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From the colorless cover of Vanity Fair‘s Hollywood issue to the infrequent covers featuring black women on Vogue Magazine, it’s clear that racial diversity is just not a priority to several top publications despite the varied ethnic backgrounds of their readers. T Magazine now joins the pantheon of white-washed magazines as the first issue edited by incoming editor Deborah Needleman was devoid of a single model or subject of color. Once the lack of diversity was brought to Needleman’s attention, she offered this explanation:

It was something I noticed and regretted as we were putting the issue together. We are a global magazine and so would like the content , subjects and geography of stories to reflect that. In coming issues, we cover the people and places of Seoul, São Paulo, Kenya, Bollywood actors, Nigeria, etc. A majority of fashion models are still unfortunately mostly white, but it is our aim to celebrate quality and beauty in all its diverse forms. We can and will aim to do better, but our goal is first and foremost to deliver the best stories we find, and it is my belief that quality and good journalism appeal to all of us regardless of our specific ethnic origins.

Her statement is interesting. Though a global perspective is a welcome change, why would she need to leave the U.S. to add more color to T Magazine‘s pages? And do magazines get a pass for not including models of different backgrounds since the majority of working models are white?

Some agree with her logic but I still believe magazine editors and publishers could easily achieve diversity if it was important to them. What are your thoughts, Clutchettes?

  • Carrie Leilam Love

    This is not an apology. She is basically saying that the “best stories we find” are not about people of color and that’s why they weren’t included, and then acting like she’s being gracious for making an effort to include non-whites, whom she has already implied are less than the “best.”

  • Rue

    I can just FEEL the sincerity dude. How do u not notice that something has ALL white people.

  • Chillyroad

    Don’t put it past them.

  • donnadara

    Sounds like the same lame excuses that the chick from Girls uses. If she doesn’t care about showing diversity because she thinks only white people will read her magazine, then she should own that. Again, this is what happens when no non-white people are behind the scenes to say, how about Alex Wek, Chanel Iman, Liya Kedebe, or any of the many non-white models who are not well-known? She should wear her bigotry with pride. I’m sure that her magazine will go out of business soon enough and/or she will be fired. Then she can sit at home and watch as the U.S. continues to become more diverse. The New York Times should be ashamed.

  • Tammy

    “And do magazines get a pass for not including models of different backgrounds”

    I can name a few magazines that get passes for not including models of different backgrounds, but I guess it’s only wrong when it’s White people who stick with “their own,” even if, as it appears, it is done unintentionally (but okay when done intentionally???)? Doesn’t make much sense to me and really isn’t different regardless of color or background…all bigotry when done intentionally, only justified to suit whoever is the bigot.

  • Kay

    I should be angry at the ignorance of some people, but the truth is, White people have been normalized for so long that no one thinks about it. If you need a hero, he’s White. A princess? A model? All White. That’s because our entire society has been primed to think of Whiteness as normative. If you ask people to think about a Black, Asian, Latino or Native American model or actress it’s as if their minds have to realign themselves to think about it. It’s like “Oh….so we’re not doing NORMAL people this issue? We’re doing those OTHER kinds of people. Because those other people aren’t normal like me.”

    I know this to be true because I’ve actually had to walk White colleagues of mine through this process. At the end, they are usually horrified that they think that way, but at the same time, I wonder how they can be so shocked that they think like this. I mean most people claim to not be stupid, we live in an age of technology, you see people of color living and breathing all around you is it really a stretch for you to include them in your mental landscape?

  • mrie

    I think you black people cry about anything and everything and are to polarized to come together to do anything for your own benefit. That being said, if a magazine does not want black people on its pages, why make a fuss about it. We black people are our own worse enemy. Just don’t buy the damn magazine! Talk less and more action! We have buying power don’t we? Hit these suckers where it hurts. Crying like impertinent grade schoolers have gotten y’all no where, so why continue with the same shit year after year. Y’all complain about a lot things and about nothing, its sickening.

  • Somebody

    Why are we always quick to complain about all White this and all White that. I believe there are bigger issues at hand than featuring us in Vanity Fair and Vogue. And let’s not forget that no magazine can come and say it’s a “White” magazine even if it is for fear of being condemned but we as Blacks DO have “Black” magazines. (Yes,as a Black woman, I buy “Black” magazines- I love them). Are we discriminating too? I wonder.

  • Somebody

    I knew you’d get thumbs down for this (and I will too) but I get your point.

  • Ladidi

    People, just read another magazine. People don’t complain when black/African American magazines like Essence, Jet and Ebony put very little African or Caribbean content- just the occasional sprinkle on a few pages. Editors can’t really please everyone. We’ve complained forever and Vanity Fair hasn’t changed so clearly, at this point, we can save our energy for other productive advocacy.

    Different publications have their audiences. If I want to read about people/cultures/stories I can relate to, I find the right magazine. For me when I’m feeling all Nigerian-y , I find appropriate magazines and blogs instead of putting Essence on blast (that barely even puts black designers there except for that one issue with 2 pages of ‘African designers’)

  • Cali

    You don’t notice when that’s already your world and no one around you is another color.

  • Afrostyling

    What the hell is T Magazine?

  • -A.

    Since when did fashion go with majority? Could’ve sworn it was supposed to move towards breaking the “norm”…

  • http://gravatar.com/zanele Zanele

    I have a solution for us, ladies of colour: Just stop buying their damn magazines!

    Honestly, we can produce our own quality magazines. I have never bought a single issue of Vanity Fair, Vogue or T Magazine (didn’t even know what that was until now) and I have not been at a loss for it, nor has my sense of value, self-worth and self-esteem been in any way diminished because one White magazine decided not to call someone with my skin colour ‘beautiful’ or ‘fashionable’. It’s getting old, and tired for us as a community to keep complaining about white people not wanting to change things for us, acknowledge us, tell us we are beautiful, recommend us etc. It is plainly obvious that institutional racism and narrow-minded perceptions and issues of beauty are disproportionately skewed against us. And when we do band together and produce publications with noteworthy journalism and containing issues relevant to our experiences, we all end up moaning and complaining in the comments section instead of just boycotting their stupid, bigoted magazines.

    Honestly, Clutch, a lot of your articles are well-written and informative, but this non-apology was a waste of your time to write – you pretty-much stated the obvious and preached to the converted – and it was a waste of my time to read (Yes, I am aware of the irony given the length of my comment).

  • http://gravatar.com/missinformation7 Ms. Information

    I hate when we (black) people act like the annoying little sister towards white people and we want them to include us in everything…forget them…we do not need validation from white people!!

  • http://gravatar.com/mrhymes10 DBG

    Why apologize? It’s not like we don’t know their’s racism in entertainment.

    (shrug)

  • http://halloftheblackdragon.com Greg Dragon

    The comments in this article give me hope that this “begging for scraps from massa’s table” mentality is nearing it’s end. Support black-owned magazines if it means anything to you and stop the incessant whining,

  • Natalie B.

    I don’t want any black woman featured in any “fashion” magazine where the editor is wearing a dress that I possibly could have worn to my 8th grade dance, circa 1992.

    The excuse is trite, lame and is another reason why we should either produce quality fashion/lifestyle magazines that cater to us, or demand that those already in existence do a better job regarding content and production quality.

  • rando

    lol @ people always expecting white people to accept and include them in everything. it ain’t EVA gonna happen

  • Erica

    It comes with the Sunday New York Times.

  • Jess

    You’re absolutely right–we need to stop supporting these publications. A few years back, I subscribed to the now defunct Lucky magazine. A fashion mag that basically told you where to buy all the clothes they advertised. I noticed one month that there was not a single Black person inside the entire magazine–nowhere, not in any ad. I was highly offended, I called up and cancelled my subscription then shot off a letter to the editor detailing exactly why.

  • Common Sense

    Zanele, you couldn’t have been more right! JUST DON’T PICK IT UP!!!! Why on earth would you pay your hard-earned money to someone who is in essence saying F*** you!??!!?!?!? WHY???? Screw them!

  • Common Sense

    What is more, this Needleman, is Jewish and they know how it is to be discriminated against, but they perpetuate the prejudices that were rained upon them onto blacks in this country. It is their way of trying to make us seem that we are lower than them. This is their way of trying to be superior. Who needs them?

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    Right! I don’t mean to be ignorant but I honestly don’t recall hearing this publication. Furthermore, her excuse is lame and just another tap dance around the truth of “sorry but being discriminatory but I’ am NOT really sorry…”

  • AM

    I have never heard of T Magazine, but will definitely make sure to acquaint myself.

    Firstly, why is she apologizing for an INTENTIONAL and STRATEGIC editing choice? She knows good and well, had nobody brought the lack of diversity to her immediate attention, she wouldn’t be issuing such a ludicrous PR statement.
    -
    Secondly, the magazine is apparently one with a global perspective; to mean that its readership is diverse, again,color me confused with her “blondie moment” editing choices and follow up forced apology statements.
    -
    Thirdly, it is okay to have an all white mag which completely alienates your (diverse) core audience. At least, your melanin highly blessed and favored consumer NOW (if ever they were confused about your intents), can choose to continue supporting or take their monies elswhere.
    -
    Lastly,I think it is safe to say that we’ve (black women) reached a point whereby, we are okay not trying to fit in your puzzle. It’s been a struggle, but I can confidently say that most of us nowadays are not phased by the lack of integration. Instead, segragation has brought together a congregation of wonderful ideas…..e.g. Clutch Mag, that focuses on us-black women. [although sometimes it's a battlefield in these comment sections]

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com Val

    I agree.

  • YeahRight2011

    Its ironic in a way. When we were less concerned with inclusion they were the most fascinated. The whole natural hair redux made the news because it didn’t require whites being inclusive or their perspective. Something to think about.

  • Jay Cee

    If that dried-up prune on the cover is true elegance, I’d rather do without it!

  • MommieDearest

    I ttotally agree. I get so annoyed when we cry about white people not including us in this or that. EFF THEM!!! We don’t have to support their siht. We can create and support our own.

  • justanotheropinion

    “It was something I noticed and regretted as we were putting the issue together. ”

    That’s where her apology lost any possibility of being heartfelt or genuine.

  • S.

    Who cares about some White woman editing White women only in a White magazine, seriously

    What I resent the most is that WHITE PEOPLE are the binding factor for all people of color!

    Why do we feel that magazines with all White models and all White writers are the best? Blacks, Asians, Indigenous… we all want in with White but WHY? Why are we so interested in them and not each other???

    I can’t for the life of me understand this mentality. So many people suffering from Stockholm Syndrome

  • leelah

    Here is the interesting thing about this. No one was complaining about this magazine because no one even knows of this magazine. This very smart editor wrote a letter addressing an issue thats not even an issue. All of sudden her magazine is being talked about which equals a whole lot of free publicity….but black people are on this post calling each other whiners and complainers over some made up call for diversity in some struggle magazine that nobody even reads. Its almost comical

  • http://melodymoose.deviantart.com/ Catpopstar

    We already do not buy the magazines. Articles like this are made to tell them a reason why.

  • WhatIThink

    if the mainstream fashion industry isn’t using black models then where are all these black women who are aspiring models going then? I mean with all these black beauty pages and articles about black fab women you would think that by now we would be able to harness that energy into creating our own beauty industry, modeling industry and fashion industry…… But otherwise there isn’t much of a future in modeling unless you want to be a token black in some stock photo collection or the stereotypical street hood rat hip hop model or dare I say it World Star Hip Hop type video vixen.

    But then again a lot of the black top models of the past were too busy bagging white men to care or do anything about creating anything for blacks in this industry.

  • MommieDearest

    Exactly! All this begging and pleading for inclusion is pathetic and makes us look silly and weak. EFF THEM! Let them have their siht. We are more than capable of creating and supporting our OWN.

  • I got sense!

    Your last statement doesn’t apply to Iman, Tyra, Alek, Kimora, or Beverly. They have done so much for women of color in the states and beyond. Check your facts first please.

  • apple

    was it black people complaining? i mean maybe it was the asians or hispanics upset this time, where does it say it was us this time?

  • http://gravatar.com/ceecollegegal CeeCee

    I always walk-by the magazine shelf in the store. I’ve never heard of this magazine and I don’t even know why Clutch bothered to post the editor’s comments.

  • http://www.notacookie.com laneemarlena

    Why do we care that we aren’t featured in their magazines? If they don’t want us there why are we crying to be in them? My mom always said don’t go where you’re not wanted. If you want to see black people in a magazine read a magazine that gladly features us. I used to read womens health mag all the time but I stopped because they never featured women of color, if they don’t have people like me in their magazine, then I’m not going to give them my money. Simple as that.

  • http://defendingmoney.wordpress.com Marketing Gimmicks

    I know that’s right. Probably only wanna see black women as her maid or her granddaughter’s nanny.

  • leomi

    Here we go again. I really wish we as black people would stop complaining over not being included in the white world. I don’t see whites angry over Ebony! This magazine was created by a white person, for white people, why would they go out of their way to include blacks? If we want to see more brown/tan women, then we need to create our own magazines! Why depend on whites for rotten scraps, when we can plant our own tree and have the freshest, juiciest fruit!

  • Somebody

    Amen!

  • WhatIThink

    There are a few that have done some things but generally black models are still at the mercy of the larger white fashion and beauty industry.

    There is still a need to build because the fact is this is a global system. You can go to most places in the world and see white faces in high places on billboards and ads even if the population isn’t white.

    And many times most black women(and men) get into fashion and beauty because they want to be cute and admired not because a) they actually know anything about the industry and the exploitation in it or b) because they seriously want to build anything for black people…

  • Melody

    Just don’t buy or read T magazine. If they want our dollars, they’ll wise up.

  • http://blaqlife.wordpress.com Ashley Austin

    I agree with you! If they really wanted to diversify the magazines, they would! There are over a million “ethnic” models in the US that they could chose from, but they still chose not to, it baffles me. In the magazine industry there is a big gap in racial standings, why must we (African Americans) have our own “issue” once a year, we should have our own magazine. I mean, honestly, would Caucasians feel a certain type of way if an African American magazine had an “All White Issue”? It would be an unfortunate world if roles were reversed.

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