Jan. 17, 2012 at 3:31 PM ET
Did Beyoncé opt for a lighter shade on her newest album promo ad? The new mom is being heavily criticized for what appears to be artificially lightened skin on the cover of her album “4.” The scantily-clad singer is shown posing in a sexy bodysuit, resting on a leopard skin sofa, with her face a noticeably lighter color than the bottom half of her body. Critics are concerned the ad is reminiscent of the pop star’s 2008 controversy, in which L’Oreal was accused of altering her skin tone in Feria hair color advertisements.
“It appears Beyoncé — or her producers — have not learned their lesson,” writes the Daily Mail.
(At the time, L’Oreal denied digitally making Beyonce’s skin fairer, and Beyonce herself never addressed the issue.)
Others, however, are defending the new album promo, stating that the altered color is likely the result of harsh studio lighting. “The photographer probably got his lighting kit too close to Beyonce’s upper half and washed her out a touch too much,” writes Styleite.com. “Beyonce has never been more herself or more in control of her image than she is right now…We just don’t think she would lie about herself to promote something so real by altering the way she looks.”
Skin lightening in the magazine and ad industry has become a big issue in recent years, with stars such as Gabourey Sidibe, Freida Pinto and Aishwarya Rai stuck in the middle of it. As the Huffington Post pointed out, it’s still a highly-controversial issue that requires the outmost in sensitivity.
"Colorism is unfortunately still an issue today. Dark skin is considered less than light skin in the in the minds of many in our community and in the media," Bill Duke and D. Channsin Berry, co-directors and co-producers of the documentary "Dark Girls," told The Grio.
What do you think? Does Beyonce look much lighter?
Rina Raphael is a TODAY.com editor who once proudly spent two months mastering the "Single Ladies" dance.