In the October issue of French Vogue, which is supposedly dedicated to “Supermodels,” there are no black models. No Naomi Campbell, no Tyra Banks, no Iman, no Alek Wek, no Liya Kebede, no Chanel Iman. Instead of hiring one, they chose to shoot Dutch model Lara Stone appeared in a 14-page editorial in blackface.
Aside from the fact that models of many nationalities have gained a greater presence in the fashion industry and should have been used in this magazine, today in 2009 we should all know that white people dressing in blackface is offensive. And they have been poppin’ up in news and pop culture a lot lately.
Just last week, Harry Connick Jr. appeared as a guest judge on a live broadcast of the Australian program, “Hey It’s Saturday.” On the show, five men presented a skit called “Jackson Jive” while covered in blackface paint and afro wigs. The audience cheered and laughed as the group performed, and seemed shocked when Connick Jr. gave the group a zero score.
“Man, if they turned up looking like that in the United States…it’d be like ‘Hey, Hey There’s No More Show.’”
“I just wanted to say on behalf of my country, I know it was done in humor…but we have spent so much time trying to not make black people look like buffoons, that when we see something like that we take it really to heart.”
What’s the deal?
This program aired in Australia, and the blackface model appears in French Vogue. Is it possible that outside the U.S., there’s less sensitivity to blackface because these countries don’t share our unfortunate history of minstrel shows?
Vogue photographer Steven Klein is American, and should have known better…
Some say this ish is ‘cool’ and ‘edgy. No it’s not.
It’s racist and insensitive. We’ve made such progress… Really is there any legit reason to use this caricature today?.
(*To all the naysayers who wanted to defend the racist soda can at Target: I guess you think this is aiight too, and the rest of us are trippin ’ again, right…?)