Luann de Lesseps Defends Herself Against Blackface Backlash
Luann de Lesseps has walked smack dab into yet another scandal.
But we guess the reality star should be grateful that she didn't stumble into it drunkenly.
About three months after de Lesseps got arrested in Florida for some very wasted behavior, the veteran Bravo personality has once again found herself the subject of backlash.
On Wednesday night's Real Housewives of New York City premiere, Luann attended a Halloween party dressed like legendary singer Diana Ross.
(Yes, the episode was filmed way back in October.)
It was a unique costume, that's for sure, but it didn't take long for folks on the Internet to find a pretty big problem with it:
de Lesseps is white. Ross is black.
The former rocked a revealing dress and a giant afro wig for the occasion, and also clearly darkened her skin in some way.
And it was this latter move that has sparked an outcry of "BLACKFACE!" from many viewers and social media users.
(Blackface was a popular form of theatrical make-up used predominantly by non-black performers in the 19th century and early 20th century; it contributed, both then and now, to the spread of various racial stereotypes.)
Aware of the chatter surrounding her ensemble, Luann explained to Entertainment Tonight that she didn't actually paint her face black.
"I had makeup on, but not anything that would make me look -- I had like, tanning cream on,” she told Nischelle Turner, adding that she doesn't agree with the criticism that has come her way as a result of the costume.
However, "I get it," she notes.
de Lesseps first heard from critics of this look back in November when she shared the above photo on Instagram.
But the issue has now come back up due to the aforementioned Season 10 premiere.
Appearing after the episode aired on Watch What Happens Live, Luann said she "horrified," by the negative reaction, adding:
"I never meant to hurt anybody’s feelings. I love Diana Ross and I totally respect Diana Ross. It was really kind of a tribute to her, and it was Halloween.”
At some point, perhaps, celebrity will realize that dressing up as other celebrities isn't really a tribute of any kind.
Kourtney Kardashian learned this lesson the hard way back when she dressed up like Michael Jackson for Halloween.
"I had bronzer on that I wear normally like the rest of my skin. I’m tan, like right now,” de Lesseps also told Andy Cohen on air, prior to apologizing for real:
"I didn’t add anything to or would ever, ever, ever dream of doing a blackface, ever. I’m very sorry to everyone out there if I offended anyone."
And just to drive her point home, Luanna added the following on Twitter:
"I would like to clear the air, I love and respect Diana Ross, this was my tribute to her I was showing my sincere admiration.
"I in no way altered my skin color and I did not mean to offend anyone."
We believe her.
We aren't all that mad anymore.
But it's a pretty simple lesson for all to heed in the end:
If you are white, do not dress up for Halloween like a black person. Case closed. It isn't that complicated.