Urban haps of a grrrl on a mission to be a better writer, a new music master-blaster and a wonderfully brilliant razor-packing, MAC LipGlass wearing feminista...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Glamour Mess, Black Girls "Out of Fashion" & Trace Mag

So this Glamour mess is still a brewing just stinking up an already racist publishing industry (don't believe me find out how many Black models have graced the cover of Vogue-- more on this later). On this site they delve into the issue by featuring a post entitled How Does a Black Woman Feel About the Glamour Controversy? The writer, Dodai Stewart, says some things that got me nodding in agreement but then she said quite a few things that had me saying aloud 'Oh hell to the no!' Like she questions what qualifies as racism at least two or three times throughout the piece. Are we still unsure... even in 2007? She says:
I believe that plenty of well-intentioned people make ignorant, misinformed, undereducated statements all the time. Does that make them racists?
I say 'Yeah, damn skippy it does!' That's like the comment I read online the other night when someone had the audacity to say that hanging a noose on a tree where Black students hangout or on the door of a Black ivy league professor isn't the same as actually hanging someone from a noose. Oh so now we gotta wait until the bodies are dangling? Until we hear the n-word shouted? Until the strange fruit blows stinking in the wind?!? Please people work with me. What she said is racist and yes that makes her racist. And no that doesn't mean I think she has a white hooded robe hanging in her closet next to her Nicole Miller sundress. There are many faces and degrees of racism. But it's all connected and it all stems from and is racism.

She then asks:
Would Beyoncé be the star she is now if her skin were darker, like her Destiny's Child cohorts?
Um yeah she would be! Bey is just way more talented (and driven) and no one can deny that. If Michelle were the lightest girl in the group she would NOT have been the star. I'm not saying the music industry is free of racism because we all know that's not true, but unlike the fashion and movie industries, there seems to be a bit more latitude. Look at Jill Scott, Erykah Badu, Meshell Ndegeocello & Lauryn Hill. Sometimes nappy headed, dark skin sisters do make it through. And I'm sure this is largely because music unlike fashion and film is more of a visceral experience than visual. Even in the face of MTV it still matters more what you sound like than what you look like. Just ask Cassie or Britney! You will be hard press to find the same percentage of sisters like this in Hollywood and even more so in Fashion and I'm talking high-fashion not the Ebony Fashion Shows or Upscale magazine covers. I'm talking Gucci & Prada shows, Vogue covers, et. al. And because so many Black women purchase and rock Gucci and Prada that situation is that much more complicated. Even the usually comedic Miss J from America's Next Top Model had to speak out on the lack of diversity.

On that note, Bethann Hardison is back on the case-- focusing attention on the growing trend of not booking Black models for major cover and advertorial shoots and for fashion weeks here in the States and also in Milan and Paris. She created the, currently dormant, Black Girls Coalition in 1988 and it really seems like there is a need for that organization now more than ever. She had a forum in September that was attended by what seemed like all the top Black girls in the biz including Naomi Campbell, Liya Kebede and Iman. She continues the conversation this Monday October 15th. Please come out and support this important cause. From the aforementioned controversy there couldn't be a more apt time.

And finally, on the upside of Blackness in the media, I finally, finally got my Black Girls Rule issue of Trace mag. I know I'm mad late with this one, but I have been eagerly awaiting what y'all know is my favorite issue of this mag and one of my favorites of any mag. It seems like I can only find the issue on 23rd or 14th streets, but thanks to Carol at Susan Blond she hooked me up. And the issue was definitely worth waiting for cause Iman guest edits this time ‘round. The Unsung feature about all these cool sisters doing great community work should have been much bigger. I wanted to know more about these extraordinary women. The bi-racial story was well done and the Black models featured were on point (although I felt like I was looking at the same 3 wigs over the course of a 31-page spread. It would have been nice to see more variety-- hair that had some texture would have been hot and ideal right about now). Anyway if you can find it and check it out.

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