Vogue Italia debuted the cover for their May issue via their social media a few days ago. Cover model Gigi Hadid also took to her social media to express her excitement about the shoot. After the cover dropped, a flood of backlash ensued, accusing the publication and model Gigi Hadid of blackface.
I just don't get the blackface vibe from this cover. I don't feel like my blackness or features are being made a mockery of or like Gigi is being draped in some form of black likeness. I just don't see it...
Image Credit: Vogue Italia
I get it, Gigi is much paler in real life in comparison with this image. But is this not the look that white girls go for when they tan? This looks like the job of bronzer or a spray tan, and post-shoot editing also plays a big part in the finished product. When I saw the cover, I immediately thought bronzer. This doesn't offend me, like at all. I was more moved by the male model, Justin Martin, literally being used as a prop throughout the cover shoot. Gigi could've honestly posed by herself. The cover also doesn't do anything for me aesthetically; it's not that great, but I digress.
We can definitely talk about blackface in fashion editorial shoots; it's BEEN a problem.
Image Credit: Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, The Fashion Cult, L'Officiel Paris, L'Officiel Hommes
All of this backlash caused Gigi to take to Twitter and post an apology and have to spell out that the creative direction was out of her control. She was literally just showing up for work. We're so quick to come for the models in these types of shoots; they're the easiest targets for blame. However, the ones behind instances of blackface or general insensitivity are those within the creative teams who lay out the aesthetics of the shoot from the top to the bottom.
I'm all for calling out those that need to be checked for these types of things, but blackface just wasn't the case here.
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