In the latest Beyonce news, the internet is abuzz with claims that the superstar lightened her skin for a promo shoot for her last album, ‘4.’ The photo finds Beyonce lying on a leopard couch in a crochet black one-piece swimsuit with an animal print scarf, smoky purple eyeshadow, rich brown lipstick and a funky blonde updo. Compared to recent pictures, Beyonce’s skin looks relatively light in the photo, spawning claims that she intentionally brightened her skin in the image.

It isn’t the first time Beyonce has dealt with accusations of this kind; her infamous L’Oreal ad, a paparazzi shot of her performing for the White House State Dinner that honored the Mexican First Couple and a shot of her shopping in Hollywood show the singer with a complexion much paler than “normal.” From these images, people have deducted that Beyonce brightens, and even bleaches her skin. They criticize her for fueling the age-old perception that lighter skin is beautiful. That internalized racism, they argue, is detrimental to the myriad of young women who view Beyonce as a role model.

We think all this speculation is ridiculous. Here’s why.

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