Above is the French magazine Numéro’s ideal of an African Queen. I guess this is further evidence that those French people aren’t entangled with race issues like the US, they ain’t got time for that. The 16 year old Ford Model is a native of North Carolina and popular feature on many high fashion catwalks. That is who Numéro felt was the best model for evoking the spirit of African royalty. Yelp, not Liya Kebede nor Alek Wek. Prominent models actually from Africa. Nope, the pasty 16 year old from North Carolina was the best candidate for an African Queen. Take this as an official confirmation that black AIN’T beautiful no more, that moment has passed.
This spread evokes so many emotions I don’t even know where to start! I need explanations. All I want to know is WHY ?! Why not use a black model, African model to represent AN AFRICAN QUEEN? Maybe this is just a residual result of the Liz Taylor “Cleopatra effect”, you know the impulse behind the casting of Angelina Jolie in the upcoming remake of Cleopatra. The recent Intel and Subway commercials featuring white Egyptians are more evidence that Western society does not want to accept what Egyptians past and present look like. Thanks to their brilliant historical account, everyone knows Egyptians were fair skinned people who had absolutely no roots in Africa.
Or maybe it’s because those darn black models just aren’t “Queen Material.” You know black women don’t know how to be queen’s. The only roles suitable for us in the fashion world and Hollywood are mammy, cunt, or nappy headed ho’.
Honestly, we can’t expect much from the fashion industry. The fashion world is superficial anyway and notorious for excluding and misrepresenting women of color. BUT there are, be it a small amount, black women, AFRICAN women in the industry. So this is not an issue of availability. The magazine flat out refused to feature a black model in the spread. Their blatant disregard for casting a model with cultural roots related to the theme of the spread speaks volumes about their opinion of who an African Queen should be. The idea of beauty emerging from Africa does not align with the fashion industry’s Eurocentric beauty standard.
The only way they could imagine an African Queen was through the lens of what they have defined as beautiful; which is always pasty, thin, and blonde. Anything outside of this is an exception. The few women of color present in the fashion world are a way to appease a very lucrative pool of consumers, black folks. So don’t think that the appearance of a few more black faces is a sign that they have realized the error of their ways.
Numéro couldn’t resist the opportunity to jump on the current trend of African inspired prints. Thus arose the dissonance, they couldn’t fathom queen and black woman together so they settled for the next best thing. Take the ideal, throw on some bronzer and VOILA Queen accomplished.
What’s underlying all of this madness is the why. Why is the fashion industry, society afraid to celebrate and AFFIRM the beauty of black women. HMMM. Broken, denigrated spirits and hearts are easy to control. Easy to oppress. Easy to exploit. Easy to manipulate. Easy to convince the only way for them to be beautiful is by purchasing products and paying for procedures to transform to a standard that starkly contrasts with their natural features.
Because for black girls and women to look like Ondria Hardin they need Remy, skin creams, and contacts which translates into DOLLARS. Fuel for the capitalist machine that perpetuates their oppression. It’s not an accident Ondria was chosen for this spread, it’s not an oversight that their were black models who would have been a more appropriate fit. Never forget that projects of this nature that costs money, time, and energy have been thoroughly thought through and all alternatives considered.
Be mindful of what you consume. Little doses of unchecked lies eventually take a toll on your spirit, whether you’re aware or not. Eventually you start believing the lies.