WikiHow website apologises for ‘making Obama, Beyoncé and Jay Z white’

Website rendered a photo of the trio for an article titled 'How to become a congressman'

The WikiHow website has been forced to apologise after publishing an article featuring an illustration that depicts Barack ObamaBeyoncé, and Jay Z as white people.

The website, which bills itself as “the world’s leading how-to website” and features DIY guides and tutorials, had published an article titled ‘How to become a congressman’, which featured an illustration of three white people that appears to be rendered from a photograph of the famous trio after a fundraising event in New York in 2012.

“Wikihow turned Obama, Beyoncé, and Jay Z white to explain “How to become a congressman”,” one Beyoncé fan account wrote, posting the two pictures next to one another on Twitter.

WikiHow has since removed the illustration and article, responding on Twitter. The company described itself as “disgusted & ashamed” at the news, claiming that it didn’t “think the illustrator intentionally whitewashed”.

The website explained that “it was made 3 years ago by a team of illustrators who work as one. One person sketches, the other person colors” and that “the sketcher sent the colorist a black and white sketch. The colorist did not know the race of the models”.

“This doesn’t excuse the fact that we hosted a terrible image on wikiHow and we needed more diversity on that article period,” the statement added.

“We’re talking with our illustrators to prevent recurrence and encourage diversity. Especially in positions of power.”

Jack Herrick, founder of wikiHow, told The Guardian that the website has pushed for wider diversity in its style guide, stating: “We’ve improved a lot on this issue over the last three years. You can and should expect WikiHow to be even better about this in our future work.”


Last weekend, Beyoncé voiced her support for the Women’s March on Washington DC and sister-protests around the world.

The singer wrote on Facebook: “Together with Chime for Change, we raise our voices as mothers, as artists, and as activists. As #GlobalCitizens, we can make our voices heard and turn awareness into meaningful action and positive change. #WomensMarch.”