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Why Do Fans Think Beyoncé Bleached Her Skin?

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Beyoncé should be celebrating the impending release of her new Renaissance film, which hits theaters on December 1, but instead, she’s once again dealing with malicious rumors about her being propagated by gossip blogs. The rumor in this case is that the “Break My Soul” singer has been lightening her skin in photos, with some sources even going so far as accusing her of bleaching her skin.

The rumors got so bad that Beyoncé’s mother Tina Knowles addressed them on Instagram, calling the people who believe or promote them “losers” and “bozos.” So, why do people think that Beyoncé bleaches her skin? Although the rumor goes back quite a bit (since at least 2011, when this South African site posted the question), the latest round began when Beyoncé posted a photo of herself from the Renaissance movie premiere in LA on her “silver carpet,” wearing an appropriately shiny gown and a platinum wig.

Now, anyone who knows anything about photography (which should be all of us, considering we’re all walking around with $1,000-dollar digital cameras in our pockets… and yet) knows that lighting (including flashes), camera settings (such as exposure timing), backgrounds, and even wardrobe can affect the way photos turn out. In this case, you’ve got a powerful flash to capture a wide variety of skin tones, including the very dark ones of the biggest Beyoncé fans expected to be in attendance, with a reflective surrounding (the sliver carpet and background), and even reflective clothing all throwing a lot of light around.

This combined, with Beyoncé’s naturally lighter skin shade (something this writer can relate to) means that the final product accented the highlights already present, making the superstar look ghostly and ethereal — an effect she might well have been going for, considering the “Alien Superstar” theme of her wardrobe. For what it’s worth, Uproxx’s editor Phil shared one of his photos from the event with the team on Slack and he could have passed for a mustached Casper the Friendly Ghost, so logically, the same would happen to Beyoncé.

As for why this rumor has persisted for so long, similar instances have seen a lot of variation in images of Beyoncé online, from advertisers retouching her image to the differences between photographers and settings for magazine shoots (which prompted Beyoncé to begin using her own team in a lot of cases). She’s also a global superstar whose music touches cultures where skin-lightening products are tragically still considered a beauty standard. Unfortunately, some folks on the internet are always going to look for the most dramatic (or meanest) explanation, rather than the one that makes the most sense, so there are some rather ungenerous interpretations out there. As always, consider the source before sharing.