Photographer apologises for photoshopping Lupita’s hair

An Lee – who was behind the shoot – released a statement explaining the mistake

More than just a bop from Solange Knowles’ A Seat at the Table album, “Don’t Touch My Hair” is an important message to not touch black women’s hair, but some people still aren’t getting it. Only two weeks after the singer called out ES Magazine for removing her braided halo from the cover, actress Lupita Nyongo also had her natural hair photoshopped off the cover of Grazia. Today, the photographer behind the shoot has released a statement apologising. 

Speaking to Huffington Post, the Vietnamese-born An Lee said, “Though it was not my intention to hurt anyone, I can see now that altering the image of her hair was an unbelievably damaging and hurtful act.” While he was apologetic, he suggested that the mistake was made because of his lack of understanding around the subject. “My altering of her image was not born out of any hate but instead out of my own ignorance and insensitivity to the constant slighting of women of colour throughout the different media platforms,” he went on to say. 

Grazia also released a statement saying that it had no part in the alteration of the images and was not aware that any changes had been made. “We apologise for not upholding the highest of editorial standards in ensuring that we were aware of all alterations that had been made.” Nyong’o has yet to respond to the photographer’s apology.

While it is exhausting that mistakes like this are still being made, thanks to outspoken individuals like Nyong’o and Knowles, hopefully they won’t be repeated. If in doubt, don’t touch my hair.