Story By: Sofija Dizdarevik, Sub-Editor: Michael Leidig, Agency: Newsflash
Two Russian models who posed in Beyonce’s new Ivy Park clothing line wearing tan with braided hair have reportedly been receiving death threats from BLM supporters.
Photos of Alena Melnikova, 29, who goes by the name Alena Biuni on Instagram and her model pal, identified as Anastasia Semenova, 33, posing in clothing from Beyonce’s Ivy Park brand has reportedly angered Black Lives Matter (BLM) supporters who said their use of self-tanning techniques and African hairstyles was racist and ‘blackface’.
The models organised the photoshoot and posted the images themselves, however, Ivy Park representatives were so impressed they reportedly shared them on their official page as well.
As a result, the models claim that BLM activists are sending them death threats on social media.
Anastasia said: “They are constantly bombarding us with personal messages, or putting notes in the comments section saying that we should be killed or beaten.”
She shared with Newsflash screens with comments like “go kill yourself”, “you don’t deserve to live” and “I will make you pay this”, and some alleged BLM representatives even claim to have found her home address.
The models, who are from the Russian city of Krasnador, published the photo on 4th December. Representatives of the brand liked them so much that the pictures were then shared on their official page before removing them after a storm of complaints.
For the photoshoot, the models reportedly used tanning products, and African braids were woven for one of them while lush curls were styled for the other. The looks were complemented by high heels and gold accessories.
The models, who consider themselves huge Beyonce fans, have mixed roots, Anastasia is half Georgian, and Alena has a gypsy background.
The two young women and the brand itself quickly came under fire for allowing what BLM critics said was blatant racism.
Alena told Newsflash: “Cyber-bullying hit me for the first time. Fortunately, there are people from the US who support us. We have received messages from African-Americans who see nothing wrong with the fact that we are tanned and made braids and afro-curls.”
The two young women also received a lot of support in Russia, but brand representatives still decided not to risk it and deleted the pictures from the official account, according to Russian media.
The brand has so far not commented on the online row.
Anastasia said she was saddened by the decision to remove the photos and added that she wears clothing simply because she likes it, and she enjoys listening to Beyonce.
The young women said that they repeatedly tried to explain to critics that they simply dressed the way that made them feel good.
They also argued that braids were common in many cultures, not just in Africa.
Anastasia said: “We tried to explain to them that Uzbek women wore braids, that Vikings wore braids.
Alena told Newsflash: “In most cases we managed to ignore the comments, and those who reach out to us politely and look for understanding are the ones we write to, explaining our point of view.”
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