were posted on TikTok last year, she previously posted them on Douyin in December 2020.
Several TikTok users accused @easy_baobo of “blackface” in the comment sections of her TikTok posts.
“U need help,” one user commented, while another wrote, “No no no. I understand the reason, but no.”
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“Nah this ain’t it,” another user said. “If you respect Kobe please take this down it’s distasteful. IDC how it was meant, cosplaying as a Black man is not cool.”
More social media users were left outraged after the video was reshared by Daily Loud on Twitter on Tuesday.
“Blackface is blackface regardless of look or intent,” one Twitter user wrote in response to another user’s comment on Daily Loud’s tweet. “Minstrel (the form of blackface you show in the second image) is a form of blackface that is done up in an exaggerated style. Both are blackface, just in different forms.”
“That is the definition of black face, just saying in 4K,” another Twitter user commented.
“What inspired her to do this?” another Twitter user asked. “Like do you just sit at home one day and while watching TV you're like yup I can turn myself into a black man with makeup??”
“She needs to be arrested and charged with a crime against humanity,” another Twitter user wrote.
Meanwhile, other Twitter users defended the woman and her intentions.
“Which is weird, considering this is an older video that went viral and earned more positive views than negative ones upon its release,” one user wrote. “I don't take offense to this or see this as blackface- I just see a makeup artist respectfully paying tribute to Kobe Bryant after his passing.”
“I speak for all black people when I say: 'We’ll allow it.' This is art,” another Twitter user declared.
“When I hear blackface, I think of the sh*t they used to do back in the day. With the red lips and the actual color black. People look at black face in any way shape or forms. In this one particularly. I don’t feel it’s the offensive version,” another user argued.
Besides Bryant, @easy_baobo has also created makeup transformation videos of other celebrities on Douyin.
Some of these notable figures include Eileen Gu, Avril Lavigne and Tilda Swinton.