During Milan Fashion Week's fall 2015 presentations, designer Claudio Cutugno sent models down the runway with their eyes and necks painted black, with glitter on top. He was apparently inspired by the artist Emilio Isgrò, who creates art with bees. The paint was meant to make the models appear as if they were being swarmed by insects. Excuse our language, but what the ever-loving fuck? Was there no one backstage who thought, "Hey, you know what else this kind of looks like?" Putting glitter on top of black paint does not even remotely take away the insulting nature of this practice. The fact that, in 2015, we even have to publish an article pointing out the problem with this makeup is smack-our-heads-against-our-desks frustrating. Why do people keep doing this? It must be knowingly and for the attention, because we can't imagine that there is really anyone out there ignorant enough to think that this has no racist connotations. Can't we all just agree that there's no place for blackface as a form of artistic expression? Look, we're not here to say that the folks over at Claudio Cutugno were purposefully trying to be offensive. But, intent has nothing to do with whether something is offensive — which is exactly why Giuliana Rancic's ignorant comments about Zendaya's locs during the Oscars' red carpet were not well-received. Just because racism wasn't the intent doesn't mean the comments aren't harmful to the ongoing conversation we are trying to have about race. In fact, misguided, rash comments and actions like these are almost worse, because they just prove how out of touch our society still is: If you don't see the problem, then there's no way in hell we're going to get closer to a solution. This isn't an issue we should still be having, and yet, here we are. The conversation has to continue because people still, somehow, haven't realized that this — all of this — is a problem. It's the definition of insanity — doing something over and over again and expecting a different result. Honestly, we're kind of giving up on this week. Too much ugliness has gone down for us to be all "Hooray, everything!" Can someone wake us up when people start coming to their senses?
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