Thursday, 25 August 2011 04:00

How Can Italian Vogue get it so Wrong...

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I am a bit lost as to what to say or how to even start talking about the latest uproar that Italian Vogue has created. A few years back I was instrumental in making the Italian Vogue all black issue the biggest selling vogue ever. At the time I felt it was the right thing to do as they were promoting Black Models in a very positive light.

On the 5th August Italian Vogue published an online trend forecast suggesting that hoop earrings were coming back, calling their post "Slave Earrings" the earrings they were referring to are the trendy big hoop earrings which are commonly worn by black women.

The article stated ''Jewellery has always flirted with circular shapes, especially for use in making earrings," and "the most classic models are the slave and creole styles in gold hoops." "If the name brings to the mind the decorative traditions of the women of colour who were brought to the southern United States during the slave trade, the latest interpretation is pure freedom. Coloured stones, symbolic pendants and multiple spheres."

Lets break this down – Vogue were in their right to talk about upcoming trends but to call them slave earrings especially when it is well known that over recent years they have been commonly worn by black women is – putting it in nice simple English, not very nice. I am doing well nowadays as I have been able to keep my language extremely polite because if it was the old days I would have used far more choice words to say how I feel about their description of earrigs worn predominantly by black women – slave earrings.

The good bit is as soon as the uproar started over the article Italian Vogue tried to talk their way out of it, Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia, described the article as a "really bad translation". "The Italian word, which defines those kinds of earrings, should instead be translated into ethnic-style earrings," Sozzani said. Slave or ethnic to me they are just as bad, why are they not just described as earrings.

After doing some research, Schiavo, the word used in the initial story translates directly to "slave", while the Italian word for ''ethnic" is etnico. So once again not only do they feel it is ok to use derogatory terms about us but it is also ok to try and insult us by saying that when it was translated it was translated wrong – yeah right this is a load of crap and bulls*#t, sorry I have slipped back into bad language again. This is what such lame arse excuses do to me.
Please don't insult our intelligence just be upfront and say you messed up, you referred to what our women wear as slave earrings and you are sorry and you have removed the article and we are suppose to be ecstatic that after insulting us you have removed the article so we should just shut up.

The sad thing is that they would never ever write such articles that refer to the Holocaust in such ways but when it comes to people of colour it is always open season – I guess it is because generally we don't complain and we continue to buy such magazines even after they tell about ourselves.

A number of the comments floating around state that it is a racist article, I have kind of given up on racism as being an issue, because as stated above people of the world are allowed to say anything they like about black people and later apologise and everything is ok and in the process they get a lot of interest in their publication due to the controversy and then just say sorry afterwards and it quietly fades away. I say this because these sort of things are happening regularly and with no punishment to those that do it.

Congratulations to Charles Thompson on his MBE...

I must be living in cloud cuckoo land as I only just found out that my good friend Charles Thompson the founder of Screen Nation recently received an MBE for his Services to the Black Film Industry in the Queen's Birthday Honours List last month.

It is such an honour when people you know are recognised and rewarded for many years of hard work, hopefully one day I will get a MBE, yeah right, not likely. If I ever got one it is more likely to stand for Must Break Even.

Well done Charles and we wish you the best of luck at the star studded 7th Annual Screen Nation Film & Television Awards 2011 taking place on the 17th October at the indigO2, London 

The 7th Annual Screen Nation Awards is the UK's only international Film & Television event celebrating the achievements of black talent and is broadcast on OH TV.

1 comment

  • Comment Link Fola Saturday, 01 October 2011 19:11 posted by Fola

    Hi, I realise this is quite late, but I would be interested to know your thoughts on vogue Italia's 'vogue black' section.


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