About Me

I am a photographer, writer and social scientist...this is my forum for creative expression. I am using this blog to document my days and nights in the city that never sleeps...all the photographs, unless otherwise credited, have been shot by yours truly. If I offend you...good...I hope you begin to think more critically about the world in which we live. I am here to discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly...and there is a whole lotta ugly out there!!! If you have a problem with anything that I write or photograph, let me know. It will not change my opinion but I appreciate and welcome discourse. One little bit of advice...don't do stupid things and let me photograph you...it will turn up on my blog.


Monday, August 18, 2008

Vogue Italia - the Black Issue...

I know that I am extremely late with this post, but I feel like I need to address this issue.
Recently, Vogue Italia released the “All Black” issue…some people thought that it was revolutionary, some thought it was pointless, and others seemed to be bothered by all the attention that it received. I think the All Black edition is a good step, but I would like to see more diversity in general, not just a special issue. It reminds me of "Black History Month"...If Black History was taught throughout the year, we would not need a month dedicated to it.

If true honor, respect, and diligence was given to the impact of minorities on the global fashion industry, we would see more minority representation on the catwalk and in the pages of international publications.

side note - even though it was the All Black Issue, almost none of the ads (which make up half of the publication) featured minorities and the photographer that shot all the images was not a minority.

This is my belief…Vogue [as well as many other publications, media outlets, or ad agencies that would like to sell products to the general population (white people)], does not want to be associated with anything that will alienate their consumer base. The implication is that a white audience wants to see white people on the covers of the magazines that they buy, the television shows and movies that they watch, and the only times that minorities are to be seen in the public sphere is if it’s trendy or will somehow entice the general audience to fetishize the exotic.

I am one of those people that believes that sexism and racism have become part of the social structure worldwide and their pervasiveness have created a systematic racist/sexist ethos/culture globally. The Fashion industry is not exempt from this.
All this to say:
I am not surprised that you almost never see women of color on the covers of major magazines. What surprises me is this: people will not admit that racism is rampant in the fashion industry!

Do me a favor – go to a book store or magazine shop and peruse the fashion, entertainment, and culture magazines…see how many people of color grace the covers of magazines that are oriented to the “general” audience. If you see a person of color, take note of how they actually look…does the person possess the same facial structure, hairstyle, or other physical characteristics associated with a person of European decent? When you do see a person of African decent on a cover, do they have a weave, a perm, a natural, dreadlocks…is there any difference between them and the model of European decent?
Can you name more than one or two dark skin models…that are not African in origin of nationality?

Answer me this: why are there so few models of African decent on the runways during Fashion week, on the cover of magazines, or being used in huge global advertising and marketing campaigns?
If the answer is: because white people (the general audience) have an aversion to seeing images of non whites in association with certain consumer products….then… why can they accept black people as singers, dancers, and comedians…but not as models.

Why won’t a white woman in
Idaho buy an issue of Cosmopolitan magazine if it has a Black person on the cover?
Are the clothes in the issue of lower quality? Are the articles worse? I think not…so why won’t that person buy the magazine…sounds racist to me. If you pander to racist, it sounds like you are complicit in condoning a racist cultural dynamic, as well as profiteering from such a destructive social problem -- either way, I want to see more diversity in the fashion world!!!!

Below are some of the photos from Toccara's shoot...tell me what you think.


Being that I am a photographer, I am constantly observing and studying images produced by a variety of media – magazines, advertisements, fine art, the internet…etc. I believe that the images we consume are very powerful, so yes…we need to see more minorities on the covers of the magazines, in the advertisements of these magazines, in the features of the magazines and on the editorial staff and executive board…not to mention photographers.

In conclusion, here is a quote from Franca Sozzani, the Vogue Italia editor-in-chief.

“Mine is not a magazine that can be accused of not using black girls,” said Ms. Sozzani, noting that Naomi Campbell has had several covers, and that Liya Kebede and Alek Wek have also had covers. – The New York Times – Fashion and Style section…written by CATHY HORYN

I commend her for being for putting out an issue that features black models, but I think that it is odd that she can only name three or four black models that have been given the Cover. That is a tiny percentage of all of the covers published.

I want to see more diversity in the fashion world.


Here is a link to another good blog.

---Below is a list of Black Models.

Iman Abdulmajid

Karen Alexander

Tyra Banks

Naomi Campbell

Pat Cleveland

Waris Dirie

Selita Ebanks

Wa'Keema Hollis

Chanel Iman

Beverly Johnson

Toccara Jones

Liya Kebede

Noemie Lenoir

Sessilee Lopez

Donyale Luna

Eva Marcille

Kamla Millwood

Ajuma Nasenyana

Oluchi Onweagba

Beverly Peele

Alek Wek

Jourdan Dunn

Veronica Webb

Yasmin Warsame

Saleisha Stowers

1 comment:

  1. You're lucky. I don't think this edition of Vogue Italia even made it to Britain.