A new Urban Decay collaboration with the late Jean-Michel Basquiat's estate is turning heads, but not for all the right reasons.
The makeup company unveiled the new cosmetics line earlier this week and tapped brand spokesperson Ruby Rose as the face of the campaign. "Like Urban Decay, Jean-Michel Basquiat was an outsider who challenged the status quo and used color in nontraditional ways," Urban Decay said in a statement to Dazed, "from informal graffiti work and the way he mixed mediums and colors to the way he spoke out against social injustice, it's hard to imagine a more perfect fit for our brand."
Unfortunately, Twitter didn't share the brand's enthusiasm about the collab, calling out the glaring fact that Basquiat, who constantly called out American's consumerism and lack of black representation, wouldn't want to be part of a product line like this, and that Ruby Rose isn't the one who should be honoring him.
The Cut spoke with David Stark, who has headed the creative firm that manages licensing of Basquiat's work, asking him about the backlash that's come with the campaign announcement. "As far as looking at Jean-Michel as an individual, people would very often try to pigeonhole him and call him a black artist," he said, "and Jean-Michel would say: 'I'm not a black artist, I'm an artist.'" He added, "In terms of an agenda as a black person or a black artist, it's hard to attribute that to him."