It's Never Ok

Thursday, March 7, 2013

My my my. I haven't touched on this subject in a while. Not because it hasn't happened as much, but because I'm so sick and tired of seeing it. That's right. I'm talking about blackface. Our old enemy who likes to come out and play with our culturally-sensitive feelings. What a b****!

The culprit and repeat offender this time is Número Magazine. Shot by photographer Sebastian Kim, the editorial called "African Queen" features model Ondria Hardin wearing fashions inspired by Mother Africa. The styling is gorgeous. The photography is great. The model looks...hold up. Is that heavy bronzer intentional? Oh yes it is.

In case you're wondering what model Ondria really looks like, here you go. This brings up some of my favorite blackface questions. Why did the makeup artist darken her skin? Why did the powers-that-be think this was a good idea? How did they not think this would be offensive? Oh, and why in the world didn't they just use a black model in the first place?! My blood pressure just shot through the roof.

Número and photographer Sebastian Kim were quick to issue half-ass apologies. "It was never my intention (nor Numero’s) to portray a black woman in this story. Our idea and concept for this fashion shoot was based on 60's characters of Talitha Getty, Verushka and Marissa Berenson with middle eastern and Moroccan fashion inspiration," explains Kim. "We at no point attempted to portray an African women by painting her skin black. We wanted a tanned and golden skin to be showcased as part of the beauty aesthetic of this shoot."

Basically, they are sorry you're offended but they aren't sorry they did it. Thanks for the clarification.

Sound off: Does this editorial get under your skin or do you think it's just a form of artistic expression?

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