Naomi Campbell, the hardest working black woman in the fashion industry, is currently starring in an 'untitled' short film about fashion and racism by photographer Nick Knight. Knight's first political fashion film tackled the issues of feminism and body size. In the film Knight explores why racism persists in the fashion industry that historically has thrived on innovation and inclusion.
You can watch the film here.
There really isn't much to it. It lasts a little over two minutes. In it, Ms. Campbell wears two dresses (one black, one white get it?) by Rodarte and shoes by Christian Louboutin. She stands in front of a solid background holding two semi-automatic weapons pointed at the camera. The camera shifts from focusing on her to showing text written by Knight on his experiences.
Text explains that although Knight has worked for a variety of clients in the industry, he is rarely allowed to photograph black models. The reasons for this are rarely given but he says he has been told that black models are "not right for the brand" or "aspirational" enough for some markets. He goes on to say that he feels guilty for accepting this racism and further allowing it to be normalized in the industry. He goes on to say that "by denying people the right to be seen as beautiful, you cause deep cultural resentment," and that "profit can not be a justification for bigotry and racism."
Naomi starts firing the guns. Her expression vacillating between dourness and joy. At one point she's seen sitting on a tank, straddling the long black tank gun. Then the film ends.
Do I get the imagery? Not really. I don't get why she has to be holding a machine gun. Hasn't that been done before? Is Wright trying to frighten viewers but outfitting the often temperamental model with a weapon able to cause more damage than a cell phone? Whatever the meaning behind it, I was encouraged a bit to see someone in the industry acknowledge their own part in perpetuating this problem.
I'd like to hear what you think of it.
Source:NYMag, Showstudio, Ferry Coal