This story may have passed some of you by, even though it has received some substantial coverage within the media but as always let me give you the lowdown just in case you missed it. 

A celebrity hairdresser by the name of James Brown (no relation to the Godfather of Soul), called stage school founder Ben Douglas a "n*gger" and his female companion a "n*gger's bitch" before proclaiming that 'a lot of my cousins have been with blacks' at the recently concluded Bafta awards ceremony.

Wait a minute before you get yourself in a frenzy and get all self righteous, as we all have called people names that we should not have either due to anger or as in this case alcohol. Let me touch on the alcohol issue here very quickly. In response to his outburst James Brown said that alcohol was to blame. I am not a drinker and never have been but one of the things that I have seen from people that drink alcohol is that it normally gives people the courage to say what they really think. I will leave you to interpret what I feel what this means.

Anyway back to my issue at hand which are two things in particular. Boots the chemist carry a wide array of his products in their stores and Boots being an upstanding public focused company is considering terminating his contract with them – well done boots for even thinking about doing it even though we know you won't do anything, but the sad thing is that they stated as of yet the company had not received any customer complaints. I know I sound like an old record that is scratched and keeps repeating itself (sorry for the younger generation, this is the equivalent to your MP3 player or Ipod continuously repeating the same words in a song over and over again), but this is an indication that it is acceptable to call us "n*gger" as we never complain about things.

The second issue and for me this is the crux of the matter, the Evening Standard reported that a source close to the hairdresser said "he has apologised and that should be the end of the matter". Come on, are you saying that I can go on the streets of London and proclaim that the Jews deserved what they got during the Holocaust and so long as I apologise afterwards all is forgiven, get real I will never get a knighthood or get a job of any substance not just in the UK but in the world – ok slight exaggeration I would get a job in Nigeria. We all know what happened to John Galliano when he allegedly made comments about Jewish people, not only was he sacked from his own label but he is also facing trial in France for his comments which he made during a drunken state at a restaurant. In England because James Brown has apologised we are told that's that.

No one reading this should get upset about him calling someone a "n*gger" as it is our fault because when things like this happen we never complain.

Hold on, none of you should even think about saying "what about you, what do you do to change things"? I will spell it out for you as to what i do to push for change - I write about it and due to my rantings I put my future MBE, OBE or CBE at risk and I also get on the radio and talk about such issues and put my potential non executive directorships that I am vying for in my dreams with the top fashion houses and other blue chip companies in jeopardy, so Ii am paying the price for being upfront and centre about such issues.

Moving on from me unashamedly begging & seeking recognition from the British establishment I must say to make matters worse James Brown seriously I am finding it hard to call him James Brown but I go on, then dropped the " I have a black friend, so how can I be racist" in his case he states that his nephew is mixed race. Enough already, I am sick and tired of this quote to justify people making comments about black people and then saying they can't be racist cos they have black friends or relatives.

Due to the fact that we are in England and because black people never kick up a stink about such issues Mr James Brown will go on an make money and a number of my black sisters will buy his products and put more money in his pocket and it is he whom will have the last laugh and still call us "n*gger".

Football Scandal...

In an earlier blog I spoke about the English Football Association being sore losers as when they did not win the bid to host the World Cup they kicked up a right royal stink. Have they let it go – NO – they are still kicking up a stink and under parliamentary privilege they made allegations of bribery and corruption against a variety of FIFA members. So the British FA say they were asked for knighthoods and other incentives for people to vote for them and the British FA members being all upstanding and totally honest did not at the time set off the alarm bells and before the vote was casted state that they were asked for bribes but waited for a number of months and under the cowardly protection of parliamentary privilege to make such allegations.

This is the open letter that FIFA wishes they could write to the Football Association...

Dear Cry Baby FA Members

We know that it is very disappointing that you did not win the bid to host the 2018 World Cup in England (even though the rest of the world is celebrating that you only got 2 votes, yes we repeat only two and one of them was yours) and despite the fact that you brought out your three lions (Beckham, Cameron & Duke of Cambridge), which being honest means nothing to the rest of the world. We think it is at this time that we must remind you that you know longer have the British Empire and it is not by right that you must be awarded the World Cup.

Furthermore we are not sure whether the FA is stupid or what (hopefully there are some street boys in FIFA that speak like this) but when the BBC in its Panorama programme two days before the vote releases a TV programme alleging corruption in FIFA, that we would all vote for you then you are living in cloud cuckoo land.

You and the British press can continue with your campaign to have our great honourable leader Sepp Blatter and everyone else you don't like removed, tainted or slandered by unfounded allegations and as you can see you lost the vote by 175 to 17 when you tried to get the elections stopped – HA HA HA

So because you did not get your way you have now started an alleged vendetta against FIFA and all of those that voted against you. The days of Royal Britannia rules the waves are over and if you don't like being part of FIFA then go set up your own independent FIFA, you bunch of cry babies, who always think you are right – GET A LIFE!

I know some of you reading this may think that Mr Mahogany is anti British, far from it but I am against those that are arrogant, self righteous and think that when they do things they are right but if others do the same things and they are in disagreement then they are wrong. Sometimes some aspects of British society have a philosophy of do what I say but not what I do.

SIGNED ALL OF THE 419 MEMBERS OF FIFA (419 IS A SLANG TERM GIVEN TO PEOPLE THAT COMMITT FRAUD)

SORRY PEOPLE ITS JUST BEEN ONE OF THOSE IRRITATING NEWS DAYS!
Published in Blog
Friday, 27 May 2011 01:42

Is It Wrong to be Black & Dark Skin?

I came across this video and i thought that the topic was interesting especially as i thought that we had got pass this. I am wondering if this is an African American thing or it actually is a worldwide phenomenon.

Synopsis of this Documentary Trailer

This documentary is something that we all should watch... It really made me think and try to search inside of myself . I want to be different. I want to make a change even If that change has to happen IN ME FIRST. Even if you don't want to watch this video. Just think... think about how you could make a difference in our community and work as a unit. unite as one people..... IGNORING IT DOESN'T SOLVE IT...!

Film to Premier in October at the International Black Film Festival in Nashville...download of the whole video is not available yet.

The synopsis above was taken from the information on the video, I dont really get what they are trying to say but the trailer itself says a lot. 
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I have been told that it is wrong to laugh at the misfortune of others, but I am sorry I am laughing my head off at the fact that the so called darling of England Cheryl Cole was sacked from the American version of X Factor after only one week of pre filming, o my dear what a crying shame. I have no real idea why for whatever reason I can't stand her, it may be because she was once married to Ashley Cole a person that every Arsenal fan despises or is it because she is a over hyped young lady with very little talent or may be its just because I am jealous of her fame and wealth – well the latter one does not count because I am jealous and envious of EVERYONE that is rich and famous.

I should be feeling sorry for her, as in her to do list re her move to America she sacked her long time English manager and took on Will.I.Am as her new manager to help make her hot in the states, (he even through a welcome to America celebrity bash for her), she also took on celebrity trainer to the stars to help her get fit, was planning to buy a new house and bought all of the Digestive biscuits that she could find to buy in Tesco's.For those of you that don't know, she was fired due to her Geordie accent and the fact that the producers (including Simon Cowell) realised after two days of filing that no one would understand her and in addition she allegedly did not get along with Paula Abdul. For me it does not take Einstein to realise that no one in America would understand her as no one in England understands her either.

It Looks like the beautiful Nicole Scherzinger will be taking over from Ms Cole, not a bad promotion for Nicole as she goes from Co Host to Judge. A bit of extra gossip here, she was well upset that she could not sit next to Simon on the judging panel as that right belongs to Paula Abdul, so there would have been no extra camera attention on her likes she gets in the UK by continuously rubbing up with Simon in the hope that as the camera focuses on him she will get that extra attention she was desperate for.


Well Cheryl now that Danny has allegedly resigned or was sacked from the UK X Factor you can beg your mentor, your idol Simon Cowell to give you your job back in the UK. if he decides not to I for one wont be missing you. By the way Cheryl I have booked you a first class return ticket on Virgin Airways back to London for Saturday.

The Church is Getting it Wrong...

As part of my attempts to educate myself and to ensure that I am up to date on current affairs I was scouring through some international websites and came across an article that was talking about wealthy Nigerians that despite the global recession in the last year alone they had spent over $225 million dollars on purchasing private planes.

As I started reading the article I thought what is the big deal as wealthy people around the world regularly purchase private jets and if Nigeria has people that can afford to purchase planes than why not. I read on and became heavily dismayed at the fact that within this group of wealthy Nigerians a number of them were Nigerian clergymen and spiritual leaders that had purchased private jets.

Included within this alleged list were David Oyedepo believed to be Africa's wealthiest gospel preacher, acquired a Gulfstream V jet $30 million. He also owns a private collection of four aircraft. He is also reportedly creating a private hanger to accommodate all of his planes. Pastor Enoch Adeboye of The Redeemed Christian Church of God spent $30 million on a Gulfstream jet and Pastor Sam Adeyemi is also a jet owner.

My issue is this, these pastors were only able to purchase the jets due to their congregation giving gifts, donations and paying tithe, a number of these congregation members struggle each week to survive to pay their bills and to make ends meet and instead of these donations being used for Gods work their money is accumulated and spent on extravagancies such as private jets. I don't know about you but I think that this is disgraceful and a flagrant breech of what the Bible teaches and what the church should be doing with the money they receive. Nigeria is amongst one of the most religious country's within the world and bearing in mind that over 60% of Nigerians live below the poverty line for me it is a great shame that these preachers preach to their congregation that it is a command of God that they tithe and these people give up money that I am sure they don't really have, but do it because the man of God said they should and because they believe that they will get blessings from God in return.

The Bible says that there are many false prophets and as much as I might face ex communication (not sure if that is possible in a Pentecostal church), I am prepared to stand up and state that this is a disgraceful abuse of office and misuse of church funds as I can't see what urgent work that they do that they need to get to places urgently using a private jet or how they are celebrities that they are unable to travel first class on a commercial airline.

I am sure some of my avid readers will correct me and justify why this is a good use of church funds, sorry but no matter what you say I am not buying it. You read things like this and you still ask why less people are going to church and people are becoming disillusioned with the church. I say no more.

Do you know what $30m could do?

• Build Houses
• Feed sooooooooooo many people
• Build schools and bus books
• Pay school fees for possibly the whole of their congregation


Published in Blog
Thursday, 19 May 2011 23:46

Trend 2011

By Noon Ali

Hair Trends

The ponytail makes a comeback, from casual daytime to evening glamour!

Take a look at some celebrities rocking the hairstyle this spring! It's easy and quick and requires no technique at all! A simple tie back look can go a long way!

kim_kardasian_1beyoncejada-pinketcheryl_cole_1

Floppy hats

Although I would probably only ever wear one on holiday, FLOPPY HATS are all the rage right now! All the celebrities are wearing them from Kimmy K to Leona Lewis! If I remember correctly it was J.Lo who started off the trend in her "Jenny from the block days" *sigh* and it didn't really stick around for long, but this time I think it may be around for at least two seasons this year! Although it is a hippy boho look, it also has that classic feminine feeling to it. It's fantastic for when the suns out but it's also good for those "I'm running late but my hairs a hot mess" days
Below are a couple of the best ones I've found, take a look and leave a comment

american_apparel_39ASOS_20_1ASOS_25_1

River_Island_19.99_1New_Look_14.99_1River_Island_24.99_1

 The range of hats above are available from the following outlets, New Look £14.99, American Apparel £29, ASOS £20, ASOS £25, River Island £19.99, River Island £20, River Island £24.99



Published in Blog
Thursday, 19 May 2011 23:21

Whistles loves Cowshed

Today I'm introducing you to a new limited edition beauty product, the Whistling Cow. The range includes a freshening hand wash, moisturising hand cream, shower gel and body lotion. Cowshed is known for their, pure essential oils, plant based and naturally derived ingredients. So you can be sure that what you get is the real thing. Prices start from £14
whistles_group_shop
Clothing label, Whistles, have collaborated with cowshed for the first swimwear collection. The swimwear is chic, vintage cute and there are plenty of items to suits your needs from swimsuits to high waisted shorts and bikini tops. Prices start from £35

Christina Russillo, Managing Director of Cowshed says: 'When Whistles approached us regarding a collaboration we fell in love with their High Summer 'Love' print and couldn't resist combining it with our signature wild-crafted products to create Whistling Cow.

For more information or to purchase a product click on the links below

Visit larger boots stores
Whistles.co.uk
Cowshedonline.com
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Sitting in my office and the phone rings and it is the BBC asking if I can do a series of radio interviews to discuss, read on...


I know that people sometimes say that I love to deal with controversial issues, now regardless of whether you agree with this or not, I did not make up the story below.


It has been scientifically proven that BLACK WOMEN ARE LESS ATTRACTIVE THAN OTHER RACES.


A psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa (from the London School of Economics, LSE) wrote a blog which was featured on the US based Psychology Today website on May 16. YOU CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE BY CLICKING ON THIS LINK


This is not the first time that this professor has come up with such controversial views as previously he claimed that sub Saharan Africans have poor health simply because they have low IQ’s and not because they are poverty stricken (please before you start attacking me, I did not say this, a professor that has nothing to do with his life, said it).


Now his scientific evidence was deduced by doing a survey of men and women across the races who were asked to rate each other’s attractiveness. Black women scored the least, even though they marked themselves highly. Now if this a scientific research then I can do one and ask anyone I am going out with if they think I am the most handsome man in the world while holding a pair of Jimmy Chow shoes in my hand, saying its there’s if they say yes. In most cases if you ask a Chinese man who he thinks are the most beautiful women in the world, the likelihood is that he would say that Chinese women are and the same for a Swedish man whom  would say Swedish women are the most beautiful. Even though I don't have a PhD, even I can figure out that his scientific research is flawed. PS I want to go to the university he went too to apply for a PhD as it seems they were just giving them out without having to do any work.

Now not everyone at the LSE is dumb or possibly bought their PhD, as Professor Paul Gilroy, a sociology lecturer at the LSE and author of seminal text There Ain’t No Black in the Union Jack, said: ” Among the criticisms was his motivation for the research, the lack of scientific grounding and a lack of context. He did not explore the idea that women were measured against the dominant European ideals of beauty”.


I thought sometimes that I rocked the boat a little but Kanazawa’s slogan on his website says ‘prepare to be offended’. If you are a professor why did you have to seek cheap fame.


Ladies (white & black) read this. He says:

After musing it had nothing to do with black women’s ‘lower IQs’, or because they were ‘much heavier on average’ than women of other races, he added: ‘The only thing I can think of that might potentially explain the lower average level of physical attractiveness among black women is testosterone. ‘Africans on average have higher levels of testosterone than other races… Women with higher levels of testosterone have more masculine features and are therefore less physically attractive.’

Let me brake the above down for you as to what he is trying to say in plain people language – according to professor Kanazawa the reason why black women are considered ugly is because you have to much testosterone so we black men have been deceived for so long, when we thought we were chatting up a black woman we were in fact chatting up a woman going on a man and those of you that have big butts, big thighs and big arms have higher levels of testosterone – so you are not even woman going on man you are a man. Sorry I forgot to also say that he is saying you are all fat (‘much heavier on average’ than women of other races). The only I am not sure of is he using ‘African’ for just African women or all black women?


Unfortunately FF will not allow me to swear and put cuss words in my blog, but my expletives have been long and extremely colourful. This is such a crock of S*~t that I have ever read. As for me I am very partial to black women and if it means they have too much testosterone and that is why they have big butts and big thighs etc (which I must quickly add not all black women have big butts and big thighs), can someone send me the testosterone gene so that I can pump some more black women with it so that they would look even finer than they already do.


I will leave you with this (and this is nothing against my white sisters),


  • why do white women spend hours in the sun or use fake sun tan to get brown or darker, like black women 
  • why do white women use Botox to get rid of their wrinkles, cos from what I remember black don't crack
  • why do white women inject their lips and their buttocks with I have no idea what, to make them bigger

All of the above are what the worlds least attractive women have naturally – I say no more.

It is also very sad that over 15,000 people on Facebook "like" the article. 

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Sunday, 08 May 2011 10:59

Top Model of Colour is Racist?

Let me get straight to the point here, is the Top Model of Colour competition a racist, outdated competition that is no longer needed as all models of colour now operate on an equal footing with Caucasian models?


I ask this question as I recently received the email below and it alleges to be from an African American, The Email; Written by Camille Schmidt


Ok, My personal Twitter to you, as an African American Woman, I'd like to know who why do you label your Moel Show, '' Top Model of Color?'' 

White Models Painted Black

I mean who the f(*^(^^$ would say that or label a show that in 2011. The first Top Model of Color was Beverly Johnson (USA), back in the late ''60's early 70's and 40 years later these woman of Color in Britain & Holland are still letting you single them out? So by saying ''Top Model of Color'', you are basically separating the women of color from the European women. You are in effect saying that the women of color have to have their own show, they can't participate in ours, etc. Either you are too dumb to understand the reality of what your show is doing by labeling women of color as different, or just plainly prejudice!


Sadly, you have bamboozled Blacks in Europe who will let you label them, separate them; in this fashion! Wake up it's 2011. I wonder what Tyra would say???


Or please pray tell, is this a network designed to introduce more Women of Color into the modeling world? Please help me understand, because in 2011, any women of color has a shot at a regular modeling career, the same as a White woman.


Another side to the story
- I received an email from the London College of Fashion and it read as follows, the key bit is highlighted in bold below, The Email; Written by London College of Fashion

"Over the past few years we have been trying to diversify the look we have on the catwalk – our creative director has been instrumental in creating a show which demonstrates the breadth of talent that exists at LCF but also the extraordinary diversity within our student body which reflects fashion in its truest and most international state. LCF has worked hard to provoke debate around body image, age, beauty and ethnicity – and we want this to be reflected in our shows.  Although there is plenty of evidence that the fashion world is changing we don’t think it is fast enough – and given that our students are the future of the industry we feel that it’s our role to be the ones to push boundaries.


But we feel that diversity especially amongst the models which are put forward for our shows by modelling agencies are not representative – hence the reason we’re looking to the public."

I have my views on both sides of the two emails but as always I look to you to educate me.

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 03 May 2011 04:06

Royal Wedding Versus An African Wedding

The Royal Wedding recently took place and a friend of mine that had nothing to do with his life sent me over a BBM and it did a comparison between a British Royal Wedding and a African Royal Wedding. 

Due to the fact that some of it is in pigeon English I have had to do a translation for our non African compatriots.

African Version


See people wey get money to do wedding, yet dress simple, the bride's gown is simple and is not exposing any cleavage. The priest preached a meaningful message within 20mins, he no use handkerchief/towel, he no drink water/juice, he no need  scream and do show-offz.


He wrote his sermon on a piece of paper not ipad/lapy. He no need  to hail iya Charlie or do any form of patronising. No Aso ebi wey cost well, No thanksgiving, offering etc.


No babes with fake eyelashes, holding blackberry and pinging @ reception.

Chei, 9ja ‎​hail una.


See Queen of England convoy. Just one car and one SUV. If na Naija u go  see cars with siren and Anti riot squad, Anti bomb squad, Bakassi boys, OPC, Boko Haram, Kalakato, NSCDC, FRSC, SSS, Army, NN, NAF, EFCC, Militants and all 4 d convoy....na wa Naija!


Translated English Version with a Mr Mahogany Twist

When rich people do a wedding and despite the fact that they have lots of money they do not over dress and dress simply in coat and tail and elegant dresses with hats, they don't go to a wedding exposing all of their cleavage.

When the priest gets up on the pulpit to preach at the wedding, it is a meaningful message that lasts for 20 minutes not 2 hours, the priest wrote it on a small piece of paper and was not using an Ipad or laptop. Whilst preaching he did not need to sing the praises of her majesty, he was not pouring sweat when he preached, he did not need to drink water or juice, he did not need to scream and shout and roll on the ground to get his message across. There was no thanks giving offering that asked for you to donate every penny you had, plus your car and you

r house.


At the wedding there were no women wearing fake eyelashes and whilst the ceremony was going on they were not using their Blackberry’s and pinging during the church service. As you know if this had been a black wedding the BBM’s would have been going off nonstop, with updates, pictures, Facebook status and twitter update by the second, with running commentary of whom was with whom and whom should not have been with whom and how some women forgot to cream their feet and you could see the white crustiness of their feet.


Finally when the various members of the royal family were on their way to the church they arrived with only one range rover following behind, but if it had been a black wedding behind the royal car there would have been cars with sirens blaring, anti riot police, bomb squad, CIA, FBI, Mossad, MI5, MI6, the Army, the Marines, Special Forces, helicopters and unmanned drones.


Black people just need to make sure that when they get married EVERYONE knows about it.


HEY PEOPLE THIS WAS JUST A BIT OF FUN!

Published in Blog
Monday, 02 May 2011 09:13

Canadian Fashion

LG Fashion Week is the biggest fashion event in Canada and takes place twice a year – in March and October. Last month's event in Toronto attracted some of the most talented Canadian designers and top models.

Izma
Izma Fall/Winer 2011; Photo by Eva Fydrych

Fashion duo Izzy Camilleri and Adrian Mainella presented their ultra-glam '70s inspired collection on the opening night of LG Fashion Week in Toronto.

Decadent with a disco flair, sexy and fun, the designs showed on the runway were very feminine and full of interesting details like crystal trims and leather accents. Think: Old Holywood and Studio 54 feel, and fashion icons like Bianca Jagger or Jerry Hall. Elegant mixture of luxurious textures: fur with silk and velvet with a touch of glimmer. Rich colour palette. Looks like '70s Glamour continues to be the look-of the-moment.

For more information about the designers, visit their official website: http://www.izma.ca

Izma_1
Izma Fall/Winter 2011; Photo by Elle Canada

Joe Fresh - the most accessible clothing line in Canada - showed a bright, simple collection on the second day of the show. Stylish and versatile looks influenced by the seventies, lots of miniskirts and bold colours. The collection will be available in stores across Canada in September.

Joe_Fresh
Joe Fresh Fall/Winter 2011; Photo by Elle Canada

Shan - stylish and luxurious designs; classic black & white colours, pink and blue floral patterns; interesting accessories - strappy wedges, round hats and statement handbags.

Shan
Shan Fall/Winter 2011; Photo by Filler Magazine

LOVAS was founded in 2008 by Wesley Badanjak - a talented designer with a distinctive style and interesting vision. Inspiration for his designs comes mainly from music, history and his Croatian heritage. This year collection entitled "Sisters" was inspired by his mom and aunt, their experiences of immigrating to Canada and adopting to a new culture. Elegant, classic pieces; modern silhouettes with detailed finishing; excellent tailoring and use of good quality fabrics. The modern look created by Badanjak is sophisticated and fashion forward, yet wearable and unpretentious.

LOVAS designs are available in Toronto at Apoline (2892 Bloor St W), Eleven Boutique (116 Cumberland St) and Puh Nash (2420A Bloor St W).

LOVAS
LOVAS Fall/Winter 2011; Photo by Stan Behal/QMI Agency

LOVAS_2
Wesley Badanjak (LOVAS) Fall/Winter 2011; Photo by Stan Behal/QMI Agency

Floral patterns, geometric shapes and vibrant graphics - simple and very feminine - were the highlights of the Comrags Fall/Winter 2011 collection shown on Wednesday. Judy Cornish and Joyce Gunhouse (the design duo behind the Comrags label) presented classic, timeless silhouettes and clean, elegant lines; stylish, but modest at the same time. Main colours included mustard, olive, turquoise and black. All the designs from the latest collection called "Wrest" were simple and wearable, not tied to any particular era or season, and not overdoing the major trends.

For more information about the designers and to see their previous collections, please visit the official website: http://www.comrags.com

"Wrest refers to the process of extracting information which is part of the back and forth process that goes on between us as we create our designs." - J. Gunhouse

Comrags
Comrags Fall/Winter 2011; Photo by Bernard Weil/Toronto Star

Rudsak, Canada's leading fashion brand, showed its "city-chic biker look"collection on Thursday. Edgy, motorcycle-inspired designs. Main colours: black, camel and white. Leather jackets and coats with stunning fur collars were paired with fashionable footwear and stylish handbags. More info: http://www.rudsak.com

Rudsak
Rudsak Fall/Winter 2011; Photo by George Pimentel

Designer Evik Asatoorian (Rudsak) – backstage; Photo by George Pimentel

Rudsak_2
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Tuesday, 26 April 2011 11:57

Black Girls Do Not Sell...

I was recently interviewed by Sophia Baker for an article she was writing and below is the final article, it is long but I think it is a great read and raises some interesting points, it would be interesting to know whether you agree with the views below or not - feel free to leave your comments.

WRITTEN BY SOPHIA BAKER

In this feature we will be addressing the lack of black model in high end fashion magazines and why that is so. When I first began my research into the black models in the UK and the US, I knew I would come across some unpleasant truths but I did not expect to feel totally deflated by when I concluded my research.

Firstly let us look back to a time when black women were dominant in the media. In Paris 1921, Miss Josephine Baker a performer, with an audience of the rich and white set the standard for others to follow and opened the door for other black women. Of course she encountered opposition and prejudice but generally she was adored, praised, envied and lusted after by both men and women. Paris was more open to different races it would seem and there were black models gracing the runways in the 1940s and 1950s. But although all appeared well, Josephine and other young black women were still subjected to racism and seen as freaks or savages. Similar to what Sarah Baartman experienced when she was brought over from her native South Africa in 1810 and paraded as a freak in a circus because of her big bottom. You might ask well how does that relate to black women today, why is it relevant? Well it helps for us to understand what the audience viewed black women as. Why were they subjected to abuse while their white counterparts were not?

It goes back to what beauty meant at the time. Beauty was something that could was understandable, something conventional and unlikely to offend. A black woman could be considered completely beautiful, have flawless skin, great bone structure but if her skin was too dark, well that was unacceptable and incomprehensible for blacks and whites. Afua Adom features editor of Pride magazine and a freelance fashion stylist says, 'I know loads of black models who have experienced racism in the industry. Apparently mainstream won't be able to relate to a black model'. Who on earth could change the perceptions of the white gaze in the 1950s? Maybe Helen William's, the model who had the aquiline nose, big oval eyes, perfect lips – not too big. The girl who was offensively described as a white girl dipped in chocolate (by other black women). Although extremely offensive, that did not stop William's from breaking through to 'white' magazines. There was a place for dark skinned woman after all and Helen opened the door.


Black women were breaking all kinds of barriers down. In the 1960s, British icon Donyale Luna became the first black model to feature on the cover of UK Vogue in 1966. Beverly Johnson became the first black model to feature on the cover of US Vogue in 1974. Tyra Bank's was on the cover of the best selling Sports illustrated in 1997. There were many firsts before and after these models and to date the Black Issue of Italian Vogue is still their highest seller. 'It was intended to be the worse selling issue but my campaign on Facebook helped it to sell out twice! I had a point to make', explains Sola director of Mahogany International Models.

French designers such as Givenchy, Christian Lacrois and Yves Saint Laurent preferred to use black models at one time but when Spaniard Paco Rabanne used Jamaican model Kelly Williams in one of his shows, there was outrage and controversy. The reaction from the audience was shock and disgust claiming that fashion was for whites not blacks. Hiro, a fashion photographer who worked for Harpers Bazaar at the time, was given an assignment in Kenya and requested a black model. It seemed logical that a black model would suit the surroundings more than a white model. His request was refused and so he turned down that job. Nick Knight is another fashion photographer, known for using unconventional models. In his video 'untitled' he expressed, 'I am virtually never allowed to photograph black models and usually no excuse is given'. Vivienne Westwood and Naomi Campbell have also expressed their views on the lack of black models represented in the industry. It would seem that this is not a new subject and yet there is nothing happening about it.

What is the real issue with using black models? Who are these high end magazines marketing to? The answer is the white and the wealthy. Sola says 'It is purely about money and opportunistic. When Italian Vogue made their black issue, it was around the time of Obama being elected as President and tied in nicely with current affairs. It was never about promoting black models'. This brings us back to the issue of black models don't sell. At least not to the intended market; how could a white woman relate to a black woman's shape, hair, and the way the clothes appear on them? So is it only about commerce or does race play a bigger role? In, 1976 when Iman appeared wearing clothes made by prominent designers such as YSL, Issey Miyake, Versace and many others, she appealed to the masses and was very successful for 14 years. But according to editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine from 1965-1997 Helen Gurley Brown, black would offend readers. It seemed like there was one rule for runways and another for magazine covers and editorials. Magazines typically stayed within a standard, and didn't stray too far from it. The publications did not want to alienate its audience. When Harpers Bazaar used Elizabeth Princess of Toro on their cover in 1969, they put a white model alongside her just in case they stood to alienate any of their regular readers. This ultimately diluted the presence of Elizabeth on the cover. There seemed to be a kind of Fascism when it comes to the industry. One has to be of the Aryan race, all blonde with blue eyes to exist. Fashion is all about the unobtainable, they don't want everyone to be able to get the nicer things in life. It is all about commerce and has never been about representing the colours of the world. So why not just accept that? I can't...
The world is so behind. Everyone seems to believe that we have more moved forward in terms of acceptance but in reality, it feels like the button is firmly pressed on pause. Sometimes it plays in slow motion and we get a breakthrough. After all, we have models such as Naomi and Alex Wek who have sustained a long career in this harsh business. Then we have the hopefuls, Jourdan Dun, Ajuma Nasenyana, Chanel Iman, Ajak Deng and Rose Cordero. All of which are stunning us and taking our breath away with their beauty. They reflect a wide range of black women and so therefore do not alienate black woman who do not fit the white girl dipped in chocolate mould. But we need more and soon. Of course there is racism in this business. And maybe there always will be in countries that are predominately white. Although we have had high profile figures in the industry who have spoken about it, no one is speaking now. The media has pacified the black public by making them believe that is has changed. They gave us the Black Issue of Italian Vogue (published only in Italian) in 2008. That was nearly three years ago. Hopefully with the exposure of these new black models they will be used more consistently and it is not just a replay of the 60s.

I think it is important that black models are seen as beautiful models and not beautiful 'black' models. Just why can't the model be beautiful and that is it? As demonstrated on the Channel Four series 'The Model Agency', new face Leomie Anderson was told she was 'one of the top breakthrough black models'. In which she replied 'aww that's nice' and appeared grateful for the title. I could almost hear her thinking why she could not just be breakthrough? Why black?
Fashion photographer Oliviero Toscani, had the right idea for his United Colours of Benetton campaigns. He used all kinds of people. He used people from the streets to reflect everyday life and what Benetton represented, their motto being 'All the colours of the world'. One day I hope to see all these colours because they are beautiful being black is not a trend, we are here to stay!

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