Vogue Paris in Black Face

by Sky Obercam

Is this ever going to stop?! Just a few weeks ago, we saw a designer feature models in blackface (more like brown face). Now, French Vogue has decided to join in on the racist, outdated minstrel foolery by showcasing Dutch supermodel Lara Stone in blackface. What is wrong with these people?

We’re also baffled as to what why blackface is so damn appealing to non-black people.

It’s tired, futile, and meant to be highly degrading to people of color. If these individuals value the beauty of our beautiful skin tone, why don’t they feature one of the many of beautiful black models in the world who would love to book a Vogue shoot.

Clutchettes, what say you about this ridiculousness?

  • http://www.thestyleandbeautydoctor.com The Style and Beauty Doctor

    I understand creative expression and all that, but this is crazy! Are they that determined not to hire black models that they’ll paint a white model black? Ridiculous…lol.

  • http://www.facebook.com/africamiranda Africa Miranda

    I totally agree. How does anyone (in any country) still think this is a good idea? I’ll go along with many things in the name of fashion but this isn’t one of them. smh

  • http://www.roxrevolution.blogspot.com bless roxwell

    this so stupid! if you want Black/Brown Skin in your ads THEN HIRE BLACK/BROWN MODELS! it’s not rocket science vogue! or are you just trying to sell more mags by courting controversy?

  • lee

    i don’t know… sometimes i think we are a little bit too sensitive about our race. i was watching coming to america last night and the scenes in the barber shop were friggin hilarious. black people (especially comedians) openly mock whites and other nationalities all the time but if anyone ever talks about us we get extremely sensitive. however, i do agree… the images are confusing to me because they could have just hired a black model. my first reaction to the pictures wasn’t a good one.

  • Rhue b

    she looks kind of cool. It isn’t offensive 2 me b/c they didn’t portray her in an ugly way or try exaggerate or mock common African features. I think she looks really pretty.

  • whit

    I think she looks ridiculousness. You know right away that this isn’t a black person. Why couldn’t this have been a black of brown skinned model???
    UGGGGGHHH, brown faces, then ridiculous wigs, now this?!!

  • Marcela

    Dude, lighten up. It’s a concept. Have you never seen someone dressed up as a geisha? or as a native american? Do you think dressing up as a member of a different culture is equivalent to racism? Vogue Paris is not an american magazine. Not everyone is obligated to sharing americans’ views on racism. Minstrel shows were an american thing, there are people who have no idea what it was or that dressing up as a black person is considered “racist” to some. Honestly, unless it’s done with the intention of offending or making fun of someone, it’s not supposed to be offensive.

  • http://make-upmusicmoneyme.blogspot.com/ Jennifer

    Hire a black/brown model and this would’ve had SO MUCH more meaning.

  • lola

    Blackface is always wrong–period.

    @ marcela. Blackface is not unique to americans. Europeans, latin americans and a whole host of othere people have historically used blackface to malign black people. These countries are NOT colorblind as some would like to believe.

    @ lee. When you show me an entertianment industry that has been historically dominated by white people and has a history of using exagerated images of white people to degrade and malign them than ill buy the coming to america argument. The fact is there is barely a handful “whiteface” images while there are hundreds of thousands of blackface images. Comparing one incident with eddie murphy to a patern of behavior exhibited by an industry that has not only excluded by maligned black people doesn’t hold water. Especially considering there are plenty of real black models looking 4 work.

  • lola

    I meany *dominated by black people*

  • Loquacious_

    Preach Lola! Preach.

  • http://www.MASQUEmagazine.com KellyB.

    what’s really pathetic about it all is no matter how much brown makeup you put on these women, they will never exude the true beauty that a black woman has. being a beautiful black woman goes beyond the color of her skin – it’s her confidence, her strut, and the way she holds her head up high. this black face stuff is getting way out of hand…

  • http://nukynk.blogspot.com/ Natalie (Nu Kynk)

    They do it because they feel they can get away with it. They justify this behavior with covers like an ‘artistic expression’, but as the author said why not just use Black models. These models in Black face are insulting and places us a objects void of emotions. And the thing about this is they are doing it toward Black women whether they realize it or not. As if they are sending the message of “white women make a better black woman, we’re not originals but I’m sure your men find us attractive, and if not I can go back to being white any day.”

  • http://ebonyintuition.blogspot.com Ebony Intuition

    who cares.

  • lee

    i can see what you are saying but i don’t know…. quite honestly, we don’t own the color brown (not directly at least but technically we are all from the motherland). i know some indians, middle easterns, mexicans and other types of asians that are darker than me.

    that other designer that had the white models with brown faces and huge pink lips… to me that was that was obvious “black face” mockery…. this is not so horribly obvious to me.

  • Nyota

    I don’t understand the concept of what her being the color brown has anything to do with the setup/clothes she’s wearing. That’s why I feel it wouldn’t have made a difference and would have probably been cheaper if they had just hired a brown model.
    What really bothers me though is photo shoots and spreads of black models always in some cheetah or animal print. The latest one to come to mind was of Naomi Campbell jumping rope with monkeys….like really??

  • Nyota

    @Marcela you seem horrible confused…there is nothing wrong with dressing up as a geisha or any other culture…but exactly what culture is it where people adorn in only blackface is that a part of a national costume that I’ve never heard of??
    Lola is right blackface is wrong period and is not only isolated to the USA. Check the following video of a variety show in Australia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMAyGewq37w&feature=player_embedded
    If you must be reminded of the history that Australia has with it’s own natives the Aboriginals this would not sit well…ignorance is not bliss..

  • Nyota

    note to self to proofread my comments before posting : )

  • Honey

    it’s pretty simple just don’t buy their stupid french issue when they’ll compare the results of their sale to the one of the Italian Vogue 2 summers ago, they’lle change their ignorant mind, you’ll see all suddendly they’ll learn how not to offense other races!

  • Honey

    concerning Marcella some black people can get their own opinion because they want to be accepted in this world they feel they have to repeat what white folks think, poor people
    people like her could be self hatred black people or just white folks

  • http://www.houseofluff.com Fluff

    Why can’t these magazines just use black models instead of painting white ones brown? I mean haven’t they thought of that? When and how many times have you seen a black model painted white for this “creative purpose”? This is just all to silly. Creative expression, shmeative expression.

  • lee

    nyota! i totally agree with you on the black models in animal prints and wild jungle settings. i am disturbed by ads like that as well. as if all black people are animals or some ish. that’s the stuff the seems to breeze by people. i am trying to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one but in all honesty, they should have just used a black/brown skinned model if that’s the look they were going for.

  • cherbear

    To me this is purely artistic. Fashion has trends and fads. This is just another trend. Next season the girls might have purple/blue skin. Who knows, who cares. I thinks it’s artistic. And you know what your looking – a white/euro girl with painted skin. Now if it was done 1920′s black face i’d be pissed off! The model is a clothes hanger.

  • medina

    It’s degrading and humiliating. What what exactly is paris, vogue trying to make?! are they saying Black is beautiful and celebrating it. It they trully wanted to celebrate the beauty of Blackness they would just easily hire a Black model. Black is the new BLack!!!

  • http://efrutik.blogspot.com Efrutik

    Hmmm to be honest I am not sure as what to say. If the perceived notion is that it is offensive to the “black” audience then it definitely was an offensive tactic on the part of the publisher. It’s also not likely that the French Vogue had no choice of black models to hire for the shoot either. If they needed a new fresh face then there is Sara Nuru who won Germany’s Next Top Model competition in a predominantly and somewhat intolerable white dominate society. Plus Lara Stone should get it to the bone that she can never represent the beauty of being black she is awful at it, and she looks ugly with the unnatural & overtly exaggerated black skin tone. She definitely is not pretty even in her own skin tone……

    Well also, obviously the French Vogue has a sort of mild obsession with “blackness”. Well the entire Western world actually. In the Dutch society they paint black faces on white people every year and celebrate it as a national holiday. Still I am not sure of the purpose or the validity to have such a tradition at all. Now that is a questionable approach to honoring and respecting people of different color than the “traditional” Dutch society. See to the Dutch model Lara Stone coming from a country that does that EVERY year, her actions must be just right and correct. Very sad, but heck it reminds me more and more that we ladies are Just gorgeous now the posers should get that point straight, or at least will at some point.

  • bronzebeauty

    I don’t agree with outrage over this editorial shoot. First off, it’s not “black face” in the historical or racial sense, where 1) a white person’s face is painted black b/c societal restrictions prevent a black person from taking the role and 2) it’s not done in a mocking, degrading way as to clown a black person (like they did back in the day). It’s artistic expression and like any artistic expression, it’s going to have different perceptions – mine being that French Vogue used ONE model to blur/question the lines of race. I actually think the shoot is real intriguing and thought provoking.. especially w/the ways the paint fades w/each shoot leading to a stark white face & body. We’re all more similar than we think.

  • kerr

    1st. Everyone is allowed to have and share their opinions. Each of us experiences life from a different perspective, so I think we should ease up on those whose opinions are different from ours, and not shout them down. This way they are not turned off from reading or commenting on this site.

    That being said, I personally find these photos offensive. I get artistic expression but this is uncomfortable to look at. Art is suppose to inspire, uplift, tell a story and potray the atrist’s emotions. What exactly were they trying to potray here? There are many beautiful black models out there who are being overlooked because they are black, so why do this? How can one not be offended, uncomfortable, turned off even? It just rubs me the wrong way, and it takes alot to offend me when it come to race.I gave up on vogue a while back,simply because I don’t feel it uplifts to me as a human being nor as a black woman.It just doesn’t seem to be targeting me, so why bother?

  • guest

    white people usually have different facial features than most black people. so to see white features with black skin is something very different.

    i think thats all this really is.

  • b

    @ bronzebeauty – I agree. i’m tired of complaining and feeding into the ideal of blacks coming under attack. i think the shoot is an interesting concept. this COULD be viewed as an attempt to erase color lines. so i’m choosing to celebrate it! Black is beautiful. Black sells. Black is the new black!
    we need to stop being so quick to get offended…this shoot is not really offensive; it’s done in good taste. it’s art.

  • Rae

    This is poor taste. What makes this an interesting concept? Black face is not a new idea and this is not original. Is there a shortage of black models? What was the objective? Pointless.

  • http://www.themiseducationofblackpeople.webs.com Jerseygirl

    I agree “blackface” is wrong, it is disrespectful. However, Iam moreso saddened and wounded by how we African Americans disrespect each other. Can each of us in our own sphere of influence begin to dismantle the hate, violence, anger that prevails in our COMMUNITY.

  • halima

    bronzebeauty I SO AGREE WIT! I thing ur ranting and getting ur undies in a bunch over NOTHING! this is just ART. I doubt these ppl meant any harm or disrespect. After actually looking at the clothes..its so big and major that its too much for a white gurl to sport..ONLY A BLK QUEEN look good in such ornaments. NOW YOU ASK: WHY NOT GET A BLK MODEL?! AGAIN..its like copy is the best flattery. ONLY IGNORANT BLK PPl will take it there! I love it ..and amazed of the cosmetic team to get her so smooth and so real.

  • b

    in my opinion, one of the photos portrays her as a queen. the pics are almost regal. -that is not bad taste.

  • KMG

    Hey ladies, Project Rungay has picked up this topic and they had some things to say about it too. I think you’ll be pleased to see their opinion. Thank you for covering this.

  • thinkpink

    I completly agree with bronzebeauty and jerseygirl. I don’t see how everyone is upset over this but doesnt show the same outrage everytime the N word is dropped in our own music. It’s very sad that we get angry over the way other cultures depict us but don’t deal with the damage we do to ourselves in music, television and film.

  • no thanks

    Wow, here we go again, another racial debate. I am a black man, and i did not find this discriminatory or insensitive. Nor did I find that Michael Jackson performance in Australia as offensive – I thought it was funny, tbh. Seriously, I think we need to take a look at ourselves before pointing fingers at other nations. I, personally, see this is as art. I did NOT find these images offending because I am not as shallow as to judge without knowing facts and concepts behind their work. Come on America, we need to stop judging the world, and think about our own history first, otherwise other nations will just keep getting pissed off with us and blaming us. There was no intention of offending anyone in this. It is us, or more-so YOU who find this offensive because Americans are so politically correct, that I think it is WE who are the backward nation. Come on, lighten up guys, don’t be so serious and uptight.

  • kerr

    had to comment on this again because Ive been going over and over in mind why they would do this. what were they trying to potray? now that I have had a day to think about I don’t find it that offensive. It occured to me that perhaps they were trying to potry that this woman would be beautiful in any color, and that the color of her skin wouldn’t change that since we are all the same. IF this is what they were trying to potray then I would retract my first comment of being offended. And it does seem clearer to me now that this was what they were saying.
    hey i’m allowed to change my mind. with more information and thought I must be honest that i’m not offended anymore.

  • bronzebeauty

    @ kerr, you’re too cute. :) Yes of course we’re allowed to change our minds.

    That’s precisely how I saw it and you said it well: that this woman, any woman is beautiful regardless of color she is (or painted in). I think the media is stirring up the pot by circulating these 4 pictures as opposed to the entire shoot where the varying shades black/brown to white, and the concept itself is more apparent.

    That said, I did find it sad and offensive that in a tribute to supermodels, that French Vogue somehow forgot to include the likes of Iman or Naomi Campbell or Beverly Johnson…

    I disagree with the poster above who found nothing wrong with the Austrailan guys “paying tribute” Michael Johnson. That video honestly made my stomach turn because in true black face form, their makeup, hair and mannerisms exhibited nothing but disrespect and mockery of black people and of MJ. But I have to give major props to Harry Connick Jr. for standing up and speaking up against it.

    I agree with a couple of comments above. When are WE going to treat OURSELVES better? It’s evident that we don’t, with for example the the letter from the (fictitious) teen to BET. BET’s head is a black woman, yet the degradation of women in raunchy videos that they have no problem playing, speaks volumes. When are OUR actors, musicians, celebrities going to step up and be more socially responsible towards OUR community? What are WE doing to empower our youth? Obama and Oprah can only do so much.

  • Fed Up

    To all the people who want to believe it’s nothing but an “expression” of art, whatever. I’m an artist myself and I find this degrading. If “black” is the new “black”, why not use a Black person? I feel that the Western culture is so obsessed with our skin because they want to be like us. There are sun tan salons, bronzers and browning agents out there for a reason. There’s even one called “Brown Envy”. I think this is another example of non-color people wanting to be like us but rather than admit it, they use this avenue to still try and degrade us. I guess their mentality is “if you can’t be them, mock them”.

  • http://divalocity.blogspot.com Vonmiwi

    Today I had a reality check about fashion in general. First of all, we love to look good and wear whatever we feel like regardless of whether we can afford the clothes and shoes or not. When was the last time Gucci, D&G, Prada, Chanel, Christian Louboutin,Dior and other high-end designers we love to throw around, used models of color in their ads. Think about it, the designer names that we talk abut don’t even consider us as target customers. But we don’t care because we’ve bought into the belief we are what we wear, even if some of us are broke. Conspicuous consumption is the name of the game for the majority of us and I’m not trying to put anyone down, but we really need to wake up. Today I received a lot of subscription renewal request from some of the same magazines that many of you probably read and I’m seriously having second thoughts about renewing my subscriptions because they hardly feature women of color in the pages and on the covers. I’ve got to have a conscience about something and this is something that I feel passionate about. Why should I continue to give away my hard earned money to people who render me and all of you as invisible? Fashion no matter how it’s packaged is all about commerce and everyone seems to be making billions off of us, but what are we actually getting from them other than what we may think is an investment? Clothes and shoes don’t pay the bills, for them yeah, but not for us.

  • Jai

    I am a dancer, and I enjoy art and artistic things, including high fashion, and I’m usually pretty open to artistc expression. However, I do find this Vogue spread offensive. Mainly because there are Black/Brown models that could have been hired for this job. Its disrespectful to Black models and Black people in general.
    In my opinion, blackface is blackface,and its offensive. Period.
    @ NoThanks, and several others, you should really do some research on blackface and minstrelsy; the images and the messages This was not strictly an American thing. It started here, but it was a worldwide phenomenon. These people in these European countries are aware, even if acutely, the implications and messages behind blackface.
    If they really wanted to honor or Black women or African culture, they should have used a Black model. That’s like saying you’re honoring a zebra with a horse.

    I also agree with those who made the point that WE should be more careful about the images we put out of our selves.

  • Jai
  • http://Google.com Ginger

    Very True Marcela.. You told my words right of my mouth.

  • lee

    jai-that’s exactly the reason that i have a problem with this ad. their choice of using make up on a white model prevented a black model from getting a job. however, as everyone pointed out in their comments, we didn’t see the whole spread. maybe they were trying to send a message. i just wish their magazine was more reflective and inclusive of the way the world really looks on a regular basis and not just trying to send some message to everyone in one ad.

  • b

    if they had used a black model, would it have gotten any attention? NO. It would just be an average photo shoot, and none of you who are up in arms about it would have been paying any attention. seriously. Instead, you would have been busy complaining about another magazine or advertisement, that didn’t use a black model or a black this or that. The point was to show that the WOMAN herself is beautiful in the clothes NO MATTER the color of her skin. She is beautiful white/black/indian/asian (since like someone mentioned above: we don’t OWN the color brown). that’s what makes it art; there is a conversation to be had about it. it’s meaning is deeper than what the eye alone can see. if that’s not art, then what is?

  • Antoniah

    For some reason I’m more annoyed than offended at the fact that they did this. It seems to be done with artistic license, so I’m not picking up on racist vibes, but if you’re going to showcase Lara Stone, showcase Lara Stone – not Lara Stone on National Opposite Day. If you want to showcase blackness, why not just get a black model?

  • BamBooHoney

    They have nothing to worry about black folks will buy their French fashion junk even if they cannot afford it.

    Fascinating use of the middle finger by these people.

  • ti

    this is to marcela, have you ever seen a black model painted lighter to look like a mexican or a white? lighten up? no your race is not out there. whites and mexicans are getting way more jobs than blacks. do you really know how hard it is for african americans to get a job as a model? no you do not so sometimes people need to look deeper than what they are looking at. stupidity comes in all different races and i think she proved it to us.

  • http://vegas-times.com/blogs/janell/ Janel Necole

    That is NOT okay.

  • Joiah

    This type of disrespect needs to stop. I think that you black females out there should not patronize Vogue for awhile. Until they get there act together. If we don’t draw the line somewhere then they figure they can get away with it all the time.

  • Whitney

    OMG! If they desire black faces so bad, then hire black models! This is socially irresponsible and I am tired of these people using art as an excuse for ignorance.

  • Michael Aleksander Brooks

    It’s art, not racism! In the same way as it would be interesting to change the ethnicities of black to white, this photoshoot is very cool and breaks the boundaries of race, does not set them in stone!

  • Bella

    I am a mixed race woman (‘White’ and Native American – heinz 57 really, with English Irish Dutch German Black Russian Native American). I look very much white, however when I am tanned in the summer I look like an olive skinned European (I’ve been told a ‘Mediterranean look). Due to this, I have never had to endure the pain of being racially attacked like my sister who is quite dark (although when I am my darker shade people comment on how much better I look – sorry but excuse me?? I am the same person…).

    I have never seen a black person done up in ‘white’ makeup. Would there be the same outrage?

    By releasing only a few of the photos, we are only seeing what they want us to see – a ‘lighter’ form of blackface (I say lighter because it is not the dark black blackface and overly protruded painted on lips etc – the clownish blackface that is meant to mock). IF it is true that the photos (in whole) depict a soft color change from black to white in order to showcase that a woman is beautiful no matter what color, then I see it as artistic license.

    HOWEVER would it not have made the point in a more appealing manner if they had hired a model of EACH color? For example, a beautiful dark ebony woman, then a dark chocolate woman, then a milk chocolate woman, and so on until they reached the whitest white? From darkest dark to whitest white, we are ALL beautiful and I believe if that is the point they were trying to make, then that is what they should have done.

    My 2 cents.

  • Hope

    Before I get started, I’ll be honest, I’m white. My older sister is black (related through my father’s side) She says she doesn’t care about this, but I find it terribly insulting. They won’t hire models that are too white, but they paint white models black when there’s some gorgeous black models willing to do the shoot. Iman, Naomi Campbell come to mind. Women are geogouse in all colours and if they want a model to look a cerain part, they should hire accordingly. It’s not right to make a white chick dark and claim you don’t know better. The good news is it wasn’t done with intentional malice as they would with a picture of Michael Jackson or something. They really did wrong though.

  • Carri

    OMG, i’m so sick of everything being called racist. Who cares if some white girl is painted black. My goodness, its art, not related to racism in any way. How come everytime something to do with a white person that a black person or someone of another color could have done better be considered racist? The editor or whoever was incharge of the photoshoot had an artistic idea and i believe it worked. The first thing that caught my eye when looking at these photos was not the color of the skin, it was how pretty the face of this girl looks, how awesome her pose is, NOT COLOR. I firmly believe NO ONE could have done these pictures any better, not even an African American woman. Its time to get over it, racism does not exist in real life these days, it only exists when ignorant people claim racism when their choice of skin color was not picked for a role they believed should have been. These photos symbolize art.

  • TomTom

    There is not one thing wrong with these pics. Art is beautiful in all forms, racism was and is not the point these pics were trying to make. Art comes in all forms of colors, not only white/ not only black/ not only red/ not only yellow, so get your thoughts correct, racism is incorrect to think about when looking at these gorgeous pictures. The model looks amazing, great bone structure and beautiful eyes. Black people want to think of this as degrading but its not, no other model could have made these photos as wonderful to look at than the one pictured in them.

  • Happiness

    Art indeed!

    Now, I used to work as Beauty Consultant for a well known French fashion house. The fact is that most of these companies ARE racist. When I worked for the company in question, they would sometimes say that they didn’t want some Black girls to work for them because of the way that they looked. If they deemed that the Make-up artist/Beauty Consultant didn’t have the looks they desired, they would tell the agency to send someone else the next week, preferably someone White.

    I dislike it when people, epecially people that these things don’t affect jump in to say it is art. It may be art to you, but as a Black person, it is not art for me when these same companies will not employ Black models, but have to paint White models Black instead. This is the height of stupidity to me and I take it as an insult, big time.

  • http://ebonyintuition.blogspot.com Ebony Intuition

    I don’t understand why any black blogs gave the editorial any light, I would never even post these images on my blog.

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  • http://google I Agree with Happiness

    I agree with Happiness. What a lot of bullshit currently being passed over as “fashion culture.” I can’t believe that such outdated racist attitudes still abide in the fashion industry today! Christ, we’re in the 21st century, not the 19th! I would have hoped people’s philosophies would have progressed beyond all this bullshit by now! Obviously it hasn’t. And if you think I’m going to spend a fortune on the flimsy fashion trends of those idiots in Paris, than forget it!

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