@redrawnoxen here, aka Roxanne Palmer / Roxy Drew. I wanted to post an extended apology thing that wouldn’t get lost in the Twitter ether.
1) To get right to the point: I whitewashed the actress Lupita Nyong’o when I painted her for Newsweek’s Oscars livedraw. It was wrong, and I’m sorry. The fault was mine, and mine alone. I don’t want anyone to try and make excuses for me – I’m a professional, I was using a big media platform, my work should be held to certain standards.
To all the people who were criticizing the drawing on Twitter / Tumblr et al: I hear you, and your critiques are totally valid and right.
Here’s an updated version of the drawing I did:
Art can uplift, but it can also oppress, and I fell on the other side of the equation in this instance. I will try my best to be better in the future.
2) Some people (let’s be honest, some white people) that I’ve talked to don’t quite get what the big deal is. Whitewashing is one of those insidious forms of racism that we white folks sometimes don’t see or want to see; it stems from the whole colorist paradigm that favors lighter skin over darker skin (see: paper bag tests; skin-lightening/bleaching creams; etc.).
In art and media, whitewashing can take the form of: skin lightening with Photoshop on magazine covers; white actors being cast as minorities; white models being used on the covers of books with protagonists of color; artists depicting characters and people of color as lighter than they actually are (guilty); and loads more.
In all these forms, whitewashing in media further dilutes the representation of folks of color. And representation is SO important! Just read Ms. Nyong’o’s speech from an Essence luncheon to get some perspective. Lupita Nyong’o winning the Oscar for Best Actress matters, and portraying her accurately matters.
3) In the interest of further trying to make some amends… if you’re a black lady illustrator or comic artist, and you’re looking for more professional contacts, please feel free to hit me up. I’m not the most well-connected gal in the biz (I’ve only been getting semi-regular freelance art jobs for about half a year) but I do know a few people at some publications that could use more voices of color.
Anyway, that’s my spiel for now. I hope you all are well.