Oh Look, It’s Another Blackface Editorial in Vogue
Somehow, in 2013, yet another magazine has decided it would be a good idea to put a Caucasian model in literal blackface for a fashion editorial. This time, the culprit is Vogue Netherlands. (In the recent past, Numéro, L’Officiel and Vogue Paris, have all come under for using blackface.)
Model Querelle Jansen stars in the May 2013 issue’s “Heritage Heroes,” sort of a retrospective editorial of some of Marc Jacobs’s work for Louis Vuitton. The styling of each look is, we guess, somehow meant to illustrate the inspiration of a particular collection. Marc Jacobs found inspiration in African-American cultural icons for his Fall 2008 and Spring 2009 collections–Grace Jones and Josephine Baker, respectively. Vogue Netherlands decided that the best way to convey those inspirations would be with some white models, black face paint and wigs of what looks like black hair, worn throughout. A caption from the editorial translates to “This collection is inspired by the style of the Parisian showgirl Josephine Baker, mixed with tribal influences.”
A couple of alternative ideas: use a model who already looks something like Grace Jones or Josephine Baker without face paint. Or just, you know, don’t paint a white person’s face black ever? Why is this even something we have to keep pointing out? European editors and stylists especially, it seems, are really not getting it.
Vogue Netherlands, though it’s a relatively new Vogue (it launched in March of last year), has a particularly bad track record with using non-white models. And lest we forget, the Netherlands is also the birthplace of the controversial “Zwarte Piet” tradition, wherein Dutch people dress up in blackface to celebrate Christmas Sinterklaas* every year.
We’ve reached out to Vogue Netherlands for comment and will update when we hear back.
You can see the full editorial over at The Fashion Spot.
Update: As many Dutch commenters have pointed out, Zwarte Piet takes place during Sinterklaas, a winter holiday that is similar to Christmas but preceeds it. Those in blackface are depicting a helper of Sinterklaas (essentially Santa Claus) who was either a slave or a white person covered in soot, depending on whom you ask. While some see it as problematic, others see it as harmless.
I don't have a problem with it. The face is mask and looks like a skin mask. In no way does it mimic the minstrel like blackface.
A lot of people don't know the Dutch are also the progenitors of the infamous Boers of South Africa, responsible for apartheid and for hundreds of years before that, tortures and abuses of native Africans that would make the worst KKK freak look like Francis of Assisi.
The Dutch don't have our distasteful tradition of minstrel shows and Amos and Andy.
I don't see the problem.
It doesn't look like blackface but then again I read the model was supposed to be Zwarte Piet which would make it black face.
Because there are no black models you could ever hire.
[quote]As many Dutch commenters have pointed out, Zwarte Piet takes place during Sinterklaas, a winter holiday that is similar to Christmas
Sinterklaas is a person like Santa Claus. I've never heard Sinterklass referred to as a holiday. His arrival is celebrated the way New Yorkers celebrate the arrival of Santa Claus at the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. The Dutch Sinterklass evolved from the Catholic St. Nicholas, thus he arrives on the eve of St. Nicholas' feast day.
It was the Dutch who brought the Sinterklass character to America where the name evolved into Santa Claus.
Their view of the gift-bringer is different from Santa. Sinterklass doesn't come from the North Pole in a reindeer-pulled sleigh. He comes from Spain on a steamship, and his assistant, Black Pete, is a Moor from Spain. Upon arrivial in the Netherlands Sinterklass rides a white horse.
In Austria, their version of St. Nicholas is accompanied by Krampus - a fearsome furry character with the head of a goat.
I think it's tremendous!
R3, everyone knows that.
"Black Peter" was a slave of Saint Nicholas. They've tried to add a chimney bit in recent years. It's full-on blackface. The Netherlands, and Europe are more racist than the US could ever be.
The Dutch are notoriously racist...why should anyone be surprised?
If this had happened in American Vogue I'd be shocked.
I think Americans have a different history with black makeup than Europe does, so what offends Americans is just an old story in Europe. There is a whole host of things that Americans view as racist that has no meaning elsewhere in the world, such as stereotypes of black people eating fried chicken and drinking grape soda. That is a purely American thing and the rest of the world will happily have black people advertising those items. Sinterklaas is just an old fairy tale, get over it. Not everything is about you.
Using R12's logic, nobody should find this clip offensive:
[quote]"Black Peter" was a slave of Saint Nicholas.
It's said that he was a slave who was rescued by Nicholas from a slave market in Myra (Turkey) and freed. He stayed on since he had no known family.
There are many legends about Nicholas but they always point to him being a generous man. After he died and was buried with honors in Turkey, some drunken Italian sailors stole his remains and brought him to Italy.
The Italians built a huge cathedral to house his bones in Bari, Italy. The finest stonemasons in that era were in North Africa, so the Italians brought them over to work on this cathedral. They carved fancy designs into the stonework. To the Italians, they were just beautiful designs. They didn't realize they were looking at letters forming words. That's why, if you visit the cathedral of St. Nicholas at Bari, you'll see quotes from the Quran/Koran carved into the stone walls.
If blackface is a harmless Christmas tradition there... why is it in a spring issue?
The fact is, he was a slave. It's black face. Case closed.
"We're sorry, but the clip you have selected isn't available from your location"
Debatably offensive. Inarguably unsophisticated.
It isn't intrinsically racist. Where's the adverse trait? Was there this level of panty twisting outrage over the movie White Chicks? Not everything is racist or homophobic, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Grow up.
Are whites offended when celebs like Mary J. Blige and Beyonce wear blonde wigs/weave or bleach their hair blonde?
Vogue is a 1%lluminati rag that revels in torturing young women and melanated people specifically. Luckily, Conde Nast has lost its grip on the stylish young and is seeing its power dissipate, thanks to seismic changes in world culture and a new awareness of our anachronistic media overlords. We are observing the death throes of the Vogue empire as the ghoulish martinets on their editorial teams rifle through their sick bags o' tricks, unable to believe their actions are now being studied carefully. Or just barely glanced at. Or ignored. Or never seen at all, rejected by the young and the wise.
[quote]Was there this level of panty twisting outrage over the movie White Chicks?
The panties around here are always twisted in one direction and it's always according to the PC loon manual.
[quote]A lot of people don't know the Dutch are also the progenitors of the infamous Boers of South Africa
Everyone knows this.