Since when did fashion or beauty mean white skin & blue eyes? Is this the standard of beauty in America & the world over? American Vogue magazine has recieved much scrutiny for its lack of ethnic diversity on the fashion runway..

In its 116 years of publication on three African-American models have grace the cover. The first was Beverly Johnson, supermodel of 25 years. The two exceptions to the rule would be Jennifer Hudson, an African American singer who graced the cover last year.

“There is no reason for it beyond blind prejudice,” Michael Musto, culture critic for the Village Voice, told, about the dearth of black models on the runway and in magazines.

Lebron James, basketball player graced the cover this past April with supermodel Giselle Bundchen to harsh criticism for the “racist” posture he took. Many critics cited his posture as similar to Disney’s Beauty & The Beast or King Kong & the blonde vixen tightly held within his grasp.

Having seen the cover, I must admit I found it disturbing as well, it seemed out of context: James on the cover with his mouth wide open feigning a scream while Giselle was clutched tight like a rag doll. The imagery was frightingly similar to pics of Kong & a blonde hair blue eyed woman.

Either way, Vogue has had this controversy brewing for years and they have no one to blame but their Editors. They make the decisions whether to include certain models, certain shots etc. I can guarantee one thing with the critical acclaim Vogue Italia recieved for their All Black edition recieved, many publicist & publication will think twice about excluding Black models. The market is definitely there, as well as, the demand. Most stores sold out of the magazine before it ever hit print.

Over 30,000 copies had to be re-ordered here in the states just to meet the demand & still most people haven’t seen or found that “limited edition” and “collectors item.”

“The woman behind this change is Italian Vogue editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani, who, during her time as editor, has made the magazine synonymous with culture over consumerism. Sozzani attributed the inspiration for her July issue to a trip in February to New York City for fashion week. Struck by an absence of diverse faces on the runways, Sozzani told, “There were no black girls, and the blond girls all look alike.”

In addition, Sozzani said, “There were no black girls,” she said, “but at the same time, people were talking about Obama.” So, how do you explain that? At this most historical time of racial advance with Obamas campaign no Black women are anywhere to be found. Bull Shit! Its racism at its finest.

When asked about the infrequency of Black models being booked, she says, “I think this is a fault of the agencies and not the designers. The white girls sell more, so you only ever find blond, blue-eyed girls. They don’t dedicate enough time to scout black girls.” They sell more because of over saturation of the market.

I disagree with most of Sozzani’s statement, but I admire her temerity. She states, “Naomi [Campbell] has been on the market for 20 years, and everybody likes her,” she said. “It’s not that fashion doesn’t like this look.” Of course not, Campbell still got it, “Black don’t CRACK!” (check her out in the new SOBE soft drink commercial if you have any doubts). In her opinion, its not low demand, rather a low supply of models.

Could be, but I know so many Black girls who aspire to be models. The thing is its a highly competitive business and teh percentage of those who make it BIG are a fraction of the ones who make the attempt.

  1. It is not true that only 3 models of African descent have appeared on the cover of American Vogue. Naomi Campbell had appeared on the cover in the late 80’s or early 90’s. Model Kiara Kabukuru appeard on a July issue sometime in the 90’s or early 2000. If you can consider the fold outs a cover, Liya Kebede and Chanel Iman have also been on the “cover”. Then you have celeb models like Halle Berry and Oprah Winfrey.

  2. Yes its true, foldouts don’t count. The cover is the first impression mags have to the public, and so thats why their so prized in the industry for those that appear on them. beverly johnson was the 1st Black model to appear on Vogue. Halle & Oprah hardly qualify for models as they each have thriving careers in acting & journalism respectively. In fact, its the industry standard now to use celebrities that has cut out some African American models from getting work or mag covers. The industry thinks there are only a handful of beauty in this demographic based on their actions. They couldn’t be further from the truth!! Thanks for the comment….

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