Asian Woman Recreates Kobe Bryant With Makeup And People Are Calling It "Blackface"

A video of an Asian woman who transformed into Kobe Bryant with makeup has gone viral on social media. The post has spurred a debate on "blackface" on Twitter, with some people arguing that it's "art" and therefore not "racist."

By Nicole Dominique2 min read

A viral video of an Asian woman who famously recreated Kobe Bryant with her impressive makeup skills has resurfaced on social media. The video, uploaded to TikTok by @easy_baobo, fueled debates on whether or not her actions were offensive. Some people say that she performed "blackface," a form of theatrical and exaggerated makeup done by non-black people to depict a caricature of a black person.

@CamCWFL added his two cents in the comment section, writing, "It’s absolutely blackface come on."

"This is just pure racism," says @feelingmajestic.

@AshleyDCan seems to agree. "they are calling it blackface because it is literally blackface," she says.

Others in the Twitter audience believe the woman's transformation is not considered "blackface," and that she's just trying to show off her artistic talent. "I wouldn't consider this blackface. She's a makeup artist showing how talented she is at her craft," writes @NieceyNichole1.

"She did nothing wrong," adds @EShunESPN.

"Shouldn't intent matter? asks @CraigRozniecki. "While this may technically be 'blackface,' the intent seems to be to honor, as opposed to mock and demean."

One account – @p9cker_girl – decided to show some examples of actual blackface and provided photos of celebrities like Jimmy Kimmel and Judy Garland who portrayed black people in a dehumanizing manner. Garland's infamous photo shows her with braids, exaggerated lips, and dark foundation from the 1938 film Everybody Sing, just two years before her rise to fame with The Wizard Of Oz.

Unlike the makeup artist in the viral TikTok, Garland played a fictional character in a minstrel show. Minstrelsy emerged in the early 1800s as a form of entertainment that affirmed the racist beliefs in America. The foul depictions of black people and the demeaning dances and songs constitute blackface – recreating a look of a famous individual to show off your makeup skills is not.

@easy_baobo easily proves she's not trying to be offensive by transitioning into other celebrities. For example, she did a similar video for Carol's Cate Blanchett.

Is it possible we're going too far with the victimized and oppressed mindset? Like a plot straight out of South Park, some Native Americans called for the cancellation of Avatar: Way of Water for cultural appropriation in December 2022. One woman even described the film as "blueface."

A couple of weeks ago, a woman came under fire for condemning her immigrant taxi driver for "racism" when he asked her where she was from. She uploaded the video, seemingly thinking the internet was going to be on her side. When users called her out for being overly sensitive for no reason, and that the driver was innocent, she took down the video and apologized.

This watering down of terms like "racism" can harm society's ability to address and combat genuine acts of discrimination. People have gone too far by labeling everything as problematic, racist, and all the words that end with "phobic." What most people don't realize is this: By not being so reactive and actually considering the context in every situation, we have a higher chance of combatting discrimination together.

Evie deserves to be heard. Support our cause and help women reclaim their femininity by subscribing today.