Painted Black on the the Darkest of all days
(As heard on Athlone Community Radio)
While walking from the overcrowded metro station to my house, I saw a colourful exhibition for Black Friday, last year.
They say sex sells and as I left the Metro station that was black with people and dangerously full beyond capacity, I decided to walk the busy streets of Madrid instead.
While walking along the shops, I could see the usual promotion in shop windows 10% Off, 20% Off etc and then at one shop window, a near naked woman being Painted Black.
Black Friday in America represents huge savings and not just 10 or 20% but up to 70% off some expensive items. It is this huge saving before Christmas time that drives people to the sales and drives them crazy.
Here in Madrid, Black Friday is A relatively new concept that has caught on quickly with a younger audience BUT I was surprised to see a topless woman being Painted Black. Her hands rested around her breasts with her fingertips barely covering them.
Her legs were Painted black as the painter or make-up artist or Blacksmith painted past her underwear and waist. There is nothing unusual in nudity in sales, from perfumes to jewellery, we expect it, but painting someone black isn't the best look and I'm not just talking about blackface.
I took some pictures of the dangerously crowded Metro platform and my battery died so I missed the opportunity to photograph the woman with up to 50% off.
I'm not saying everything is Black and White but I think it is important to put my thoughts down in Black and White, at the very least and if money is the root of all evil then Black Friday has attracted a religious following that would make Jesus cross on Good Friday.
Painting a person black for Black Friday seems very dark as it is too close an image to slavery and this is where marketing's dark history comes back to haunt us as branding used to be a little more permanent than it is today and involved a branding iron.
Black Friday is also associated with slavery as many people think the origin of Black Friday has something to do with selling slaves, and while there sadly were Black Friday slave auctions, I believe the origin is associated with the profit generated by the sales they made in November as it put retailers In the Black financially. I imagine if Black Friday did originate with slave auctions then we would discuss that fact a lot more than we currently do.
I'm sure the shop wasn't selling the topless girl and probably had a great marketing campaign for lipstick or make-up or maybe a Black Edition perfume but I'm not ready to kiss and make-up, this campaign was terrible in my mind or at least from what I saw.
I know it might be a Grey area but I don't see Black Friday in a positive image even if its origins were seen as very positive as the sales allowed retailers to go from being In the Red to being In the Black.
The Bottom Line was represented positively in black but this woman's bikini line and bottom were being paraded around in public and had already been painted black by the time I walked by the storefront.
Mick Jagger and The Rolling Stones might want things Painted Black but considering the negative aspects of branding and marketing, I was disappointed to miss the Black and White photograph.
Bodypaint is interesting of course but branding has a dark past. The first branding was done on slaves who were branded with a hot poker, as were cattle in the past, the practice being replaced today by tagging a cow's two ears with identical tags.
Their earrings a little like the tagging we now put on clothing.
This branding showed ownership and today we take pride in being branded Levis, Wrangler, Lee Cooper, and Nike and luckily it is no longer done with a hot poker.
This woman being Painted Black might attract either sales or criticism, least of all for wearing blackface but the naked exploitation of selling things on Black Friday is a worrying sign of things to come as people buy Things they don't need that was made in a sweatshop.
Quality and ethics sacrificed for a quick dime in the Black Market or as Brad Pitt’s character Tyler Durtin from Fight Club says, "Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy STUFF (he doesn’t say stuff) we don't need"
The iconic character Tyler Durtin was played by Brad Pitt who late became the first man paid to promote Chanel Nº5.
How much was this model in Madrid been paid? Was she blackmailed into doing it or was she working as part of the black economy?
I wonder how much a pound of painted flesh is worth and if she checked her reflection in a Black Mirror?
I will probably be blacklisted for writing this and appear in some people's Black Books but money is viewed negatively enough, and considered the root of all evil so painting someone black is not necessarily a good look.
Selling our wears is normal of all professions but at 10% off, I am not for sale but what shameless trends will we see in future for Black Friday events?
Black Friday takes place the day after Thanksgiving when Americans gather around the table to thank god for the food that Indians had given them. Why can't we look to the Native American Indian example, and help others? Why do we have to worship consumer gods like Nike?
Don't do it, the Native Americans fed the hungry white man who would have died without their help. They were tragically thanked with genocide, and the butchering of millions of buffalos. A sad period in history touched upon by Leonardo di Caprio's Oscar-winning film, The Revenant.
The same Indians who should actually be called Americans, sent food to Ireland during the famine and had their own food supply destroyed by cowboys who shot buffalos from trains. Yeeha
Next Thanksgiving, say thank you for what you have or to those who have given it to you.
Thank god or his son, the prophet, before going out to buy all the things you don't have for somebody else's profit.
Branding slaves might not be new but who knew we would be painting ourselves black to sell our wears, I presume the company was a make-up company in which case the branding makes sense and was certainly attracting more crowds than the cut-out poster of Pope Francis outside a near-by church.
Our souls, sold the day after Thanksgiving.
The introduction of bikinis in Spain was a controversial decision for General Franco to authorise but we were not on a beach and it certainly wasn't Summertime so I hope the girl received a Winter coat of paint or at least a second coat.
What Black Magic made this paint stripper take a job in the Blackmarket, was it Blackmail or just the Black economy and what does she see when she looks in the Black Mirror? I hope she didn't Blackout.
More interesting than the throngs of people stuck on a metro, my walk brought me through the high streets on the darkest day of the year, Black Friday.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't be a Black Sheep on Black Friday.
These English expressions are all explained in https://www.nohemingway.com/blog/blacklist