Day: July 29, 2008

Art Fashion Media Models Naomi Campbell Race Matters

Fashion Photographer Nick Knight Tackles Racism With Naomi Campbell

Renowned fashion photographer Nick Knight has created an experimental video featuring a machine gun-toting Naomi Campbell, two Rodarte dresses, a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes and title cards that silently express his outrage at the fashion industry’s systemized racism.

Excerpts from the video read:

I am virtually never allowed to photograph black models for the magazines, fashion houses, cosmetic brands, perfume companies and advertising clients I work for.

Whenever I ask to use a black model I am given excuses such as “Black models are not aspirational in some markets” or “they do not reflect the brands values,” normally, however, no reason is given.

By my own inaction, I am guilty of allowing racism to be normalized and accepted in this business. This has made me deeply sad and increasingly angry.

Fashion is often seen as frivolous but this is not a trivial issue. It is my belief that our society must be inclusive and by denying people the right to be seen as beautiful you cause deep cultural resentment, alienation and division.

PHOTO: Nick Knight/

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Accolades Broadway Ga Ga

Ga Ga: Off-Broadway’s Two-Woman Play Expatriate Closes Aug. 3

At the Culture Project on Mercer Street in New York, Lenelle Moïse and Karla Mosley star as two African-American performance artists, who flee to Paris to fulfill their dreams, in Expatriate.

The two-woman play, directed by Tamilla Woodard, features original music and choreography and will end its run on August 3.

Proclaiming it “delivers on all counts,” the New York Times said in a recent review, “With all the theater out there, how inspiring it is to be reminded how invigorating an Off Broadway play can be with just two appealing performers, compelling music and a searching, intelligent script.”

Buy tickets online at

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ObamaNation: PETA Reprimands Obama for Not Wanting A Mutt

The President of PETA wrote a letter to the Obamas Tuesday, urging them to adopt a mutt, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The letter, which is in response to the Obamas’ decision to get a dog for daughters, Malia and Sasha, when they reach the White House, reads, “This country is proud to be a melting pot, and there is something deeply wrong and elitist about wanting only a purebred dog.”

PHOTO: Reuters

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Politics Race Matters

House Set to Apologize for Slavery & Jim Crow

The House of Representatives is set to pass a resolution that would apologize to African Americans for slavery and Jim Crow, according to CNN.

Rep. Steve Cohen, a white lawmaker who represents a majority black district in Memphis, Tennessee, introduced the nonbinding resolution. If passed, it will be the first time a branch of the federal government will apologize for slavery.

By passing the resolution, the House will acknowledge the “injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow,” an aide to Cohen said.

This piece of legislation has the Internet buzzing, with the Washington Post‘s readers sparking serious debates on Ben Pershing’s “Capitol Briefing” blog.

In response to another Pershing reader–who asked why we can’t “just move on” since it’s been 140 years since slavery–a commenter, who calls him/herself “Black and Bitter Like Coffee,” said:

We can “just move on” when America owns its role for slavery in America and the results of forcibly taking men, women and children from their native continent so that white America can become the privileged class. When white America learn to refuse and give up their benefits of “white privilege”, then we can “move on.” Until then, the division will exist. It’s that simple.

PHOTO: Karen Walker’s “The End of Uncle Tom and the Grand Allegorical Tableau of Eva in Heaven” (1995)

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Race Matters

Graduation Report: Schott Foundation Takes Stand For Black Males

When it comes to the percentage of black male students who graduate from high school, the Schott Foundation for Public Education has taken a stand with their new report, “Given Half a Chance: The 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males.”

According to the study, North Dakota, Arizona and New Jersey have higher-than-average black male graduation rates, while Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana ranked among the states with the greatest differences in graduation rates for black and white male students.

For the 2005-2006 school year, the national average graduation rate for black males is 47 percent, and the foundation states that “state-by-state data demonstrate that districts with large Black enrollments educate their White, non-Hispanic peers, but fail to educate the majority of their Black male students.”

PHOTO: Schott Foundation

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America's Next Top Model Models TV Tyra Banks

An Open Letter to Tyra Banks & Cycle 12 of America’s Next Top Model

As The CW’s America’s Next Top Model gets ready to cast diamonds-in-the-rough for Cycle 12, Blindie has a few things for producers to keep in mind. Basically, we still think this guilty pleasure can be saved from itself–and from the claws of Tyra–but only if they get rid of a few of the show’s formulaic tendencies.

Here’s 10 Things Blindie Hates About You, ANTM:

1. Tyra, STOP the dramatics. From your random accents on the panel to your unnatural sadness when kicking contestants off. If we have to hear you say, “I have two beautiful girls standing before me, but I only have one photograph in my hand. That photo represents the girl who is still in the running toward becoming America’s Next Top Model….” I think we will have to cut your tongue out!

2. ENOUGH already with the “Smile with Your Eyes” bit. We know how to do it–you’ve been schooling these girls on smiling with their eyes for 11 cycles now!

3. No more pretty girls with disabilities! From Cycle 1’s Amanda (retinitis pigmentosa) to Cycle 2’s Mercedes (Lupus) to Cycle 10’s Heather (Aspberger’s, a form of autism), we get it: Pretty people have problems too.

4. Stop calling Nigel Barker a “noted fashion photographer!

5. No more plus-sized models. Just develop a spinoff. We are tired of seeing Size 8s dubbed plus-sized because they are in a house full of Size 0s…

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Africa Art Europe

‘Rubens To Dumas: Black Is Beautiful’ Exhibit Opens In Amsterdam

“Rubens To Dumas: Black Is Beautiful,” an exhibition of 135 paintings, drawings, and manuscripts focusing on the changing role of black people in Dutch art and culture over seven centuries, opened this weekend at De Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam.

The exhibit takes a look at the “fascination” many artists have had with black people, presenting works by Dutch and international artists, including Rembrandt, Rubens, and Dumas.

Reflecting the exaltation and victimization of blacks through the years, the show is divided into three sections: The Old World, where the Moors of Europe, “The Black King” and the Aethiopes or Ethiopians of classical mythology are explored; the New World, where the African continent and blacks as victims of slavery come into play; and the Modern World, where new art movements like Cubism, and Surrealism explore the jazz culture that swept through Europe.

The exhibition was curated by art historian Esther Schreuder.

PHOTO: “Sibylle Agrippina” by Jan van der Hoecke; “On The Terrace” by Nola Hatterman

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