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Urban Decay Launches New Basquiat-inspired Collection to Mixed Reactions

Urban Decay has just announced it’s forthcoming collection and reactions are mixed.

The newest collection, which will launch in the US on 20 April, is inspired by the life and work of iconic neo-expressionist artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat. He gained fame in the 80s for his provocative graffiti and no holds barred use of colour, using art as social commentary on issues such as race and consumerist culture in America. Sadly, Basquiat passed away at 27 years old from a heroin overdose.

The cult makeup brand is known for it’s colourful, daring and innovative collections, and this time is no different. Visually, the collection is stunning, and includes two eyeshadow palettes, three eye pencils, one blush palette, three lipsticks, and three cosmetic bags, all wrapped in replica’s of Basquiat’s artworks, including his iconic crown.

“Like Urban Decay, Jean-Michel Basquiat was an outsider who challenged the status quo and used color in nontraditional ways. From his informal graffiti work and the way he mixed mediums and colors to the way he spoke out against social injustice, it’s hard to imagine a more perfect fit for our brand,” Urban Decay says on their website.

Some people are super excited about the collection:

Urban Decay is marketing the collection as a homage to the artist, but despite this, people are calling them out, primarily because they believe the beauty brand is profiting off the work of a dead man who has no say in how his work is reused and reimagined.

But above all else, it is the face of the collection, actress Ruby Rose, who is causing the most controversy. People are finding it  difficult to accept that Urban Decay didn’t opt to use a person of colour to promote the collection.

So far, Urban Decay has not commented on the controversy.