An award winning media company committed to sharing the perspectives of people of colour from marginalised genders

This week a big brand allegedly steals genderqueer designs, and men call make-up War Paint to feel extra manly

13 May 2019

Courtesy of Ashton Attzs/ via @officialgarybarlow‘s Instagram

The BBC has had quite a bigoted week. First up was Nigel Farage, who resorted to shouting on Question Time. Then America’s super right-wing loudmouth Ben Shapiro stepped out of his echo chamber to storm off BBC News in a huff after Andrew Neil attempted to hold him accountable for his historical bigotry.

To make matters worse for the broadcaster, before the new royal baby even recognises its own reflection, 5 Live presenter Danny Baker compared the mixed heritage newborn to a monkey. As we wrote earlier this week, monkey racism has a long and well-known history, so for him to feign ignorance means he’s got to the big big age of 61 never hearing black people compared to monkeys. Highly unlikely. Anyway him being fired has barely knocked his fan base, a crowd gave him a standing ovation at a gig over the weekend.

Here’s what else went down in the last week.

Award-winning artist ‘disgusted and hurt’ after high-profile fashion house copies their genderqueer designs

Get Diet Prada on the phone. This week, 20-year-old queer black artist Ashton Attzs woke up to a photo from a friend. One of their favourite award-winning paintings, Don’t Stay In Ya Lane, had seemingly ripped off by Thom Browne on a shirt being flaunted by none other than the monotonous tax dodger, Gary Barlow.

The artist told gal-dem that the painting, which won the London Evening Standard Art Prize 2018, is “of a swimming pool from an aerial shot of lots of different types of swimmers and they’re all trans-masculine or non-binary people.”

“They’re all gender queer, none of them are cis which is really important. I try to represent different skin tones,” Ashton explained. “It’s an ode to everyone who is keeping on swimming, keeping on winning at life and trying their best and crossing those barriers, breaking out of their lanes.”

Given the fact that most artists who are fortunate enough to make a living from their work are white and people of colour already have to work twice as hard to get the same acclaim, when a white-led fashion house steals the designs of a non-binary artist of colour it feels like a “kick in the teeth”.

Ashton expressed concern for other artists who don’t have the same access to the resources as them, though sadly this appears to be something brands rely on. One lawyer told Broadly: “They have so much more money, and they know that pursuing these lawsuits is very costly and a lot of artists can’t afford to go through with them. I think these companies think the artists will either cave in and not do anything, or settle for a really low amount.”

The irony that the art was created in line with the theme of progress and inclusivity is not lost here. gal-dem contacted Thom Browne for comment but has not heard back.

Men don’t apply make-up they smear themselves in WAR PAINT – only white men though

A new brand of make-up for men, War Paint, has been widely ridiculed online for obvious reasons. It’s not make-up, it’s War Paint. Men don’t want to be made up, they want to prepare themselves for battle! The toxic masculinity really jumped out as the language of this product line serves to cement society’s rigid ideas of what is acceptable for men. The creator of the line has been frank about how becoming conscious of his appearance during his youth spurred him on to experiment with make-up. But, if you want to wear some concealer, then you should feel free to do it without the hyper-masculine bravado.

Interestingly, the brand only seems to want some men to feel beautiful. One inquisitive potential customer, Daqurius, from Florida, was interested in a product to get rid of the dark circles under his eyes but saw they didn’t offer any products for black men.

Daqurius told gal-dem he asked whether there would be shades for people of colour. He said: “I checked to see if I could look at the brand again and was discarded with a block. It made me feel cast away and that I didn’t belong. I was extremely disappointed in the actions of the company in completely blocking me off from contact for asking a simple question. ‘Are there shades for people of colour?’ But I guess the blocking of a black man answered the question.”

Seems a bit sensitive of a brand that sounds like an offshoot of the SAS to block someone for asking a question they don’t like. These mouldy stereotypes of masculinity are not only harmful, they really underestimate the intellect of men. Men: don’t let companies speak to you like you’re stupid and make you feel like taking an interest in grooming is inherently womanly unless the products are black, grey and have aggressive names.


  • Google has added 53 new non-binary emojis, but they are exclusive to Pixel devices and will be rolled out to all devices running Android Q later this year.
  • “China is failing transgender people”, according to Amnesty International with its lack of anti-discrimination laws, healthcare services, and education, which had led to young people attempting surgery on themselves.
  • British Uyghur Muslim academic, Aziz Isa Elkun, is calling on the UK government to do more to protect Uyghurs in China. Elkun fears his mother, who has been missing for two years, has been detained in a ‘re-education camp’ for taking his calls.
  • Round Table Books in Brixton is a new inclusive bookshop giving children the chance to read books featuring BAME protagonists. The shop champions diverse stories and authors that include disabled, neurodiverse, and LGBTQ characters. This comes after a 2017 report said that of 9,115 children’s books published that year, only 1% had a BAME main character.
  • One of Britain’s youngest imams, Sabah Ahmedi, is shocked after his Twitter call, for non-muslims to attend a Ramadan meal at mosques in order to “build bridges between communities”, was flagged as suspicious by the social media site.
  • Donald Trump invited the Boston Red Sox to the White House and only the white players showed up. Their decision to shake hands with Trump over choosing solidarity with their PoC teammates is a classic example of white people prioritising their own whiteness and privilege over all else.
  • Estonia’s deeply concerning new finance minister, Martin Helme, has said he wants to keep his country white, saying “if he’s black, send him back”.
  • Chadwick Boseman is said to be playing Yasuke, the first African samurai in Japanese history.

Moment of the week

Nothing else could top Billy Porter at the Met Gala for the moment of the week…and probably the year tbh. Read our interview with him here.

This story is a part of gal-dem’s ongoing Race Review series.