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Chinese Makeup Artist’s Tribute to Kobe Bryant Divides Opinion on the Internet

A Chinese makeup artist transformed herself into an 18-year-old Kobe Bryant. Video of the makeup transformation soon went viral on TikTok and other social media platforms and was met with a polarized and divided response.

The video, which was made a year earlier, but resurfaced with a viral response this week, was made by TikTok Influencer @Easy_BaoBo who is known for her transforming herself into American celebrities with her makeup work.

Quite a few social media users were upset with the video and found it disrespectful to the beloved 18-time NBA All-Star who lost his life in a tragic helicopter incident along with his daughter in January 2020 at the age of 41. Accusing the artist of ‘blackface,’ she was blasted for what some thought is ‘blatant racism’ for clout.

“This is blackface. Whether the intention is cruel or not, she is benefitting from Black suffrage. She is using Black pain as an art form that does not come from her culture. And making money whilst so….this got them the clout they were looking for,” one user quipped.

“When you see something this blatant, it is almost ALWAYS for clout. It’s racist, obviously. But it’s racism for clout,” another user said.

“Blackface always had the intention to insult or ridicule Black people. Definitely not the case here,” another person noted.

Quite a few others saw the video as a tribute to the slain star and praised Baobo for her skill.

“ffs what this woman did was a tribute to Kobe Bryant NOT Blackface here’s the definition and history of ACTUAL Blackface with some examples,” one woman said posting a photo of Jimmy Fallon, Billy Crystal, Jimmy Kimmel, Joy Behar, Ted Danson and Judy Garland doing the blackface.

“No blackface is defined as using makeup to look like a CARICATURE of a black person. This is not a caricature this is just a literal representation of kobe. My god yall,” another user pointed out. The user put up a definition of Blackface from Wikipedia which goes as follows:

“Blackface is a form of theatrical makeup used predominantly by non-black people to portray a caricature of a black person.”

As per the user, since there was no intention of caricaturing Kobe Bryant involved, the video cannot be labeled ‘blackface.’

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Written by Jamil Johnson