The Los Angeles-based makeup artist, @paintdatface, who posted the image to Instagram account on Sunday 28 May, has since deleted it.
In the original post, the MUA explained that “as an artist and visionary,” he had “become bored of ‘glam’ and done-up looks that we find all over social media”.
“This is a transformation that I’ve been holding back from releasing for a while now, solely because of the fear I’ve had of people turning it into a racial scandal against me,” he wrote.
“This is not about a race change. This is about one woman acknowledging, embracing and celebrating the beauty of another woman’s culture.”
But people took to Twitter to call the makeup artist out for cultural appropriation.
Fashion blogger Danielle Vanier - who recently modelled Nike’s first plus-size collection - took to Twitter on Sunday 29 May to share her anger at the post.
“This has just pissed me off. This is NEVER ok to do.
“MUA Paintdatface, why would you think it was ok to do this?,” Vanier wrote.
The MUA has since posted an image on Instagram, defending the original post.
“The transformation that I recently posted of a woman transformed into a woman of another culture has been highly criticised by those who don’t understand the message,” he wrote.
“I deleted the post, not because I had regret or saw wrongdoing, but because of the negativity social media turned it into. It’s been assumed by most that my intentions were to transform my model into a black woman.
“Truth is, my intentions were to keep the look vague enough to be relatable to many women of different cultures, but the true inspiration of the overall look came from my Cuban heritage.
“Although I am saddened by how many people are angered, I can’t offer an apology for my artwork and for what I find to be beautiful. The transformation came from a place of love and was not about mocking one’s race, but rather about celebrating it.
“I am so proud to be illustrating a woman representing several cultures along with their achievements, beliefs and histories. Art is interpreted differently by all and sometimes it’s uncomfortable, but making this world a better place starts with our mindset - thinking positive, showing love and practicing unity.”
Some social media users commented on the post in agreement with the MUA’s sentiments.
“That picture was so beautiful. Don’t listen to whatever others say,” one user wrote.
“This is beautiful,” another wrote.
“Your makeup look was beautiful, keep doing you. I see your artwork as a symbol of empowerment to women of all shades and heritages,” another wrote.
But not everyone was convinced of his good intentions.
“If you wanted to represent women of other cultures then you should have used actual women of that culture,” wrote one.
“Dark skin is not some costume that you can wear when you want. It is something that has serious institutional consequences to in our society. People are dying over this. Re-evaluate.”
HuffPost UK reached out to @paintdatface who responded:
“No comment at this time. The artwork speaks for itself.”