Beauty blogger Vika Shapel decided to start a YouTube makeup trend that she coined the “chocolate challenge,” and it’s going viral for all the wrong reasons.
Shapel, who is not black, recently posted a photo on Instagram of her and a friend with half of their faces painted dark. They took the half-face “chocolate challenge” a step further by adding bright eye shadow and false lashes, and changing their eye color to brown. Commenters are calling out the photo as a glaring example of blackface.
“Something fun is coming to YouTube, idk if there is a challenge like this but we haven’t seen it so Im calling it the chocolate challenge!” Shapel captioned her Instagram photo, which has since been deleted. “Come watch us transform into deep chocolate skin tones from our pasty pale.”
Commenters were quick to share their frustrations with this “challenge,” with a majority calling it an act of racism. After receiving backlash, Shapel removed the image and suspended her Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube accounts. Nevertheless, screenshots of the original photo quickly circulated on social media. Beauty blogger Arnell Armon reposted Shapel’s picture on Twitter, where it has since garnered more than 300 retweets and 85 comments.
Armon tweeted, “So @vika97662612 decided to post this picture which is clearly blackface & she decided to call it ‘the chocolate challenge.'”
Beauty blogger Jasmine Brown also reposted the picture on a Twitter thread, where it received attention from other users, and said, “This ‘challenge’ doesn’t exist because people have common sense the disrespect…”
Shapel apologized in a statement to Yahoo Beauty. “I simply wanted to see how I looked in a deeper skin tone,” she said. “I wasn’t aware of the whole blackface concept before people began commenting it on the photo. I would like to apologize to people that were hurt or offended by my post and it won’t happen again.”
Some people also called the other features Shapel wore on half of her face — like her brown eyes and tightly curled hair — an offensive attempt to mimic traditional traits and characteristics associated with the black community.
Why?! What do I have to do to convince people that my skin tone is not a trend/a mask/a makeup challenge/ a new concept for entertainment?!
— • A R I E L L E • (@ArielleMonai) 2017년 7월 9일
just saw a pic of these 2 ppl doing half of their face w/dark makeup & wanted to call it “the chocolate challenge”. Lord please help them😑😤
— Jasmine Brown (@JasMeannnn) 2017년 7월 9일
Cosmopolitan.com has reached out to Shapel for comment.