Posts tagged ‘Fashion’

Kanye won’t let Twitter be great: an open letter

Dear Kanye,

Hey bro. How’s it goin?

It was very cool to see this story about your performance at the Facebook offices. I have to say I’ve been a fan of yours for a while, so it’s very cool to see social media music colliding in such a great way. Even after the emo madness that you unleashed on 808s and Heartbreak, I’m proud to say that I can’t wait to see what you do on Good Ass Job.

But that’s not why I’m writing you this letter. I’m writing you this letter because of you recent shenanigans on Twitter.

and my personal favorite because it’s only stating the obvious:

Taken by themselves these tweets aren’t so bad. But I’ve taken a look at your timeline, Yeezy, and I can’t say that I like what I saw. A whole stream of tweets and nary a retweet or @ reply to be seen. Shame on you, Kanye.

Twitter is about influence, it’s about connection, it’s about sharing information. One could argue that there’s some narcissism wrapped up in why people tweet, and I get that. But you take it to another level. Not only do you randomly follow just one person, but you don’t even interact with that one person you so haphazardly decided to follow!

Kanye, the problem is simple. You have an opportunity to really show us how influential both your image and your music can be, but unfortunately that opportunity is slipping away. Instead of interacting with your fans and giving us a glimpse into your world the way Big Boi or Chrisette Michele does, you give us tweets filled with verbal vomit about jogging in Lanvin or a new Rolex you just bought.

With all that said, I can’t say I’m necessarily surprised that you’re cuttin’ up the way you are on Twitter. I mean you are the guy who interrupted Taylor Swift at the VMA’s last year. But what do I know? I’m just a social media geek in California with high hopes for Twitter’s potential–potential that you’re currently sh*tting on.

Kanye, my request is simple….just let Twitter be great.

and you can go run tell that, homeboy.

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Essence Hires a White Fashion Director

Yes, you read that right.

From Fishbowl NY:

The door continues revolving atEssence: now, the magazine has named Ellianna Placas as its new fashion director and Tasha Turner as its new senior beauty editor.

Placas will make her debut with the magazine’s 40th anniversary September issue and will oversee the conception and packaging of Essence‘s fashion coverage, feature stories and multi-platform packages. She began her career in publishing styling cover shoots for 0: The Oprah Magazine. Placas has also worked forUs WeeklyReal SimpleNew York,More and Life & Style.

Former Fashion Editor Michaela Angela Davis had some choice words to say about Essence’s recent decision on her Facebook Wall:

“It’s with a heavy heart I’ve learned Essence Magazine has engaged a white Fashion Director. I love Essence and I love fashion. I hate this news and this feeling. It hurts, literally. The fashion industry has historically been so hostile to black people–especially women. The 1 seat reserved for black women once held by Susan Taylor, Ionia Dunn-Lee, Harriette Cole(+ me) is now-I can’t. It’s a dark day for me. How do you feel?”

….

There is one precious seat at the fashion shows that says Essence the magazine for black women. When asked, “What is your unique perspective for black women?” How is that answered? Even if they got Anna Wintour herself (which editors inside Essence assure me she is NOT) it still would hurt. From a brand perspective there should be a unique lens through which information is filtered…at Essence it is believed that filter is black, female..connected through shared history and soul…I believe we’ve not come far enough for this move.

There’s already been a lot said about this story, so I’ll try to make my comments on this brief. Aside from the most obvious argument–that having a white fashion director at a black women’s magazine raises a few eyebrows–I have to make the point that not hiring Ms. Placas based solely on her race would have been discrimination. But furthermore, Essence has been white-owned for quite some time now, so how surprised can we really be?

I do worry about how having a white fashion editor at a magazine that is supposed to be devoted to the life and style of Black women will effect the magazine’s brand, as Clutch brings up in their write-up on the news.  What does it mean when a magazine for Black women sees fit to have a white fashion editor when there were so many other (black) candidates to choose from? What about her experiences positioned her to become the editor at a Black women’s magazine? And what will she do differently that a black editor wouldn’t have done?

On the other hand, maybe we can’t judge too harshly until we see what Placas does. I’ve heard this argument several times this week, but it’s hard when as a girl I looked to Essence to see images of black beauty and style and I remember wanting to be as regal and as beautiful as the women in the magazine. Essence fashion spreads made me embrace everything that black beauty was and could be.

What does it mean when a new fashion editor of the most popular black women’s magazine didn’t grow up with that experience?

Amber Rose in Complex Magazine: Sexy Beast (?)

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saartjiebwJezebel talks about Amber Rose’s most recent photo shoot for Complex Magazine:

The industry’s general unwillingness to embrace models of color as anything besides the exoticized “other” is thwarting the development and popularization of other kinds of black beauty. Even Alek Wek, the Sudanese supermodel, noted that she was often asked to pose in spreads that she felt fitted into a wider and more troubling tradition of black peoples representation in the mainstream media, particularly with regard to a Lavazza calendar where she posed inside a coffee cup, her skin intended to represent the espresso. As Wek wrote in her memoir, “I can’t help but compare them to all the images of black people that have been used in marketing over the decades. There was the big-lipped jungle-dweller on the blackamoor ceramic mugs sold in the ’40s; the golliwog badges given away with jam; Little Black Sambo, who decorated the walls of an American restaurant chain in the 1960s; and Uncle Ben, whose apparently benign image still sells rice.”

It’s worth noting that in re-creating these pictures, Complex did tone them down; gone are the chains from the whip photo, and so too is the raw meat and the sign explicitly referring to the model as an animal in the cage photo. The choices the Complex art director made are almost certainly intended to mitigate the offense of the original images; we’ve come at least some way as a society since Jean-Paul Goude’s day. But how long will it be before we automatically recognize any picture of a black woman caged up like an animal as offensive?

If the pictures above look oddly familiar and even similar to you,  they should. When I see the image of Amber Rose  or Grace Jones in a cage, I immediately thought of Saartjie Baartman, a black woman in the 18th century captured in S. Africa by British imperialist and then put on display at carnivals and fairs because of her voluptuous body.

It’s no secret that the “black woman as sexual beast” meme is still very prevalent in portrayals of Black women, particularly in fashion and music. That said, I really don’t think it was that deep for Complex. What I mean is, I don’t think their intention was to fetishize Black women at all in these pictures. It seems as though they just wanted to pay homage to Grace Jones* and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. However, even though the magazine had the best intentions it doesn’t mean that the implied racial and sexual implications of these picture don’t exist.

*and stereotypes aside, Amber Rose ain’t SEEIN Grace Jones in these pictures. Grace Jones is SO stylin on her.

Fab Coat Alert!

i have no other comments except that the coat–and the boots–are BAD (meaning good).  thanks to my buddy mike for passing this along via gtalk.

Remember, Remember the Fourth of November: Black Blogger Roundup

Two days ago, we elected our first Black President. Here is a roundup of what Black folks are saying around the Blogosphere:

  • Average Bro gives some random thoughts the day after the election, including why all Barack would have to do is do a good job and it would be better for Black people.
  • Stereohyped says what I’ve been thinking: Barack for President is cool AND I’m happy about Michelle as First Lady. They have a side by side comparison to recent first ladies.
  • At The Root, Henry Louis Gates gives his sage wisdom about Barack Obama and what his presidency means in this post-civil rights Black America.
  • As a shameless plug, I wrote a post over at Pushback about Bill Bennett claiming that whites no longer have to listen to “excuses” from minorities….Bill Bennett, please stop talking.
  • Black Snob gives us the scoop on Michelle’s dress among other things…I like the dress better now than I did at first, but I still didn’t like it as much as her DNC dress.
  • Jack and Jill Politics has a lot of great stuff, including this cartoon.
  • And finally, Culture Kitchen has the full text of Obama’s acceptance speech and the Youtube as well.