So What’s Wrong With A White Model Portraying An “African Queen” If We Darken Her Skin?

Oh yeah, I believe she is an African Queen.

Oh yeah, I believe she is an African Queen.

You really wish you could be a fly on the wall to hear how decisions like this one get made:

Numéro Magazine has found itself in the middle of a racially-charged firestorm after using a highly bronzed white model in one of its fashion editorials entitled “African Queen.”

In the spread, Ondria Hardin, a 16-year-old, blond-haired, blue-eyed model is seen with darkened skin, striking a pose for the glossy.

What the ____?

A photo spread called “African Queen” and they thought it a good idea to use a white model and darken her skin with makeup? It is so incredulous to think about, I don’t even know what to say. Maybe all the models of African descent, or actual dark skinned models were not available that day.

I know. That doesn’t make sense. Just trying to wrap my brain around this decision.

You can read the full story here and read their explanation and defense.

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7 thoughts on “So What’s Wrong With A White Model Portraying An “African Queen” If We Darken Her Skin?

  1. ericjbaker says:

    Perhaps they believe in the Abercrombie and Fitch philosophy that there is no such thing as bad publicity? Hopefully, it was a comically misguided attempt to appear “post-racial,” but… um, do I really need to list all the buts?

    Maybe they were hoping for this reaction:

    Like, I bet that blonde model, like, totally understands the black experience now. Like, fer sher. **blows Bubble Yum bubble**

    • Earnest Harris says:

      LOL. Indeed. Just once they should reverse this type of thing and put a black model as the face of Europe. And put powder on get face. Then the craziness of the decision would be obvious.

  2. I really don’t have a problem with a White woman portraying an African Queen any more than I have with a Black woman dressing up as Captain America or a Black girl playing Annie. I DO have a problem with the darkening of the skin as if skin color is all there is to an entire race.

    • Earnest Harris says:

      Yeah I think the kicker was the darkening of the skin since there are so many darker skinned models available if that is the look they wanted. Africa is a huge continent and does have people of all skin colors. Just can’t get why they couldn’t find someone that actually had the skin tone they so desired for the shoot. Or, as you say, don’t focus on the skin tone at all. That is the difference with a Black woman dressing up as Captain America or a Black girl playing Annie. They don’t put powder or put something on their skin to portray them as White or other than Black. I have never seen that happen. Good to hear from you.

  3. Maybe they wanted to pay a white person to keep the money and job out of the hands of a black person.

    • Earnest Harris says:

      Who knows but it sure was a bad decision. Wish I could have heard the bright idea when someone proposed it.

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