Weeks after an Australian variety show made headlines around the world after a group of white performers donned blackface to perform as the Jackson brothers, Tyra Banks is making headlines herself for turning her latest “America’s Next Top Model” candidates bi-racial for a photo shoot.
During Wednesday night’s “ANTM” episode on The CW, Tyra took the remaining six young women of Cycle 13 to Hawaii, where she took pictures of the models after they were transformed into different races.
Tyra told bleach blonde Erin Wagner she was going to be “Tibetan, like the Dali Lama, and Egyptian”; Southern belle Laura Kirkpatrick was put into makeup to look “Mexican and Greek”; Jennifer An, who is Korean, was told she was going to be “Botswanan and Polynesian”; African-American Sundai Love was made to look “Moroccan and Russian”; redheaded Nicole Fox was “Malagasy and Japanese,” while blonde Brittany Markert was put into makeup to look “Native American and East Indian.”
While the only things that seemed to confuse the lithe models on the show were particulars about the countries, nationalities and races they were representing, some members of the press are calling foul.
E! News asked whether the shoot was “Racy or Racist?” noting the girls were “coated in creams to darken their skin tone.” Over at Entertainment Weekly, a writer noted that the models acted “like there’s nothing socially charged at all about race-as-costume.” And AOL TV, ran a recap under the headline “Tyra Banks Puts ‘Top Models’ In Blackface. When Did This Become OK?”
But while the current controversy is new, “America’s Next Top Model” has changed the skin tone of their models before, back during Season 4.
A rep for The CW had no comment when contacted by Access about the controversy.