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The Beyoncé Wax Figure, Sans Melanin, Just Got a Much-Needed Makeover

We asked for Beyoncé, not Barbie.

We love any image of Queen Bey, whether it be IRL or as a wax figure. So we were excited to hear about a new Beyoncé piece at the Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in Manhattan. That is…until we saw it.

Instead of resembling the Lemonade star, the wax figure looked like Mean Girls era Lindsay Lohan meets bedazzled white girl. The model’s fierce stance was the only thing about the model that reminded us of Beyoncé. When fans got a hold of the pic, the Internet started asking why the museum depicted Beyoncé as a white woman.

After an ocean of complaints, the old (white) Beyoncé figure went missing from the museum. When the new-and-improved wax figure returned a day later, Beyoncé had clearly been retouched – she appeared darker. The museum said, “We love, respect and enjoy a working relationship with Beyoncé. We have adjusted the styling and lighting of her figure and she is on display.”

This isn’t the first time the artist has been white-washed. In 2008, L’Oreal was accused of lightening Beyoncé’s skin tone for a series of ads.


This goes deeper than just a few ads, and it goes deeper than Madame Tussauds’ pathetic excuse (editing and lighting malfunctions). Beyoncé’s achievements illustrate Black excellence in America.

Lemonade – especially the visual representation of the album – tells a narrative about blackness, about slavery, about femininity, and about Beyoncé’s Southern roots. This Malcolm X speech, which Bey sampled in Lemonade, epitomizes the theme of the album: 

The most disrespected person in America is the black woman.

The most unprotected person in America is the black woman.

The most neglected person in America is the black woman.

Earlier this year, after the tragic death of Prince, the media tried to ignore his blackness when they said, “Prince transcended race.” HuffPost responded:

“Blackness seeped through every facet of Prince’s life, from his music to his charity work; disregarding it is disrespectful to his legacy. He was black and he wasn’t afraid to showcase it for the world to see.”

The same goes for B. We don’t need another Taylor Swift, so Hollywood better stop trying to create one out of Beyoncé.

Cover image via YouTube


Also published on Medium.

Journalism/Op-Ed Intern for Metiza. Originally from Providence, Rhode...