The Beyhive, always on the lookout for slights against its queen, noticed that a photo of Beyonce with husband Jay Z and then-President Barack Obama was recreated on a website as a drawing in which all three are depicted as Caucasian.
It accompanied an article titled “How to Become a Congressman.”
Wikihow turned Obama, Beyoncé, and Jay Z white to explain “How to become a congressman.” pic.twitter.com/QNTGz5wjaq
— FORMATION (@beyupdates_) January 22, 2017
The infraction occurred on the how-to website wikiHow, an online community which provides guides on how to do things and often uses cartoons to illustrate its step-by-step instructions. The drawing was whitewashed from a photo taken during a 2012 fundraising event.
WikiHow said it is “disgusted and ashamed” and that the rendering should’ve never been on the site.
1/ When we saw the whitewashed image of Obama, Jay Z & Beyoncé, we were disgusted & ashamed. It never should have been on wikiHow. https://t.co/tCIgpPpD2R
— wikiHow (@wikiHow) January 24, 2017
In a series of tweets, the website tried to explain how this happened:
- “Within minutes of the first tweet, a volunteer removed the image. We then started investigating how it got on wikiHow at all.
- “We learned it was made three years ago by a team of illustrators who work as one. One person sketches, the other person colors. The sketcher sent the colorist a black and white sketch.
- “The colorist wasn’t aware it was Obama and Beyonce. We don’t think the illustrator intentionally whitewashed here.
- “This doesn’t excuse the fact that we hosted a terrible image on wikiHow and we needed more diversity on that article period.
- “We’re talking with our illustrators to prevent recurrence and encourage diversity. Especially in positions of power.”