Work is what we now require. Work by everybody and work especially by white hands

The latest issue of L'Officiel Hommes features boy beauty Arthur Sales, lensed by Milan Vukmirovic.

In blackface...

"Will the racism and stupidity in fashion ever stop? Black models aren't good enough to grace the cover, and pages of L'Officiel, but they're good enough to be mocked and parodied? The struggle of black models in the industry is already difficult enough, without having to endure this latest slap in the face," Michael of
loophole7 comments at Made in Brazil.

Davidikus says: "I would be very surprised if they were trying to deride black people. I think that to an extent one could argue that L'Officiel might be trying to show that being black is something to aspire to. As long as the rationale behind the shoot has not been stated, it is almost impossible to say whether this is a sinister or positive initative - or just a photoshoot."

Ryan James: "I am a black man, and I do NOT think in anyway they did that photo-shoot with any malice or any intention to ridicule black people. I think it is a genuine attempt to be creative. My problem is that Brazil & many fashion magazine worldwide have been put on blast for not using black people. Now even when they wanna have a black face on the cover, they go ahead and hire a white model to play a black man. That's just really annoying. If black men can't even pose for shoots requiring black skin, when will they EVER get a job in that industry?"

Whatever the intentions were (and I think we can count shock value and setting the cat amongst the pigeons amongst them), there's no getting away from the fact this is a very, very bad idea. It's not creative, it's cringe-inducing.

Title quote: "Work is what we now require. Work by everybody and work especially by white hands." Robert E Lee, American general, 1807-1870.


Langston Baldwin said...

That image with the afro sealed the deal for me. No matter how many times it is declared offencive- the indusrty still goes ahead and produces these types of images. Black models are always gimimicks and trends but never a lasting force in modelling.


Forbidden Light said...

I feel bad for unemployed black models..There's a black man who looks just like him and they could have given him a pink torso...This is why I rarely see black models doing anything remotely artistic.

Eduardo Guize said...

I'm confused... So White Boy Week is over or this still counts?

Is this like back in the days in old movies when black characters were played by white actors with painted faces?

This L'Officiel issue could be a great idea twenty years from now when black models have been given the place they deserve in the industry. Not such creative or original idea actually, but one day it won't be an issue and they'll have fun painting whites black and blacks white or whatever. Right now, they should have thought twice.

Garçon Stupide said...

LOL... yes, White Boy Week is over - the banner's gone from the main banner, see?

I guess this could count though, since it's a white boy...

J. Clarence said...

I would want to know exactly what the point of this particular shoot was.

Though the argument about that the spread might be trying to say that "being black is something to aspire to" is either pretty ridiculous or asinine, because it would imply that there is something better about being Black than White. (I wouldn't necessarily put such reason pass some though.)

I don't think it was done with malice, that wouldn't make any economic sense because it could provoke all sort of legal and other troubles for the magazine; however, that doesn't rule out stupidity.

It seems whatever the secondary purpose one, I am with you Garcon with shock value being one of them.

Garçon Stupide said...

I wonder what sort of discussions were had about it, before, during and after? Surely someone must have said, at the least, "Er... this could look really bad."

Niyi Maximus Crown said...

See, here's the problem... Black people in the fashion industry are seen as somewhat of an exotic gimmick. A little bit like auto-tune in the music industry (a la T-Pain. The idea of beauty being universal doesn't quite work in the media. Beauty is reserved for the white male and "Interesting" or "Quirky" is reserved for everyone else.

Now, I don't really know how to address the issue of this magazine without sounding like everyone else. Is it disgusting? yes it is. Will things like this ever change? Probably not. That is all. As someone with experience both as a model and as a fashion stylist I can say that the industry is not a pretty place. At all.

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