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Author Topic: 'African Queen' Editorial  (Read 1798 times)

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Offline SilverTopic starter

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'African Queen' Editorial
« on: February 26, 2013, 06:25:28 PM »
I was reading a few articles today and this one caught my eye.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/25/numero-magazine-african-queen_n_2761374.html?ir=Black+Voices

I want it noted that I am more than open and willing to hear opinions upon this topic. This isn't meant to offend anyone nor open up a can of worms. I'm actually wanting to hear different points of view on the subject matter. As everyone has something different to offer, please share your thoughts.

Offline Rhapsody

Re: 'African Queen' Editorial
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2013, 06:45:08 PM »
If they wanted an African Queen, they should have chosen either an African-American (African-French?) model or, if they were dead set on having a white girl, picking one from Africa.

Perhaps they were making some sort of commentary with the spread, or pushing the boundaries; that possibility always exists. But a quick Google search indicates there's some controversy around using Ms. Hardin at all (some question about her age being 15 or 16), and with that knowledge in mind, it comes across as being risque simply because they can.

Offline Cyrano Johnson

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Re: 'African Queen' Editorial
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2013, 07:47:33 PM »
I don't have much to say about the story itself (except that yes, I think the article writer is correct that this is sleazy and racist behavior -- I also think it may be deliberate courting of outrage in order to get press), but I would submit that the comments thread on that story -- really on any story on the Internet that dares mention racism, ever -- is a veritable catalogue of Derailment Tactics and in this sense is a great teaching tool.

Some of my personal faves include Fake 'Color-Blindness':
Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide
Quote from: Dr Jimmy Rustles
Oh get over yourselves.

Its just skin color. We are all the same.

There is only one race. The Human Race!

This the kind of 'color-blindness' that is really just a cudgel to beat people with if they ever dare to mention that racists exist and treat other people shabbily because of the racial constructs in their heads. If you mention the factual existence of racism, You're The Real Racist -- "Dr Rustles" goes on to say this in so many words to someone who points out how dishonest he's being -- so shut up so we can all go on enjoying that post-racial utopia that doesn't exist.

'You're Just Being Oversensitive'
Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide
Quote
wow, everyone should just not speak or express themselves at all because youre going to get backlash for it, we are all walking on egg shells. someone is always saying this is racist, oh that is sexist, oh this is offensive.......aint nobody got time for dat!!

The most common strategy, and of course there is such a thing as oversensitivity: but what makes this identifiable as Derailment is when it's trotted out regardless of context and no matter how clearly racist the incident actually is.

'What About This Totally Made-Up Caucasian Grievance?'
Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide
Quote from: MisterWood1
What I said earlier was that blacks make up less tha 20% of the US pop, but appear in 95% of TV commercials, why doesn't that up set anyone? If your going to throw %'s out there, use all of them, not just the ones thats support your argument.

Yes, he may have totally pulled that "statistic" out of Stormfront's arse, but you should treat it seriously or You're The Real Racist.

'The Leo Africanus Defense':
Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide
Quote from: jmh5689
Well considering that Africa was named after a white man (Leo Africanus), I dont have a problem with it! What the hell is "African" anyway?? Isnt that a continent comprised of HUNDREDS of DIFFERENT COUNTRIES!!! FYI : "Africa" was originally called Akelbulan which means 'land of the blacks"

In South Park, "The Chewbacca Defense" was immortalized as the practice of defending a client in court by bamboozling the jury with a bunch of bullshit so completely irrelevant to the charges that the case would be tossed out of sheer confusion. In honor of this guy, I would like to christen the crypto-racist version of this strategy the "Leo Africanus Defense."

There are more! Many more. You could make a bingo game out of this... or a drinking game, depending on one's mood.

Offline Scribbles

Re: 'African Queen' Editorial
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2013, 12:14:26 AM »
At a glance, I first took it as a case of being over-sensitive; photographers and designers love to toy around with their work in such ways. Needleman dashes this idea however when she explains, "a majority of fashion models are still unfortunately mostly white..." I can't believe she even attempted such a lame excuse! If they wanted, there's an entire continent full of African models and if they're too cheap to fly one over then they could easily outsource the photographer. That said, I just read an article which points out that the agency which represents Hardin actually has several compatible models which Needleman could have picked from.

Offline BlackestKnight

Re: 'African Queen' Editorial
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2013, 10:50:39 AM »
Don't really care but if your only means of recourse is to shame people for their lack of inclusivity then you are fucked. You will always be in a position to accept crumbs because that's what you allow. I'm not really offended by the actions of the French magazine, French fashion and high fashion in general seems to be pretty euro-centric and it's always been that way. I'm not going to shit on them for that, they built it so why shouldn't it resemble that? I'm offended at black people for not peeping the game for what it is and starting their own. People really bought into this illusion of inclusion. How foolish.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2013, 10:52:24 AM by BlackestKnight »

Offline Sel Nar

Re: 'African Queen' Editorial
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2013, 11:20:18 AM »
I'll just hide in the fantasy world where the only debate about the title 'African Queen' is if the novel by CS Forester is better than the movie, starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn.

Offline Caeli

Re: 'African Queen' Editorial
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2013, 12:47:17 PM »
I don't have any issue with the magazine using a Caucasian model, even if the spread/editorial was titled 'African Queen'.

I do have an issue with the fact that they tried to make her black - or, according to the photographer, tanned and golden skin. Blackface has so many historically negative connotations, and strikes me as a racially insensitive at the very least.

This is not a situation in which lack of inclusiveness, specifically, is the problem. In my opinion, the problem is using blackface (previously used in 19th century theater, in which white actors created stereotyped caricatures of African Americans or, in general, black people) and not realizing how offensive that is.

Offline Scribbles

Re: 'African Queen' Editorial
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2013, 12:57:28 PM »
BlackestKnight, there's nothing wrong with seeking inclusion, especially if it's something you enjoy. To say those who have worked hard to such an end are "fucked" or "foolish" seems a little extreme.

Offline SilverTopic starter

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Re: 'African Queen' Editorial
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2013, 01:06:26 PM »
I don't have any issue with the magazine using a Caucasian model, even if the spread/editorial was titled 'African Queen'.

I do have an issue with the fact that they tried to make her black - or, according to the photographer, tanned and golden skin. Blackface has so many historically negative connotations, and strikes me as a racially insensitive at the very least.

This is not a situation in which lack of inclusiveness, specifically, is the problem. In my opinion, the problem is using blackface (previously used in 19th century theater, in which white actors created stereotyped caricatures of African Americans or, in general, black people) and not realizing how offensive that is.

And that was my issue as well. My mother went on a whole rant about how we (As African Americans) are still treated rather unfairly and I agree to a certain extent. (Then again I kinda don't as she's a Republican but anyways...) In regards to the current topic at hand, I feel that they should feel beyond shamed for doing 'black face'. If that was what you were trying to go for why didn't they just book another model which the look they wanted rather than trying to 'make it work' while not thinking about how it might come off and seem to the world at large. 

Offline Scribbles

Re: 'African Queen' Editorial
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2013, 01:08:35 PM »
I'm not sure if "blackface" is what they intended, it feels like it might have just been an unfortunate oversight.

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Re: 'African Queen' Editorial
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2013, 02:06:18 PM »
The editorial has been updated with responses from both the photographer (who was unaware of the title before shooting the spread) and the magazine.  On the whole, the photographer's apology seems more genuine to me.

Offline BlackestKnight

Re: 'African Queen' Editorial
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2013, 02:11:06 PM »
BlackestKnight, there's nothing wrong with seeking inclusion, especially if it's something you enjoy. To say those who have worked hard to such an end are "fucked" or "foolish" seems a little extreme.

You are fucked if you rely upon the charity of a rival tribe for your well being. Inclusion is resigning your fate to being someone elses bitch. Inclusion is the poor mans empowerment. Inclusion doesn't build banks, hospitals, railroads, universities because inclusion is being absorbed into someone elses infrastructure. You can live a comfortable life being included , but that's where it ends. At some point you have to put some bricks together for your successors instead of chasing something you'll never be.  Inclusion sounds nice on paper, but it doesn't change the fact that people operate from a position of self-interest when they're in the position to do so.
Autonomy>>>Inclusion.  It is foolish to think you can change a structure just because you're given token participation. I'm not concerned with changing peoples attitudes, I'm concerned with influencing the world in a way that is most beneficial to my interests.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2013, 02:15:04 PM by BlackestKnight »

Offline SilverTopic starter

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Re: 'African Queen' Editorial
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2013, 02:18:24 PM »
The editorial has been updated with responses from both the photographer (who was unaware of the title before shooting the spread) and the magazine.  On the whole, the photographer's apology seems more genuine to me.

Indeed the photographer's apology does seem a bit more genuine rather than the magazine given the fact that they had done something similar to this back in 2010 

Offline Scribbles

Re: 'African Queen' Editorial
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2013, 02:21:26 PM »
BlackestKnight, we'll have to agree to disagree.

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Re: 'African Queen' Editorial
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2013, 02:22:11 PM »
You are fucked if you rely upon the charity of a rival tribe for your well being. Inclusion is resigning your fate to being someone elses bitch. Inclusion is the poor mans empowerment. Inclusion doesn't build banks, hospitals, railroads, universities because inclusion is being absorbed into someone elses infrastructure. You can live a comfortable life being included , but that's where it ends. At some point you have to put some bricks together for your successors instead of chasing something you'll never be.  Inclusion sounds nice on paper, but it doesn't change the fact that people operate from a position of self-interest when they're in the position to do so.
Autonomy>>>Inclusion.  It is foolish to think you can change a structure just because you're given token participation. I'm not concerned with changing peoples attitudes, I'm concerned with influencing the world in a way that is most beneficial to my interests.


It's not relying on charity of a "rival tribe" (Are you trying to be anthropological here? It's not coming across clearly, if so.) so much as it is inconveniencing that, uh, 'tribe' enough to stop fucking with you. That's why it was a big issue for women and blacks (and, currently, poor people) to be able to vote using the only voting system there is in this country. If they had tried to set up their own system, it would have essentially been ignored.

Not only that but I'm surprised to see someone advocating what is essentially "separate but equal", because that has been tried in the past and it simply does not work. One system will always have more resources, more drive, and more stamina than the other system. They will not be equal - not even if the government tries to impose "you must be equal!" legislation on two groups. It is foolish, instead, to think that you can get any recognition at all by going and setting up your own sandbox.

And it's not about changing peoples' attitudes. That comes later. Mostly it's about inconveniencing the hell out of people in charge of the current system so they let you in - and then fighting for a better voice and a better system from within.

Offline CupidCatt

Re: 'African Queen' Editorial
« Reply #15 on: February 27, 2013, 02:25:24 PM »
I'm not sure where I stand re the image but I didn't like this at all;

"We'll give you a moment to process that information and pick up your jaws."

It's quoted from the Huffington article. I don't like being told when and why to feel indignant about something. If there's many layers to this (and a white woman in semi-blackface "bronzer", proclaimed as African Queen is pretty much the definition of PC outrage) then they should be explored honestly. Not reduced to an opportunity for smug faux journalism.

There's my 2c  ;D

Offline Caeli

Re: 'African Queen' Editorial
« Reply #16 on: February 27, 2013, 02:45:33 PM »
The editorial has been updated with responses from both the photographer (who was unaware of the title before shooting the spread) and the magazine.  On the whole, the photographer's apology seems more genuine to me.
Indeed the photographer's apology does seem a bit more genuine rather than the magazine given the fact that they had done something similar to this back in 2010 

I do agree that the photographer's apology seemed more genuine. I appreciate the artistry of what he was trying to do, but the use of blackface (even if it was not intended to be offensive, and not intended as blackface) was still very racially insensitive. It speaks well of him and his work that he did make an apology for the reception of the piece.

Offline Scribbles

Re: 'African Queen' Editorial
« Reply #17 on: February 27, 2013, 02:48:38 PM »
CupidCatt, it's the editorial which is basically an opinion piece, only with added "smugness".  :P

I understand what you're saying though, I also rolled my eyes at that line.

Offline Caeli

Re: 'African Queen' Editorial
« Reply #18 on: February 27, 2013, 02:49:42 PM »
I'm going to be honest - I didn't actually read the article, and only skimmed it for the important bits. I looked up the magazine and the editorial title, then did a Google search for a higher-resolution image, and for the model's name.

I actually like Numero magazine and their spreads. It was disappointing to see how they handled the reception of the piece. Just because they have black models on their covers, doesn't negate the unintended offense that was given by 'African Queen'.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2013, 02:51:26 PM by Caeli »

Offline CupidCatt

Re: 'African Queen' Editorial
« Reply #19 on: February 27, 2013, 02:55:28 PM »
CupidCatt, it's the editorial which is basically an opinion piece, only with added "smugness".  :P

I understand what you're saying though, I also rolled my eyes at that line.

All the more reason for the editorial to tackle the issues in an interesting way. I don't follow the Huffington Post though, and my general perception of it isn't really positive.

I had a look at that link to the other photographs featured in the magazine back in 2010... they must think this stuff is cutting-edge and exciting... or they've got a one trick pony for a stylist... or maybe it's dripping with venom and irony, in a culture that celebrates stuff like Django Unchained :P

Offline BlackestKnight

Re: 'African Queen' Editorial
« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2013, 03:59:13 PM »
It's not relying on charity of a "rival tribe" (Are you trying to be anthropological here? It's not coming across clearly, if so.) so much as it is inconveniencing that, uh, 'tribe' enough to stop fucking with you. That's why it was a big issue for women and blacks (and, currently, poor people) to be able to vote using the only voting system there is in this country. If they had tried to set up their own system, it would have essentially been ignored.

Not only that but I'm surprised to see someone advocating what is essentially "separate but equal", because that has been tried in the past and it simply does not work. One system will always have more resources, more drive, and more stamina than the other system. They will not be equal - not even if the government tries to impose "you must be equal!" legislation on two groups. It is foolish, instead, to think that you can get any recognition at all by going and setting up your own sandbox.

And it's not about changing peoples' attitudes. That comes later. Mostly it's about inconveniencing the hell out of people in charge of the current system so they let you in - and then fighting for a better voice and a better system from within.


It just seems like you're bargaining for crumbs from someone elses plate rather than learning how to hunt and produce your own food. Again, how much of an inconvenience can you be for someone if they don't need you? The truth of the matter is, the publication can do things like that only because blacks are so insignificant in the industry that it doesn't occur to them that what they're doing is insensitive. Should they include more blacks and others? yes? but let's be honest, any positions will be token PR positions.

If anyone should be advocating inclusion, shouldn't it actually be the people who are in the position to do the including? The way I see it, the people you describe(women, blacks, poor) should be operating from a self-interest standard as opposed to a we are the world standard. The problem I have with we are the world is that the people "at the top" don't embrace it and the people who need to be focused on building their community embrace "we are the world"  like it's gospel . Why don't you throw away the good book and pick up a wealth of nations so you can learn how to start an urban business that will uplift your brothers and sisters. You're giving the wrong speech to the wrong choir sister.

Secondly, voting is bullshit because the party system itself is bullshit. Our system recognizes capitol, not views. If we had a system that recognized views instead of capitol then great but we don't.

If you want to change the world, volunteer for a non profit or start your own political interest group.


Quote
Not only that but I'm surprised to see someone advocating what is essentially "separate but equal", because that has been tried in the past and it simply does not work. One system will always have more resources, more drive, and more stamina than the other system. They will not be equal - not even if the government tries to impose "you must be equal!" legislation on two groups. It is foolish, instead, to think that you can get any recognition at all by going and setting up your own sandbox.

Was it separate but equal when the Jews established Israel or when Japanese rebuilt their society following Meiji? I advocate black economic sovereignty, nothing more, nothing less. People are afraid because they believe blacks are incapable of being competitive in a global market. I don't care about equality. Self-respect is more important.  I care about competing and thriving. You can never surpass someone you work under. Remember that.


« Last Edit: February 28, 2013, 09:55:14 AM by BlackestKnight »

Offline Thesunmaid

Re: 'African Queen' Editorial
« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2013, 01:44:05 PM »
Maybe this might be obvious..but... um..not everyone born in Africa is black...i know a girl who immigrated to where I live and she is paler than me. She had brown hair and eyes but her skin while tan is not what would be considered African as a stereo type. I think it is a bit silly to make up a white model to look black...but if they are actually from the country..I mean that's like calling someone who is from France not french because they are not hairy and rude. Its a bit silly..My brothers ex and mother of my niece were all very dark skinned and her mothers grandmother was from Haiti..But the woman I called nanny didn't care where she was from...she was Canadian.

I dunno just seems a bit silly to me i guess..But i am also a Heinz 57. My heritage shows that my family thought love it love no matter where they are from lol I never even knew where my maiden name was from so for years when asked I would tell them my last name was Canadian.

If i were to go into a list I am Irish Scottish french, German, Scandinaviain,east Indian,native Indian,and well you get the idea...so yeah..lol

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Re: 'African Queen' Editorial
« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2013, 02:59:48 PM »
Maybe this might be obvious..but... um..not everyone born in Africa is black...i know a girl who immigrated to where I live and she is paler than me.

I'd give that a pass if the model was actually African - no matter what her natural skin tone (although I'd vastly prefer using the natural skin tone).  This particular model is from North Carolina.

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Re: 'African Queen' Editorial
« Reply #23 on: February 28, 2013, 03:09:18 PM »
I'm kindda bemused as to why someone with tanning/bronzing is black face. I thought it was common practice in certain parts of america.

Calling the model an african queen, though, that's painfully absurd.

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Re: 'African Queen' Editorial
« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2013, 03:13:10 PM »
Maybe this might be obvious..but... um..not everyone born in Africa is black

Quote from: From the Article
To start, we know there are plenty of white people living in Africa -- but Ondria is from North Carolina and we're pretty sure white people in Africa don't walk around in what could be considered a light application of blackface.

BlackestKnight: I get where you're coming from, but black people have run fashion magazines of their own since forever (Essence, Jet, Ebony just off the top of my head, Europe apparently has its own counterparts), so I don't see how anyone's relying purely on "inclusion." And you're being unnecessarily hard on "inclusion," too; it can't do everything, but OTOH given that the "illusion of inclusion" was the reason I was able to grow up dating girls of different races without being lynched for it, I think it deserves a certain amount of props. The thing to do is avoid restricting yourself to one tactic or mode of thinking.