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There’s an exciting crop of black supermodels emerging, and 22 year-old Chanel Iman is arguably on the top of the list. Iman has modeled for Victoria’s Secret, GAP, DKNY and Ralph Lauren, and appeared on the covers of Teen Vogue, Italian Elle, i-D Magazine and more. She is the youngest black model to appear on the cover of American Vogue, and only the third black model to have done so. It’s interesting to hear that even she is faced with blocked opportunities and closed doors due to racism when she encounters designers who believe one black model is more than enough.

She told The Sunday Times Magazine:

“I appreciate designers making a strong statement that black women are beautiful. Black women like fashion. And when there’s more diversity on the runway, it makes our world more inclusive.”

When asked if fashion has a problem with race, she says:

“Yeah, most definitely. A few times I got excused by designers who told me ‘we already found one black girl. We don’t need you anymore.’ I felt very discouraged. When someone tells you, ‘we don’t want you because we already have one of your kind, it’s really sad.”

Though Chanel expressed she was proud to be include in Vogue Italia’s legendary All-Black issue, saying “it was a moment for everyone, [black] or not,” The Sunday Times Magazine notes that critics pointed out the 30% increase that issue saw in advertising relied mainly on campaigns with white models. That disconnect between the black faces featured in the magazine and those starring in ads is due to racism as well, according to famed photographer Steven Meisel. He said at the time: “I’ve asked my advertising clients so many times, ‘Can we use a black girl?’ They say No. Advertisers say black models don’t sell.”

That sad reality proves that racism in fashion is an enduring problem. It’s important that successful models like Chanel Iman use their platform and lend their voices to make the chorus against discrimination that much stronger.

What are your thoughts on Chanel Iman’s comments, Clutchettes?

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  1. Damn, ninjas up here writing books and ishhh

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  2. @Ms. Vee Chanel Iman is not half Korean. Her mother is half black and half Korean and her father is all black. So she has about the same amount of asiatic race that many black people have (those of us with native american ancestry).

    There is no one black person that represents black beauty because that is the beauty of the black race. We have many different skin tones and features.

    Women that represent black beauty in my opinion run the gament from Lena Horne to Cicely Tyson, Halle Berry to Alek Wek.

    I am leaving many names out but I think you get my point-Chanel Iman is a true reprentation of black beauty.

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  3. Lesha

    I resent the assumptions and stereotypes that us black women are always bogged down with. I am 27 yrs old. I have no children (and no desire to have any ever) and I’ve never had a track, wig, weave or anything like that in my hair, so don’t just assume that we all have bad attitudes, weaves, and three or 4 different baby daddies. I’m not in any way saying this makes me better than other black women; nobody is perfect and that includes me. Most of ky not so smart decisions can be traced back to my own selfishness or stubbornness. (I am quite stubborn). I don’t think it had anything to do w/ a black or white man, or a black or white woman. Before anyone condemns me, I’m not trying to say racism doesn’t exist; it absolutely does. I know from my own personal experience and the experiences of those close to me; but I do not ignore the responsibility I have of realizing my own mistakes and sins. Of course there are people who try to put the blame on anyone but themselves, and that is true of any race. There are trifling men AND women in Black, White, Asian, Latinos, Native Americans, whatever! And sometimes those triflings hate others but probably not as much as they hats themselves w/o even realizing it. So what can I do about it? Sink to their level? Allow their hatred to change and affect me? Cry about it to whoever will listen to me? No; stick up for myself and what I know to be true about my character. Racism is a serious evil that’s made worse when the victims start to hate themselves as well. As for people who interacially date, SO WHAT????? What race of people is 100% pure?? Being dark skinned does not mean your ancestors were completely 100% African or black. I will date whoever the heck I feel like dating; black, white, Mexican, Asian, Indian, Native American, red, yellow, green, orange, pink or a freaking alien life form from Venus. And I don’t care what the close minded haters or demons think because there ain’t a darn thing ya’ll can do about it!!!!!

    It’s been real ya’ll,
    Lesha

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