Beyonce Knowles

BY Joyce Chen

Beyoncé’s latest photo shoot came under fire Wednesday when images of the singer’s famous face appeared in the pages of a French fashion magazine – covered in dark paint.

L’Officiel Paris chose the diva to don different colorful garbs and headpieces in a nod to Nigerian musician and human rights activist Fela Kuti in an “African Queen”-themed 90th anniversary issue.

The singer reportedly went to see the Broadway show “Fela!” – for which Jay-Z is a co-producer – and was so inspired by the music that she’s even incorporated the legendary musician’s sounds in her upcoming album.

Critics, however, quickly raised their eyebrows – and voices – in protest over what they deemed another instance of offensive blackface for the sake of fashion, while fans of the shoot argued that the look had artistic value.

The publication issued a statement, asserting that Beyoncé was “voluntarily darkened” and that the entire shoot was a tribute to the star’s “African roots.”

“The designs are all reflective of the African influence on fashion this season,” the magazine said in a statement. “As for the artistic make-up, the inspiration came from several African rituals during which paint is used on the face.

“We find the images beautiful and inspiring,” the editors said, defending their decision.

No one from Beyoncé’s camp has yet spoken out in response to the Internet buzz.

This isn’t the first time the “Crazy in Love” singer has sparked controversy over her altered skin color. In 2008, cosmetic brand L’Oreal was slammed for allegedly lightening the singer’s skin tone in the brand’s ad.

Is this art in its purest sense? This was supposed to be an editorial style story, but I just gotta say. This girl has lost her mind. Of course they have to paint her black, that wench don’t even know what color she is. And then on top of that, she has long straight blonde hair. Are you serious? Beyonce Knowles trying to get in touch with her “African Roots”? That girl couldn’t even find AFRICA ON A MAP. I’m so sick of it. Fine you wanna be white, do it, apparently, anybody can bleach their skin, this is over the top. Just another classic case of a woman who was given gifts…let me say it this way, God giving his pearls to swine.