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Thursday, April 23, 2009

The State Of Black Models In Mainstream Fashion

Three women of color have appeared on the cover of a Vogue Magazine in three consecutive months—Michelle Obama appeared on the March issue of Vogue, Beyonce appeared on the April issue of Vouge, and now Liya Kebede appears on the May cover of the magazine alongside other top models. Liya credits the Obamas for having an influence on diversity in the fashion industry. As she told NY Magazine, "I think it’s wonderful to have a beautiful, elegant man and woman in the White House," said Kebede. "I think it changes the way we look at things. Already they’re attracting so much attention. I think fashion is following, and I’m really glad that fashion is following what they’re doing and [that] it’s really helping diversity." Kebede added, "I think there’s a lot more black models working and I think that’s because of having Michelle and Barack out there. I mean there’s been this issue, raised last year—how there wasn’t enough black models on the runways—but I think Barack and Michelle have really helped us, hopefully forever, to get over this hurdle for black models."

Earlier this month, supermodel Naomi Campbell told the German Glamour magazine that although politically times have changed and a black president is now in power in the United States, the modelling industry is behind the times and black women have to work harder in order to get equal treatment.
What do you think, are black models "over" the hurdle or do they still have a ways to go to get equal treatment? Share your comments below.
(Photo Credits: Iconogenic, © iStockphoto) (Model Used Solely For Illustrative Purposes)


Dulce said...

Black models still have a way to go to get equal treatment in the fashion industry in my opinion.
The emerging and established black fashion designers could also help this cause by using more black models in their catwalk shows and ad campaigns.
Black is beautiful and it sure does not why hide it?

Anonymous said...

black models need to stop whining and do for themselves. what happens when obama leaves power and they're no longer flava of the month? yes, barck and michelle have helped but may be the mistake is to always look to white people for approval.

Nje said...

Sorry, but I think Liya Kebede is a little bit off on this one. Sure, black may be "in" at the moment because people are fascinated by the Obamas, but black models still don't get featured prominently in fashion magazines, runways, and the like. Liya is doing really well for herself at the moment (I think that she's the new face of J.Crew), but let's not get it twisted, things are definitely not all peachy now. Naomi has it right---black models have to work harder to succeed.

Anonymous said...

The term 'women of color' disturbs me. To me, it implies White people are colorless and anything outside of that is 'colored', as in, not the norm.
Please my Black sisters, refrain from using that term. We could easily say 'Non-White'. I find that preferable IMHO.

And why the constant whining of black models to be used by WHITE designers? Is it by force? I don't see White models complaining when Black designers don't use them on their shows. As someone rightly said, black people should STOP looking up to the White people for everything. Black designers should (and I believe they do to a great extent) use black models on their shows. We as a black people, really have to get our act together and stop all the whining already!

Tairebabs said...

I think change in whatever form or industry always takes a bit of time but the good thing is once the ball has been kicked things just keep moving. I believe there are still a lot of hurdles in terms of the fact that models are still categorized as black/white. The real hurdle will be removed when it becomes a case of this or that model based on names and not race.