Thursday, May 13, 2010

- when art and its message gets lost.

 (images courtesy of

About a week ago j + j featured the upcoming Interview Magazine because of Madonna making the cover and being photographed with crosses. Little did we know we would feature this magazine again for controversy - one involving race. The editorial pages of this magazine feature images for a spread called "Let's Get Lost," photographed by Mikael Janssen. The photos feature Daria Werbowy (a white model) who is juxtaposed over some black male models, eliciting the age old stereotypes of "jungle fever" and adding fuel to the stereotype that black men take white women and take sexual advantage of them. To begin with, this concept of having a belle blonde enter an exotic world of brown-skinned men and women is cliche. Another gripe we have with this editorial spread is that Daria Werbowy's outfits stand out from the other models. Why is it that all the other models are wearing outfits that look raggedy? Did they hire these black models only to use them as props, just like furniture? It seems as if they are just a supporting cast that only serve to illuminate Daria only. The whole editorial has heavy sexual undertones that only make black people look hypersexual.


This lowbrow incident from Interview Magazine is unexpected and disappointing from a magazine which has produced memorable publications. People in the fashion industry have an ethical obligation to take sensitivites of this kind into account and remember that some wounds take longer to heal. Some in fact have been told from their parents of cases where lynchings occurred because of these stereotypes. If you have not heard about what happened to Emmett Till in 1955, then you do not understand why we still make a big deal about this.

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