Sunday, August 16, 2009

Is this racist?

There's been a lot of discussion about the images of Black women in the media, specifically in fashion magazines. Recently, Harpers Bazaar threw their hat in the ring by publishing a striking, albeit problematic, spread featuring Naomi Campbell photographed by Jean Paul Goude titled, "Wild Things". The spread is reported to be a throw back to Goude's work with Grace Jones in the 1980 also titled "Wild Things". On her blog, Sandra Rose, labeled the photos racist. She was particularly upset about the photo featuring Naomi playing double dutch with a group of monkeys while a white man looks on. While I can understand why that image bothers her (note to white folks - Black people do not appreciate being associated with monkeys in any way, shape or form, so please just stop it. ) I think the rest of the spread is beautiful. Could it be that some of us are just a little upset over the whole black people in the African jungle thing? I can understand why, for generations we've been conditioned to believe that Africa is is a vast waste land of nothingness and to be associated with it somehow proves that we're sub-par/human. Perhaps when we begin to re-evaluate our relationship with our ancestry (or for some, acknowledge our ancestry) we'll begin to take back our history find pride and power in our identity. In the meantime, I will celebrate the beauty of my blackness, just as Naomi is celebrating the beauty of her chocolate skin against the backdrop of what her ancestors valued. Home. I'd love to know what you think.

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