Thursday, March 13, 2008

King James Covers Vogue's "Sh-ape" Issue

You know what? I don't even know if I have the energy to go there with this jacked up cover so I'm only going to make two points.

First, why does Anna Wintour have such a hard nipples for black folks with their mouths hanging wide open on her magazine? Specifically, I'm thinking about Jennifer Hudson's horribly unflattering cover last year.

Second, the first image that came into my mind when I saw Lebron's contorted expression and Gisele (in Calvin Klein) looking like a windswept maiden was this one:

That is all. I'm think I'm going to have to lay down now.


Camille Acey said...

I just want to send the people at Vogue outside to get a hickory switch from the nearest tree. I'ma haveta hurt somebody.

*rolls eyes*

Anonymous said...

That cover is awful. It looks like an outtake that would've normally been deleted or pitched in the trash.

Anonymous said...

the very first thing I thought of was King Kong or at least some type of monster...Gisele looks like she is being carried by this huge "beast". She's just hanging there. The next thing i thought was damn...i shouldnt be saying things like that and the third thing i thought...why the f**k are black people always potrayed so stereotypically, am i being too sensitive?

Shareta said...

mm hm, that is an unfortunate resemblance. why is she jump running away? it's not even good.

Ondo Lady said...

There has been quite a lot of hoohah about this advert. To be honest when I first saw it I did not look twice and it was not until you pointed out Lebron’s depiction of King Kong that made me look at it again. First of all Gisele is not a tiny figure, she must be at least 5ft 11ins unlike the damsel in the King Kong movies. Gisele and Lebron actually look like they are doing a merry dance together and Gisele looks like she is having a good old time. The only one who looks uncomfortable is Lebron; maybe holding Gisele and bouncing a basketball required a lot of concentration. I don’t find this image derogatory, I think it is just US Vogue trying very hard to be cutting edge. Maybe Wintour is tired of the glam but samey samey cover shoots of American Vogue and is looking across the pond at Carine Roitfeld’s French Vogue which has a much cooler image. The bottom line is that Lebron Jones is a zillionaire basketball player who had a choice, if he thought that image of him was insulting then he would have done something about it. Lets not just put all the blame at Ms Wintour's door.

B said...

I wonder if Lebron even saw the cover image before it was published.

But then, loads of entertainers and models allow themselves to be stereotyped or exploited for personal gain. It doesn't make it okay in my view.

Anonymous said...

It's the same ole stereotype. I'm VERY disappointed in Vogue for promoting these same ole stereotypes. The first thing I noticed was the stereotype and it was the first thing every woman of color I've spoken to had noticed. It's like it's a sin to pair Black men and women together in anything in America. They could have put Jourdan or Chanel or even Naomi here with Lebron.

Why couldn't Vogue put Lebron in a suit? It's Vogue! Okay, it's a "spring issue" and they're promoting the outdoors/basketball season, okay why not Gisele in a Juicy Couture suit instead? We know what Black basketball players look like in their uniforms. Not a drop of originality in these fash mags coming out of America nowadays. America has this fascination with the Big Black Male Athlete and The White Woman. And it also shows that a lot of (already wealthy and famous) Black men will do anything for money or that maybe playing to the mandingo stereotypes/fears of racist America, they can make MORE money.

This is part of the reason why Black women are universally ignored in most circles of American life. It is part of the reason why our beauty is so undervalued b/c it seems that our men (and men of other races) want to be hugged up under white/Euro-looking women. I have a freaking headache thinking about that childish, freakish, mandigoish cover.


Camille Acey said...

loads of entertainers and models allow themselves to be stereotyped or exploited for personal gain. It doesn't make it okay in my view.

here here.

"he's having a good time" doesn't cut it for me.

Ondo Lady said...

I am sure Lebron has seen the cover by now, lets wait and see if he releases a statement of outrage. No it is not ok for Black entertainers to allow themselves to be portrayed in a stereotypical way but the finger should be pointed at them not the editors of the publications. We need to take control of our own image instead of reacting when media players publish something about us that we don't like. Why give them that power?

Camille: I said Gisele looks like she is having a good old time not Lebron.

Anonymous said...

ha... the first thing i thought when i saw this image was beauty and the beast. she was supposed to be some damsel in distress and lebron some monster. Im not all together sure if it is just race or if it is that in combination with him being an athlete that made the magazine go in this direction but there is def a differeny tone between this cover and the one with giselle and clooney on the cover (which i think is the only other time a male has been on the cover of womens vogue) and before anyone thinks isnt that the objective? aiming for something different? The one thing that has stayed the same with vogues cover is putting individuals in beautiful poses. The only two unflattering covers i have seen in a while where the person was not glamored up was this and jennifer hudson

Camille Acey said...

@Ondo Lady- No it is not ok for Black entertainers to allow themselves to be portrayed in a stereotypical way but the finger should be pointed at them not the editors of the publications.

Uh, that is not how the magazine business works. They snap your picture, give you your money, and you go away and they make their own decision as to what goes. Someone LeBron could possibly request some sort of final say, but I doubt he would also. If he did get final say and STILL approve this then i am looking at him out of the corner of my eye even more.

Also as Brigitte has mentioned time and time again on this blog, these magazine editors (and model bookers and designers and fashion designers) DO need to be taken to task for racism. Haven't you been listening?

B said...

Ondo Lady -

While I certainly agree with you that entertainers, models or actors who allow themselves to be presented in an unsavory way are partially to blame for rampant stereotyping I don't agree that ALL of the blame should lay at their feet.

At some point editors need to be held responsible for their own race biases as well and at the very least called on it when covers like this one are published.

If no one made a stink, how else could we expect their level of awareness to be raised? Or a dialog to commence?

I think it is somewhat similar to the way women, especially women of color, are degraded in some music videos.

The way I'm interpreting your response would mean that in this case, the music artist should never be questioned about the images he (or his record label) approve because there were plenty of women on hand waiting to oil up and put on a g-string.

My point is that I don't think fashion editors get off scot-free here. Many of them have shown that they have an extremely narrow view of how Black people should be presented.

Ondo Lady said...

I am sorry I disagree, the finger should be pointed at Black people who allow themselves to be portrayed in a negative way. So magazine editors and publishers hold stereoptypical views on Black people!! Really? What an amazing observation. Maybe someone should have a word with Lebron about that so the next time he gets suckered into doing 'provoking' poses for a magazine he thinks about the impact it will have. I doubt if anyone will fall off their chair with shock about mag editors being racially biased. We know this as does Lebron yet he did the pose anyway. Of course the Editor chose the pictures but Lebron did the pose. Did he not think then about how it would look? Even now that the mag has been printed, is he bothered about the way he looks? Erm no, I doubt it, probably more chuffed that he has made the cover of Vogue. Last I heard he was having dinner with Ms Wintour. We can make as much as a stink as we like but while celebs like Lebron are happy to go along posing for shots like this then nothing will change.

B said...

Fair enough. We'll just have to disagree about this one but I do appreciate your comments :)

Camille Acey said...

@Ondo Lady - what about all the absences? all the black models who don't make it onto the catwalk? possibly a picture of lebron in a suit with his mouth curled into a smile that they didn't use? the role or magazine cover that the black actress DIDN'T get? Are we to blame for that also? I'm not saying every black person is blameless, but I just don't know where the buck stops with blaming black folks for negative depictions.

Lebron took probably a couple roles of film in this photo shoot. There are all kinds of jokey things that people do in photo shoots. There are all sorts of angles that they take. This shot might even have been Lebron's favorite. My issues isn't specifically about Lebron and this cover, it is a question as to why are there SO MANY published images like this? Why, when the (mostly white) magazine editors have to pick an image of us is it all too often mouth agape and eyes wide? We bring SO MANY looks to the table. I am not so much arguing for a "dignified suited and booted" image every time, but for a DIVERSITY of reflections of black beauty. And that is mostly a supply line problem, a problem of WHO decides what gets put out and what doesn't. Jennifer, Lebron, gosh even Naomi and Tyra, none of them are really in a position to decide, so collectively we must try to push the issue.

This is the way that things will change.

Alex de Campi said...

Aside from the deeply unsophisticated portrayal of a man who off the court seems very sophisticated and stylish indeed, what gets me is the horrifically bad airbrushing. I question even whether Gisele was wearing a green strapless dress, and this hasn't been converted from the white dress she wears inside when Wintour decided it needed more (ahem) colour. The airbrushing is so heavy handed it's painful to see.

Oh well. It's still not as bad as Damp Oily Drew wearing a giant red scrunchie on March's cover.

Anonymous said...

i don't think it's anna wintour as much as annie leibowitz who loves that crazed savage look. Although Anna chooses the final cover, Annie helps by supplying the goods.

And sadly, Lebron doesn't care. He is green you know?

Let's hope and pray he never gets his OJ type wake up call.