Friday, March 21, 2008

Anna, You Have Some Explaining To Do...

I just finished posting my fave Black male style icons and unfortunately have to now add my two and a half cents on the April 2008 American Vogue (with LeBron James and Gisele Bundchen)cover. Ironic isn't it? Maybe those folks at Vogue didn't get the memo that Black men actually do wear clothes that aren't athletic. And look good in them too. Wait a sec. They do know that because James was actually styled wearing suits for this issue as well. Someone just decided to let this foolishness be the cover instead.

NBA star LeBron James and supermodel Gisele Bundchen

What is most disturbing is that I truly don't think Anna or her team did this maliciously. That is how embedded racism can be. Especially in the fashion and publishing worlds. I mean, c'mon -- the man is dribbling a basketball and his mouth is open. Why is his mouth open? The fact that James was shot next to a blonde model was the icing on the cake. Just imagine Eli Manning suited up with a football looking slightly deranged grabbing a glamourous and picture-perfect Naomi Campbell on the cover of Vogue. You can't can you? It doesn't have the same historical connotations but it wouldn't happen in the first place.

Needless to say this cover has been on the lips of many over the past week or so. Robin Givhan, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion editor of the Washington Post and a former associate editor at Vogue was asked to comment on it to ABC News recently. I happen to know Robin and greatly respect her career and her work. I've interviewed her before and normally we're on the same page. This time we are not. Apparently, she doesn't see what all the fuss is about. "It's so exhausting that every time people see an image of a Black person they work themselves into a tizzy that somehow it doesn't adhere to the way in which they think a Black person should be presented," she told ABC.

Hmmm. Am I working myself into a tizzy?

After checking the pulse on this matter with a few of my very confident and intelligent co-workers, I concluded that I wasn't tripping. They share my confusion/frustration on this and I was quite objective when asking them about it. So, I am writing my letter to Ms. Wintour today. I wish I knew someone in LeBron's camp because I doubt he realizes the significance of this cover. Celebs don't get to choose their images for mag covers so he probably had no idea this shot would be the cover. I am sure the 23 year old was estatic to be the first Black man to appear on the cover of what is arguably the world's top fashion publication.

This is monumental alright.

What are you feeling on this? Leave a comment, please!


I know Dr. King Is Pissed....... said...

This is just another example of American stupidity. The cover has nothing to do with fashion. What a wasted piece of history. This is just as stupid as if Eddie Murphy would have been the first black man awarded an academy award for his role as DONKEY in Shrek. If he's going to be the first black man on the cover of this fashion magazine, at least let him look fashionable. The only thing fashionable on the cover, is the white girl on his arm. ............ Ohhhhhh....Damn it, i get it.....It's fashionable for our BLACK MEN TO WEAR WHITE WOMAN ON THEIR ARMS.......IT'S THE LATEST CRAZE.....
I guess i'll be fashionable if i get me one lol

drey230 said...

Divide and conquer is how they got us before... The man is in a basketball outfit...he's a basketball player. If he wanted to be on the cover of a fashion magazine in a Versace suit, maybe he should give back the tens of millions of dollars he's earned as a basketball player and start becoming a fashion model.

I'm not saying that your in a "tizy" but Eddie Murphy honestly did do an award winning job as "Donkey" in Shrek. The issue is not what you wear but how you wear it. If that was Kobe on the cover with his arms around a white woman, I would be concerned. He was accused of using his status to "rape" a white woman. Lebron is a basketball star with a clean, good role model for your kids, record. It is what it is. The fact that they have him in the magazine with a suit is covering all the bases of responsibility.

I appreciate my sistas running to bat but we've got bigger fish to fry like Hillary!

benetton_the_dj said...

Racism?...hmmm, might be a reach on that one lil sis. Honestly I think racism is embedded in ALL of us who breath air. But to point that at the reason why a magazine chose a certain picture of LeBron James for their cover, not sure I agree with you (totally) on that one.
Glad you think about the slant in anything you do (we have a Father in common to thank for that), yet here I'm seeing not much more than "business (as usual)".
This magazine is in business to make money first, with fashion as a vehicle.
I could really keep going with this, but a comment should not be a blog in itself (right?)

BigCNYC said...

i don't think i care as much about this vogue cover having subtle racism but more like it just looks tacky and unimaginative. sure, being in the biz, i know conde nast (vogue's owner) won't win any diversity awards anytime soon but time magazine noted that men's vogue has had more Black men on their cover in their short history than vogue has had in their entire 100 year plus history on newsstands. so i don't think anna sat from up high and plotted a racist attack. i think she picked a photo she thought was hot and it's so not.

Bsquared said...

Mailing letter off to 4 Times Square today.

Lots on my plate right now but I must add this before I leave for the J-O: subtle racism is often worst than blatant racism. Again I stress, I cannot imagine this same cover image with a White athlete and a Black model. C'mon, I work at a magazine so I fully understand that Vogue is trying to sell issues but this is bigger than that to me and to all of us. To D. Rey, frying the little fish is just as important as the big ones. Presidential elections are once every four years...

And to Big C, there was actually nothing in my letter to Anna about racism but more about the classless image chosen for a mag that typically aims to exude class.

So happy folx are leaving comments though! We can all agree to disagree so -- more, more, more!!! lol

slittle said...

That's almost asking the question is there any Ethics in Business??? The bottom line is the magazine has to sell and although people would buy if Lebron was in a suit, MORE would buy seeing him in his basketball outfit. It just looks a little more interesting when a person is wondering what's inside of that cover. Ya feel me Bsquared??

benetton_the_dj said...

well, well lil sis...looks like you're not alone. some b-ball/sports folks are now starting to chime in. Or is it joining the bandwagon?