Looking lighter than usual in photos being used to promote her latest album, last year's '4,' Beyonce has raised concerns that she is trying to play down her natural skin color.

While pregnant women are sometimes anemic, and anemia can leave sufferers looking pale, the controversial new photos were taken before the 30-year-old pop superstar was with child, the Daily Mail reports.

In the shots, Beyonce sports blonde locks, red lipstick and a crocheted, barely-there outfit while reclining on a leopard-print couch. Her complexion is rather fair, but as experts told U.K. newspaper the Sun, it could be the result of studio lighting.

Or it could be something more sinister. In 2008, the cosmetics company L'Oreal was accused of lightening Bey's skin tone in advertisements, and last year, after the 'Love on Top' creator was spotted on the street looking particularly white, writer Yasmin Alibhai-Brown charged Beyonce -- the daughter of a black father and mixed-race mother -- with "betraying all black and Asian women."

In a letter to the Daily Mail, Alibhai-Brown wrote, "Too many black and Asian children grow up understanding the sad truth that to have dark skin is to be somehow inferior."

Beyonce has not commented on the controversy, perhaps because the only color on her mind these days is Blue Ivy -- the name of the daughter she and husband Jay-Z welcomed earlier this month.


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Beyonce Delivers Baby