Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman condemns the Kardashians for ‘modern day Blackface’ in eye-opening deconstruction of white supremacy

Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman

Gay Black model and Drag Race judge Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman has said he knew he would never work in certain markets because his “Blackness was not desirable”.

Bowyer-Chapman, who is a judge on Canada’s Drag Race, hit out at the “dangerously imbalanced” representation of Blackness in the fashion and entertainment industries in a statement posted to Twitter.

He said the world’s obsession with “Eurocentric” beauty standards is “just one branch of the insidious nature of white supremacy”.

“As a model, I knew that I was never going to work in certain fashion markets in the world because my Blackness was not valued or desirable,” he wrote.

“I would never be sent to Asia, Australia, certain European markets and even some American cities where my white counterparts would be booking contracts upwards of $50,000 because those markets did not photograph Black bodies or celebrate Black beauty, because Blackness in itself is often not deemed to be aspirational or acceptable.”

Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman criticised casting directors who pay people of colour less than their white counterparts.

Bowyer-Chapman said the global skin whitening industry is “worth nearly $13 billion globally” and that people of colour have been “brainwashed” into believing that they should strive to have “white features”.

Conversely, white people often appropriate Black beauty and have their features “injected into their own bodies resulting in plumper lips, pronounced cheekbones, fuller asses, rounder hips, braided hair, spray-tan stained skin,” he wrote.

He pointed to the Kardashian family and their reality television series as an example of the trend.

As a model, I knew that I was never going to work in certain fashion markets in the world because my Blackness was not valued or desirable.

The model said people who watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians condone their “blatant cultural appropriation” and “modern day Blackface”.

He went on to criticise casting directors “who refuse to pay BIPOC and LGBT+ folks equal dollars to our white, straight, cisgender counterparts”.

The Drag Race judge hit out at ‘performative’ inclusivity.

He continued: “So often the casting of Black people in TV/film/fashion is purely performative and we’re used as fronts for ‘inclusivity’ but are having to file for unemployment benefits after each job wraps while our white castmates are buying their second properties.

“In order for sustainable change to be made in regards to racial injustice we must expose ALL that needs to be exposed at this time.

“White people must be responsible for doing the work of re-educating yourselves and opening your eyes to the insanity of the system of white supremacy that we are all drowning in in order to be able to identify and call these instances out yourselves and demand for wrongs to be righted, now and always.”

He added: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, and there is an infinite number of injustices that need to be addressed if this world and we as a species are meant to ever truly heal.”