Black skin comes in dark shades, light shades, supple shades with olive undertones and smooth deep browns that hide imperfections. Black skin comes in variety.
I can easily see the reasons why one would be infatuated with all visual aspects that relate to being black. Versatile hair that coils with care as it grown closer to the Gods, and melanin that tells the tales of rich ancestry, we get it.
But black, just like white, is not a choice. it is not a fashion statement, and by no means is it a prop to be used for a photo shoot.
Black comes with the black experience, and it is impossible to experience one without the other, and that’s why I can’t get down with blackface, and the fashion world should get over it too!
In case you missed it, the habitual line-walking French magazine Numero decided to pay backhanded homage to “African Queens” with an editorial shoot of the same name. Sounds beautiful, except instead of selecting one of the many white South African models in the industry, or one of the many underworked black models with actual African roots seeking editorial exposure in an industry that doesn’t play in their favor, the magazine chose 16-year-old blond-haired, blue-eyed American Ondria Hardin and put her in black face.
Black face, skin, hands and feet – in 2013.
The shoot features the model, which was previously one of the young girls involved in Vogue‘s underage model scandal, draped in imperial African garbs complete with a gele and regal jewels.
We find it hard to believe that not one person spoke up about the tastelessness of re-visiting the days of Minstrel shows where white people dressed in black face to portray black people as dim-witted and buffoonish. Not a model, not a creative director, not a photographer.
Jezebel points out that Ford Models, the agency that reps Hardin, also has a handful of black models on its roster, any of which would have made a more classy selection for the spread than the blonde hair Ondria.
The tasteless offense comes at a time where the fashion industry is struggling to get a grip on diversity and ethic inclusion, as the least diverse New York fashion week in recent history came to a close with less than 13% of the over all model population that hit the runway being minorities.
This is yet another heart breaking example of how the fashion world exploits diversity and turns a deaf ear on the changes the diverse population of fashion consumers is so earnestly begging for.
Black skin is not an accessory that can be washed off, nor is it a prop for a high fashion beauty spread. Fashion may recylce but black face is so 1830 and its offenses will never have a comeback.
Rachel is the Style Editor for GlobalGrind.com, proud graduate of a SUNY school, and as sarcastic as they come. Follow her on Twitter for random daily ramblings @MiissHislop