The lack of diversity in the fashion industry is a topic that has been discussed repeatedly over the years. Black models aren’t utilized nearly as much as they should be on the runway. Besides Vogue Italia’s occasional “Black issue”, they’re not featured as often in magazines as we would like to see either. What’s makes even less sense is the underrepresentation of black celebrities on fashion websites.

Unlike models, celebrities have the advantage of being more than just a pretty face to readers. They’re also popular on fashion blogs because of their sartorial choices on and off the red carpet. But black celebrities are featured a lot less often than their white counterparts. In fact, any coverage of a black celeb on a style website results in a slew of comments from readers. When Who What Wear Daily made Solange Knowles their “Girl of the Month” for May, readers congratulated the site on featuring a woman of color.

Reader Cookie wrote:

Yeah, that’s right…. put more women of color on the site! We make up a good chunk of your viewers and we simply love fashion.

Reader Amarie wrote:

i love www but i wish you featured more girls of color on the site. she’s not the only brown girl with style.

Amarie is right; Solange is far from the only celeb of color with fashion sense. From actresses to singers to reality television starlets, there certainly isn’t a shortage of stylish brown beauties to feature. So why are they being ignored by fashion sites?

Of course, fashion blogs can be counted on to feature Beyonce, Halle Berry, Rihanna and Zoe Saldana occasionally but covering a handful of black celebrities doesn’t make a site diverse.

While we don’t need to see black celebrities on fashion blogs to feel beautiful, what kind of message are fashion sites sending by not featuring more black women? Are we not stylish enough or do we have to look like the Beyonces and Halle Berrys of the world to be worthy of notice? I certainly know the answer to that question is hell no. But I’m not a young girl who’s going to go on TeenVogue.com or Fashionista.com, wonder why none of the celebrities look like me and start to think black celebrities are less fashionable or not as pretty.

Thankfully, sites like Coco and Crème and Fashion Bomb Daily feature stylish celebrities of color but it’s a little frustrating and incredibly sad that there has to be separate sites for something as light and frivolous as fashion.

— Olajuwon Ajayi

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  • cca

    also we have to keep in mind how many women of color are walking the red carpet. most magazine cover these events and there arent tons of women of color walking the red carpet.
    Especially the big events like Cannes. I love seeing Shala Monroque featured often in Vogue US.

  • Most of those sites are fueled by popular culture and celebrity, and that includes our sites too. Sure there are a lot of women of African descent with style, but these sites don’t and will not feature them unless they create a buzz much like Solange has.

    I wrote about Shala Monroque years before the fashion industry did and look at her now. Believe me don’t think they’re not checking our sites out because they are. I knew that VOGUE and the New York Times were going to do stories on her because they had been all over my blog and she kindly verified that info.

    On another subject, UK designer Henry Holland says Solange sucks, I beg to differ. The woman has style for days. We blog because we want the diversity we don’t see from the mainstream fashion magazines and sites, keep on doing what you’re doing by celebrating our own beauty and style.

  • pouterblu

    Solo is coming into herself…I’m loving her transformation!
    One of my favorite stylists, styled her for 3 out of the 4 looks above….check’em out – Poodle Pusher. you can see some additional photos also on their Facebook page!

  • Tokenism

    I’m also annoyed by the fact that these websites feature Black women solely for the sake of featuring Black women. Zoe Saldana isn’t a style icon. She lives in jeans and tee shirts!

  • Krissy G.

    Wow. When are African Americans going to stop begging for crumbs from the white man’s table. You have your own websites, magazines, TV networks, radio networks, fashion shows…. Do you hear Native Americans, Chinese, Indians constantly begging for representation. No. They’re busy building their own, which is quickly catching up with yours and about to surpass them. Get a little perspective.

    • omg

      in some ways i agree with you – stop begging to be included in their publications or be accepted by them. but, i think things are a tad more complicated depending on how you look at it.

      i look at a site called boutiques.com and see that on their celeb section, there are no blacks for me to view. now, i like the site. is it wrong of me to expect/hope/want them to have some black folks there? not really.

      i also think telling black folk to build their own media is a tad silly and then comparing us to native americans, “chinese” which i imagine you mean asian and saying they are building media and we’re not is so offbase.

      blacks in media/entertainment (ownership) are well ahead of native americans and asians. i can think of no online magazine site owned by asians or native americans that is more popular than any similar black-owned ventures.

      from ebony to jet to essence to bet and on and on…if there’s one area where blacks have excelled in ownership and entrepreneurship, it’s in entertainment/media.