Italian artist Vanessa Beecroft, a frequent collaborator of Kayne West’s, drew the ire of Black Twitter when she believed she was Black. Beecroft has teamed with Kanye West on all of his Yeezy fashion shows, which date back to almost a decade ago.
In an interview with New York Magazine, the 47-year-old said she has separated her personality into a white woman and a Black man.
“There is Vanessa Beecroft as a European white female, and then there is Vanessa Beecroft as Kanye, an African-American male,” she said.
The separation led her to test her genetics to see if she had any Black ancestry because of her transformation.
“I even did a DNA test thinking maybe I am Black? I actually wasn’t,” Beecroft explained. “I was kind of disappointed, and I don’t want to believe it. I want to do it again, because when I work with Africans or African-Americans, I feel that I am autobiographical. If I don’t call myself white, maybe I am not.”
She also revealed she decided to become Black after meeting a bluesman in Europe.
“My first Black project was originated by the fact that I met a bluesman from Chicago in Italy and he was white and he was really, really upset by being white,” she explained. “He kept saying, ‘If only I was Black.’ He felt discriminated against. And that really triggered something for me. I said, ‘I’m going to be Black, too,’ ”
Black Twitter reacted swiftly to the performance artist’s assertion.
@llerameilla didn’t think Beecroft was serious.
vanessa beecroft can't honestly think she's black because she's been working with kanye….
— ㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤㅤ (@llerameilla) August 9, 2016
Farhia Tato compared the Los Angeles-based artist to Rachel Dolezal, the white woman who claimed to be a transracial Black woman.
someone pls photoshop rachel dolezal crying on vanessa beecroft's face.
— Farhia Tato (@fureeah) August 9, 2016
Alexander II compared Beecroft to a broken smartphone.
Just read an interview/profile on Vanessa Beecroft.
She's clearly broken.
Someone please put her in rice.
— Alexander II (@Alex2Akande) August 9, 2016
Twitter also reacted to Beecroft’s confession about what inspired the “Yeezy Season 3” fashion show in February – a photo of Rwandan refugees. The performance featured dyed clothing from Adidas and the thrift store.
“The image came out of one of my books, and I thought, ‘Perhaps this is Woodstock,’ because it looked really fashionable and glamorous, but no,” she told the magazine. “That was a refugee camp … I wanted the people to look poor. Poverty and elegance were the keywords. Poverty and elegance.”
The remark left @LoudBlackWomanX speechless.
— Madame Wellington S (@LoudBlackWomanX) August 9, 2016
This is not the first time Beecroft has mentioned she was Black. In an interview with W magazine earlier this year, she said collaborating with Kanye rather than creating her own gallery work allows her to become “free from the schemes of the art world.”
“I am protected by Kanye’s talent. I become Black. I am no longer Vanessa Beecroft, and I am free to do whatever I want because Kanye allows it.”