Friday, July 11, 2008

Doesn't Everybody want to be Black Like Me?

So of course the big news in the fashion world this month was the "Black" issue of Italian Vogue. Forty pages of fashion with only Black models. Folks on both sides of the pond apparently have been scrambling to get a copy of the history-making glossy that features the likes of Iman, Alek Wek, Beverly Johnson and even, (I heard) ANTM Tocarra.

The reason behind the "Black" Issue is infuriating. It seems that here in America the fashion industry, even in 2008, still believes that beautiful Black women can't sell beautiful clothes, or magazines for that matter. Apparently, the editor of Italian Vogue, Franca Sozzani, was making a point that using Black models wouldn't detract from the art of the fashion. Thank you Ms. Sozzani!

A quote from Philadelphia Inquirer Columnist Elizabeth Wellington:

" American fashion is about aspiration ... Unfortunately, no matter how the fashion industry spins it, the clothing designers constructing the most popular runway presentations and the editors creating the most sought-after magazine spreads don't see black women as icons of aspirational beauty. And even more sadly, they don't believe that wealthy women will buy clothing if black women are modeling it."

And that's where I say, WTF? And White women, please don't be offended when I say this, but OF COURSE WHITE WOMEN WANT TO LOOK LIKE BLACK WOMEN. They want to look like us, sound like us, dance like us, cook like us, walk like us, talk like us. Do I need to go on? Black culture has been emulated, copied and co-opted since we set foot on this land. Whether you want to call it sharing or stealing almost every piece of the American cultural pie comes from a Black aesthetic.

I think the fashion industry is just making excuses to remain racist and closed off to "others." Like if they let the colored girls into the club they just might bring in the pork rinds and Hawaiian Punch and spoil the party.

Take a look at Oprah Winfrey. Just for an example. Not only is she Black but she's pretty chunky too. But if girlfriend says Pucci dresses are hot for the summer, at least 100,000 White women would be heading to Lilly Pulitzer for an outfit.
If Beyonce dons a puffy white dress on the red carpet, 80 gazillion teenagers will be wearing white to prom. So I say if the fashion industry embraced Black beauty, the people would follow.

What do you think?

Happy Healthy Weekend!



glamah16 said...

Glad your back! Yes our country has a long way to go. I work for a cosmetic line made for women of color and dealing with the stores,etc I hear and see vieled racism all the time.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

I did a post of the issue (it is FANTASTIC) and I was beyond annoyed when I kept hearing these excuses. Like the fast growing market for luxury goods is China. Black models "don't sell" there. ugh.

Hmm funny this issue seems to be doing quite well One person left a comment on my blog saying her local Barnes and Noble in Atlanta received 500 calls about this one issue.

Hopefully things are changing. We're actually going backwards for a minute because I remember several very popular black models from the 70s/80s. Then poof there was one, Naomi and a few years ago Liya popped. ridiculous.

Anyway I don't want to go on and on here so here is a link to zee post.

Mango Mama said...

Let's be real, White women have historically pimped off of Black women for centuries and seldom give us credit. Now they run around pumping up their lips and booties trying to get what comes to some of us naturally. As infuriating as it is, it's at least good that folks are now somewhat engaged in dialogue about these issues.

Not just a Mommy! said...

Sigh, it's so true how everyone wants to be "like us" but no one wants to come out and say it. It always tickles me when white people I know have to pre-tan so they don't burn for the real tan, and complain that they are so pasty white, and tell me how lucky I am with my "built-in tan". I just smile and nod. Or complain about wanting a booty like Beyonce. But as Chris Rock says " 'There ain't a white man in this room that would change places with me! And I'm rich! That's how good it is to be white. There's a one-legged busboy in here right now saying, 'I don't want to change. I'm gonna ride this white thing out, see where it takes me.' "