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Thursday
Oct152009

Racist or Art: Model Lara Stone Painted Black In French Vogue

From The UK Guardian:

"What Klein and Roitfeld should know … is that painting white people black for the entertainment of other white people is offensive in ways that stand entirely apart from cultural context," it said. "France and Australia may not have the United States' particular history of minstrel shows … but something about the act of portraying a white woman as black ought to sound an alarm, somewhere."

This can be viewed several ways in my opinion ...

More after the jump.

One. Art.

Two. Blatant attempt at controversy.

Three. Ignorant and yet another instance of a black model being passed up for a job. (She's too black to be black!)

Four. Art gone highly inappropriate.

Or ... Five. RACIST!

Take your pick!

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Reader Comments (26)

I'm going to go with #3, which tastes like #5, which looks like #4, which causes #2. Controversy often happens when #1 is involved.

October 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterImmeblue

Who understands anything the French do?

October 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterScott

The French don't need to have our particular history in order to know this can be considered as offensive. They have their own history of blatantly disregarding and disrespecting the black and brown people within their borders.

But they're the French and you couldn't pay them to give two shits.

October 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCourt

I’ll go with #2 &#3. When I first saw this it felt like they were trying to say ‘You want diversity in the fashion world, here it is. See, we don’t actually need black models, we can just paint a white model black’.

October 15, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterconni3

White people in Black face? You have to ask?

October 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSerenity

Do I have to pick. I say it's all of the above.

Black-face is always racist. Period.

October 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThe Black Bot

LOL @ Scott

October 15, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterglamazini

The French know exactly what they're doing. It's a blatant attempt at insulting Black people. The French have been doing it for hundreds of years in Africa. The French think they can do whatever they want when they want. If it means painting a white model black, they will do it because they would never hire a black person to model when they have a white model on hand. So rude.

October 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMelle

I was going to say the same thing at Melle, but then I realized this is Scott I'd be talking to. Nothing is racially motivated in his world. Prejudice and racism are figments of our imaginations.

October 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCourt

You're talking about it, aren't you? Mission accomplished.

October 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterB.Y.

Uh...the photographer is American...so he knew what the hell he was doing.

October 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterA Big Butt and a Smile

Then it's art, everyone projects what they think onto it.

October 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMaggie Knowles

It's more annoying than anything else....but mainly I'm going #3...WTF?

October 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdkan71

Racism and prejudice are only in our minds, eh Court? What about 350 years of the African diaspora and its aftermath...something someone made up?

October 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Dessaso

Steven Klein the photographer is American and is very powerful.

If she was painted as one of the black Madonnas and there were black models in the shoot who were also painted I don't thing it would be offensive. It could be art.

This however...no. The spread makes no sense.

October 16, 2009 | Unregistered Commenternyc/caribbean ragazza

This is what happens when people are ignorant of their history and the history of others.

I've seen black face in Holland, Germany, Spain and France - all nations who have participated in the denigration of people of African ancestry in various ways at various times throughout history and in the present. Whether they owned the minstrel tradition or not, they certainly participated in iconography of racial denigration. I think though, that with the increasingly vocal presence of Europeans of African ancestry and others raising the alarm, these practices will eventually be eradicated.

A few months ago I saw a play in London - Death and the King's Horseman by Wole Soyinka - where the all black cast used white face instead of white actors for the British colonial characters. I'd never seen that before and I think it was very eloquent and effective way to refer to the history of racial exclusion in Britain while parodying the British colonial presence in Africa.

Maybe, as Europeans of African ancestry gain more access and power (as they are doing) in the rest of Europe, there will be more of these thought provoking outputs and challenging productions which represent the "other's" point of view.

October 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNona

"Racism and prejudice are only in our minds, eh Court? What about 350 years of the African diaspora and its aftermath...something someone made up?"

If the shoe fits, then let them wear it. If by pointing out France's lack of racial tolerance and sensitivity I'm race obsessed or whatever it is your accusing me of, then whatever.

October 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterOh Mandy

I just think its stupid and irrelevant.

October 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPolitical Season

I don't see the "mentally and morally retarded" "dumn and irrelevant" or "completely sophomoric" options so I guess I will have to go with IGNORANT.

Is that the best they can do for controversy? It's like attacking the Vatican (soft target) or dressing models as the bloodied Virgin Mary (been there, done that) so I guess black face is the new offensive "vogue"

So dumb, so shallow, so cheap and definitely NOT ART!

October 16, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTheresa

The French know exactly what they're doing. It's a blatant attempt at insulting Black people. The French have been doing it for hundreds of years in Africa. The French think they can do whatever they want when they want. If it means painting a white model black, they will do it because they would never hire a black person to model when they have a white model on hand. So rude.


^^^^

Why the French hatred?
The photographer was commissioned by French Vogue but is actually AMERICAN

I remember when I first moved to the US and was in undergrad at Purdue
the amount of Afro Americans that didn't believe that I was born in France because I wasn't white
there is a grave misconception about race relations in France.
I'm not saying that it is the best but I will venture to say that it is better than it is in the USA
and electing a mulatto president proves as much
because most of the vitriol and hate is directed at him and his mother (who many accuse of insulting her race)
and if you disagree with that notion,
I will be at Bryan, TX
on hand for when President Obama visits Texas A&M University with the first President Bush

It is so bad that the first President Bush took out a full page/front page ad in the school's student newspaper
begging the students to be polite

October 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCassavaLeaf

@Cassava Leaf:

I BEG you to report back to us on your first-hand experiences from that event! Thank you...

October 17, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdevessel

Also,

Steven Klein (the american photographer) has done this before:

jezebel.com/5383411/fashion-photographer-steven-klein-has-done-blackface-before/gallery/?skyline=true&s=x

October 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCassavaLeaf

As I like to say....."everybody" loves a coon :-) or in this case blackface.

The idea of "black as other" being entertaining is as old as the first contact between Europeans and Africans.

I understand blackface was so successful that in the UK after crossing the pond, that British entertainers were dressed up in blackface far into the 1970's.

I don't find the Klein, Roitfeld, Stone shoot insulting following the idea that blackface in its truest form is meant to ridicule blacks or portray them as caricatures.

Though Lil Wayne does that well enough.

October 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterknockoutchick

This is the second time in the past month that Vogue has published offensive photo shoots in the name of 'fashion'

http://homelessness.change.org/blog/view/how_is_homelessness_high_fashion

October 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAl

im sure the people who were looking to make money from this move hoped that this would generate enough criticism that people would buy it to circulate it as a "hateful" reference.

They probably counted on that heat to generate profits in light of losses they are making in the recession.
When I see something like this, I never look at what its supposed to mean- I only look at who profited from it. Money has no color.

October 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjaan
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