Sunday, August 16, 2009

Naomi Campbell Plays Exotic African Queen

How do you make a Black woman appear attractive when the world privileges Eurocentric beauty?

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You turn her into the exotic wild African “other”.  The black woman as savage and untameable has been a comfortable trope for the fashion industry to play upon.  

Supermodel Naomi Campbell, was shot by world-renowned photographer Jean-Paul Goude for the September issue of Harper's Bazaar.  Clearly, this “gifted” photographer, could not see beyond Naomi’s race long enough to push the envelope and perhaps, present her in a more normalized setting.  Black woman automatically equals Africa; this is a classic case of art imitating life.  Perhaps, he was expecting Naomi to channel her inner Josephine Baker, cause lord knows all women of color are just dying to dance around in a banana skirt, playing Negro Queen, for the consumption of White audiences. 

These images will applauded as a signal of diversity because they include a Black model, in a mainstream magazine and little to no thought will be given to the messages that these images impart.  They are not only reductive but incredibly racist.  They scream of the fauxgressive liberalism that has become enfranchised in leftist discourse.  Of course they’re not racist, they’re ironic right?