I remember when Vogue Italia published the all Black issue three years ago. I bought two—one to read, and one to leave in the plastic as a collector's item. I was sooo excited, and I still am. But it seems that the fashion rags take one step forward and two back. Like this issue did.
Not only did Italian Vogue do an issue featureing all black models, but they featured Tocarra, a black plus-size model. That, in and of itself was ground-breaking. Not just black, but plus-size black model.
To this day, this beauty shot of Tocarra is my favorite.
And Tocarra was working the heck out of this bustier. Truly exhibiting super powers.
But my bubble deflated when I saw the editorial featuring black models in blackface. Why? I suppose it was a symbolic nod the the beauty of blackness. But wasn't that the point of the entire issue?
In 2009 French Vogue showed thier facination with "blackface" by using a white model to recreate minstrel makeup aka "blackface". It was artistic expression. Okay. After all the backlash of that spread one would think that they got the point. But no.
Apparently the think tank at French Vogue thought if they put blackface makeup on a black face it wolud set the record straight. Thus the fashion-forward to attempt at African tribal makeup on Beyoncé . More artistic expression.
The latest in the course of insensitivey by Vogue Italia by using the term, "slave earrings", was dismissed as an error in translation. As reported by the Huffington Post:
Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia, has released a statement apologizing for what was supposedly a mistranslation. As printed in the Guardian, Sozzani's statement said, "We apologise for the inconvenience. It is a matter of really bad traslation (sic) from Italian into English.
The Italian word, which defines those kind of earrings, should instead be translated into 'ethnicalstyle earrings'. Again, we are sorry about this mistake which we have just amended in the website."
Apparently all the uproar from not only vocal blacks with access to the internet, but also non-blacks who advocated for an apology. The website changed the name of the earrings from "slave earrings, to "ethnic(al) earrings." Didn't know there was such a thing.
The earrings? 5 Blings.
I’m a huge fan of Franca Sozzani and Vogue Italia’s website because they have a whole section on black models. Is it controversial? Yes. The naming of it, I don’t get it. I sometimes wonder in this age of reality shows has it become part of the language–the more controversy the more [buzz] it creates. But yeah, I didn’t like it. Slave does not make it ethnic. Mind you, it’s not lost in translation–the word slave, we know what it is. They might as well have called them “n***** earrings.” For somebody like Franca Sozzani, who did that whole black issue for Vogue, somebody should have said something.