Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Is It Cos I Is Black?

The Naomster is always having a fashionable fit about something but this time La Campbell has hit the nail very squarely on its dainty head. She's been complanining about black models, especially those with darker skin being consistently marginalised by the fashion industry.

As London Fashion Week drew to a close, Carole White, co-founder of Premier Model Management, admitted that finding work for black models is much harder than for white models because magazines and fashion designers don't want to hire them.

"Sadly we are in the business where you stock your shelves with what sells," she said.

"According to the magazines, black models don't sell," White continued. "People don't tend to talk about it, but black models have to be so beautiful and perfect because we can't have a lot of diversity with black models; it's harder work for the agency because there's not so much on offer. White models can have more diversity."

Ms White pointed the finger at those organising model castings, adding: "We have had casting briefs which say 'no ethnics'. But we are better in London than Paris and Milan; there if you offer a black girl they will drop the book like it's hot; it's such hard work for the bookers."

Her comments will reopen one of the most sensitive debates within the fashion industry, where the presence of racism has been a cause of fierce resentment in the past. After a brief golden age in the Eighties and Nineties, Ms White's analysis suggests that fashion show designers and the industry media have regressed to an earlier, more blinkered approach. Naomi Campbell has been particularly critical of the trend, at one point threatening to set up a model agency for black women.

While the director of the Storm agency, Simon Chambers, recently denied the number of high-profile ethnic minority models was diminishing, he said the move towards racial diversity "is not happening quite as fast as predicted".

Ms White said the lack of ethnical-minority models was partly due to a lack of courage in catwalk shows on the part of designers: "In the Eighties and Nineties, you had whole shows with black girls. Now each agency will have one, maybe four; the designers are not as brave."

The use of black models in catwalk shows and magazines tends to be limited to a handful of "big names". They include Campbell, the Ethiopian Liya Kebede and Alek Wek, who is Sudanese.

Ms Campbell, a former Premier model, said yesterday: "There is a lack of women of colour within the fashion industry which needs to be addressed. It is important for the agents, managers, advertisers and designers who are promoting change to speak out. We are not here to complain, we need to find a solution."

Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, who helped write a series of documentaries three years ago on the changing faces of beauty, said it was a misconception that black models were less versatile. He said: "The idea that black models can only be put in exotica or urban clothing is 15 to 20 years out of date. But if you look at four of the world's most famous black models – Campbell, Tyra Banks, Wek and Noemie Lenoir – they come from four countries, their looks are all different and they are all physically dissimilar. There's more diversity in those four than there are in all the models of Britain, Italy and Scandinavia put together."

Anyway I've put together together a bevy of some black beauties for us all to ogle over.

In fact....I'm a straight woman but oh my golly gosh, talking about black beauty check out the hotness is Neyo's new video 'Go On Girl'(Clue...its not Neyo).

Surely its criminal for Iman to still look this hot...at 50+? I'll have some of whatever she's drinking.

Liya Kebede. Somalian. Hot.

British 17 year old uber model Jourdan Dunn made history today by becoming the first black woman to grace the catwalk for Prada since Naomi Campbell did close 15 years ago. That CANNOT be true!

Chanel Iman (I don't know what her parents were thinking with that name...but lucky she's so pretty)

Jessica White.....HOT. She's been in the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated...covered in just body paint. You can google that one yourselves! She's just been named a new face of Maybelline....and this pic is almost enough to make me go and buy everything on her face.

Joy Bryant. Yes I know she's more of an actress these days but she cut her teeth to stardom as a model.

Selita Ebanks. From the Cayman Island is one of Victoria Secret's Angels. HOT.

Noemie Lenoir is half French, half Madagascan. A very familiar face for those in the UK as she's one of the M&S faces...well she's pretty much the only face for their lingerie collections. She's a budding actress that had a role in Rush Hour 3 with a few more roles lined up.

Oluchi. She gets two pictures as she's Nigerian. She's the most successful Face of Africa to date and the true epitome of a real life rags to riches story.

See? That's why she gets two pics. That BOD. And its all real.

And of course, Tyra. With her iconic, 'first black chick on the cover' issue of Sports Illustrated. Now that's hot.

For more info on the race debate see


Anonymous said...

Hey isnt jordan the girl who was discovered in primark hammersmith?Forget how it became the palce to shop,lol! and then became the face for UCB?
The black thing is a major issue, last year they spray painted Kate Moss Black for the cover of the special 'RED' armani edited issue of the independent, sadly not enuff 'black' people where mad at the fact that they simply could have just hired a black model, instead of painting a white one and photshoping her lips/nose to make em fuller and bigger. I remba reading only one article of outrage by the guardian on it, I still have it. Girl this was in london. the supposedly 'multicultural pot' heck I would have done it for free if they tot Naomi,Thandiwe or any black british woman was too expensive or unassecible.

Girl its a form of rasicm but as my dawg Ye said, its still alive and we just be concealing it.. I see a passive form of it from people who get uncomfortable with me discussing being black or racial equality but yeah the joke always is 'is it cos i black'
Nice one tiger.

R Grapvn

Uzo said...

A sad state of affairs in this day and age but being the realist that i am, i dont see this situation changing anytime soon

SET said...

The fact that Jourdan Dunn is the first black model after Naomie (15 yrs ago) to walk the runway for Prada is so shocking to me. I was glad I didn't buy a prada bag last month. Oh wel who am I kidding, I like bags too much. But this is sad.

Tiger Tem said...

@anon...didn't know the primark story. How interesting. Didn't know about the Kate Moss cover either...will look it up now. That's appaling.

@uzo...very sad but true. Too fat for that, too thin to win, too black or not black enough.

@SET...I was really shocked by that. I'm wondering if it can actually be true. Surely it can't?

Renna said...

nice writeup but Oluchi has breast implants.

Tiger Tem said...

@Renna...seriously? Wowza, thought they were real. That's a little disappointing.

Doreen Awiti said...

Dissapointing for Black Models. have to struggle to put their names up there.