While most people know that painting one’s white face to look black is called blackface and is not something that should be done, apparently there is one beauty blogger that is “unaware.”
YouTube blogger Vika Shapel thought it would be cute for white women to cover themselves in brown makeup, she called it the Chocolate Challenge. She didn’t just encourage it, she made it into a contest.
In an Instagram post promoting her idea, Shapel tells followers to watch her transform her “pasty pale” skin into “deep chocolate skin tones,” all while she and her equally white friend have half their faces covered in brown makeup. The pair even went so far as to photoshop the color of their eyes on the brown side.
The photo of the two women in half-blackface quickly went viral, sparking outrage. After the flood of criticism, Shapel took down the photo and deactivated her social media accounts, including her YouTube channel.
That didn’t stop YouTuber Arnell Armon from reposting it while blasting Shapel for trying to turn blackface into a fun challenge.
So @vika97662612 decided to post this picture which is clearly blackface & she decided to call it "the chocolate challenge" pic.twitter.com/O4NutrEtTH
— Arnell (@arnellarmon) July 9, 2017
Shapel spoke to Yahoo Beauty on Monday and in that interview, she said she wasn’t aware of the historically oppressive makeup trend before she started her contest.
“I simply wanted to see how I looked in a deeper skin tone,” she said. “I wasn’t aware of the whole blackface concept before people began commenting it on the photo. I would like to apologize to people that were hurt or offended by my post, and it won’t happen again.”
Even after her apology many on social media are not ready to cut her a break. They are still troubled by her inability to see how culturally insensitive and discriminatory her challenge was see as by audiences.
It’s simply too hard for many to believe Shapel hadn’t seen the national coverage of Kim Kardashian getting flak in June for an ad in which she appeared to be wearing blackface. Or all the stories that came out last Halloween about partygoers wearing blackface in several major US cities.
oh wow she even gave the "chocolate" side brown eyes .
— Princess Mawi (@Mawiella) July 9, 2017
Why?! What do I have to do to convince people that my skin tone is not a trend/a mask/a makeup challenge/ a new concept for entertainment?!
— • A R I E L L E • (@ArielleMonai) July 9, 2017
this "challenge" doesn't exist because people have common sense???? the disrespect… pic.twitter.com/j1SEXPdWhr
— Jasmine Brown (@JasMeannnn) July 9, 2017
With brown eyes in the "chocolate" side? This shit is racist as fuck.
— ^V^ Jenny ? (@Valress) July 9, 2017
I just reported it and I tried to scroll down then refresh and she went private, it literally happened in a span of 30 seconds pic.twitter.com/G4Ya0FjQqg
— ✊??? (@wordtogloria) July 9, 2017
@vika97662612 so you're not gonna respond to our questions,comments and concerns regarding your Chocolate Challenge? pic.twitter.com/9LDU66JWhG
— Kenyatta Lisa ? (@kenyattalisaxo) July 9, 2017
@vika97662612 you don't get points for doing blackface and trying to call it the chocolate challenge. Just stop.
— Sol Badguy (@agent_ryan013) July 9, 2017