Some say the minstrel-like image, in a window at Asian-owned C&C Beauty & Beyond store at 5300 Memorial Drive in Stone Mountain, harkens to the racist “blackface” era of American theater, in which white performers donned black makeup to create caricatures of black people.
Min. Muhammad Abdullah of Decatur called the poster “offensive.”
“It’s an outrage,” he said. “It’s despicable. It’s horrible. It should be removed.”
Alfanso Mallory, who heard about the window display in the Memorial Bend Shopping Center and stopped by to see it, said it reminded him of the dark days of slavery and segregation when white people dressed in black face and made fun of black people.
“That’s how they portrayed black folks, with big white lips and wide mouths,” he said. “They put the accent on the lips and the eyes. It reminds you of that time.”
The poster said “Outre” on its bottom right corner and on the left, “Surprise Quality You Won’t Believe.”
Store manager Larry Moon, who is Asian and runs the store, said the poster has been up about two and a half weeks.
He said he hasn’t received any complaints about it and didn’t understand why African Americans could be upset about the images.
Moon said the poster was sent to him by Outre, which packages a brand of human and synthetic hair sold by the store.
He said that he didn’t order the poster.
“They just send us whatever they have,” he said. “If people really think that way, I can call the company and have them send us another.”
Brittany Kelley, who was walking by the store window, said it looked scary.
“The makeup is ugly,” said Kelley, who is 24. “I just don’t like white lips. It just looks evil.”
Her friend Marquitta Brown, 23, said she didn’t know what the images meant.
Brown said she actually liked store because it always has images of African Americans, while some others don’t.
“That one is just not cute to me,” she said.
Naomi Brown of Lawrence, who was on her way from the store, said she didn’t like the makeup on the models but wasn’t offended.
“The white lips look scary,” she said.
Blackface, which was a form of theatrical makeup used in minstrel shows and later in vaudeville, created a stereotyped caricature of black people as the "happy-go-lucky darky on the plantation" or the "dandified coon."
From the 1830s to the early in the 20th century, blackface minstrel shows were the national art of the time. In later years, blacks also dressed in blackface for stage shows that demeaned black people. The era ended in the United States with the U.S. Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
Representatives of Carlstadt, N.J.-based Sun Taiyang Co.,Ltd. / Outre Hair Co., which distributed the poster, did not return a telephone call.
A man who answered the telephone said the managers were away on a business trip.