People Cry Whitewashing For This Alleged Beyoncé Wax Figure

July 20th 2017

Kyle Fitzpatrick

To many, Beyoncé is a national treasure.

Any action associated with the celebrity attracts attention, even when the star herself isn’t involved.

The latest news in Beyoncé world is particularly interesting: a wax figure of her is being accused of whitewashing.

New York City’s Madame Tussaud wax museum recently released a new figure in the likeness of Beyoncé.

While the figure is the general idea of the star, many fans have commented that this Beyoncé looks... different.

Some noted that the museum might have mistaken another celebrity’s wax figure for Beyoncé's.

What fans have been most alarmed by is how pale she looks: it appears the star's likeness has been whitewashed.

From her skin tone to her features, people have been accusing the museum of creating a Beyoncé image that strips her of her blackness.

Moreover, many were quick to call out how recreations of celebrities of color are typically whitened, to the chagrin of many, while white stars are always perfectly recreated.

Madame Tussaud’s has responded to the accusations of lightening the figure's skin.

In a statement given to The Wrap, the museum explained where the problem was coming from: the lights.

“At Madame Tussauds, our talented team of sculptors take every effort to ensure we accurately color match all of our wax figures to the celebrity being depicted,” a spokesperson explained.

“Lighting within the attraction combined with flash photography may distort and misrepresent the color of our wax figures,” the statement continued. “Which is something our sculptors are unable to account for at the production stage.”

While potentially an authentic lighting issue, matters like whitewashing even the likeness of a figure of color is a reminder of how the culture of people of color are often stripped for whiteness.

As it happens repeatedly in Hollywood, the act of whitewashing people and experiences of color usually can be seen as a misunderstanding of other cultures and a laziness in representing another group that a maker has no stake in. It gets back to an issue of representation related to Hollywood’s diversity problem.

Yes, this new Beyoncé wax figure is bad. It doesn't have to be this way, though.

The situation with this Beyoncé figure has been upsetting for many on social media but she isn’t alone in having a terrible likeness produced: poor wax figures are a dime a dozen. Still, bad Beyoncé figures have a canon of terrible and whitewashed figures unto themselves.

Thankfully, fans looking for an accurate, good looking Beyoncé should rest easy knowing: London has an accurate, non-whitewashed version of the star.