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27-02-2013
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Sebastian Kim responds to racist Numéro editorial "African Queen"
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Photographer Sebastian Kim responds to the controversy surrounding his recent story for Numero France #141

I would like to apologize for any misunderstanding around my recent photos for Numero France. It was never my intention (nor Numero’s) to portray a black woman in this story. Our idea and concept for this fashion shoot was based on 60's characters of Talitha Getty, Verushka and Marissa Berenson with middle eastern and Moroccan fashion inspiration. We at no point attempted to portray an African women by painting her skin black. We wanted a tanned and golden skin to be showcased as part of the beauty aesthetic of this shoot.

It saddens me that people would interpret this as a mockery of race. I believe that the very unfortunate title “African Queen” (which I was not aware of prior to publication) did a lot to further people’s misconceptions about these images. It was certainly never my intention to mock or offend anyone and I wholeheartedly apologize to anyone who was offended.

Sincerely,
Sebastian Kim
blog.jedroot.com

Numero France #141 HQ



imcmagazine via christianelouise

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27-02-2013
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the Verushka reference is very prevalent it sucks that the title completely changes the whole meaning of the editorial. It now looks offensive, whereas Kim, who assisted Avedon at one point was probably paying tribute.

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27-02-2013
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BS. "Middle eastern and Moroccan fashion inspiration" can be done with white folks too. Bronze/tanned skin doesn't equal black skin.

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27-02-2013
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Numéro seems to have quite a lot of these kinds of 'incidents', like that editorial with a naked black girl and fully clothed white girl and that cover with Constance Jablonski.

You'd think they'd learn something.

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27-02-2013
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the editorial looks quite decent, so i believe the photographer is giving a sincere apology. the people responsible for the title of the editorial, however... should get a punch in the neck.

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01-03-2013
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As if not knowing it was going to be called "African Queen" absolves him of any wrongdoing. He painted a white girl black in the name of fashion in 2013, for heaven's sake. Wake up.

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01-03-2013
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I knew they would give some BS excuse to deal with this editorial. I can't.

Veruschka and Marisa Berensen never looked like they were painted black. Embarrassing.

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01-03-2013
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I don't get the so called controversy and wouldnt have wanted them to apologise or respond. The fashion depicted in the ed is more North African nomadic style fashion as opposed to East and South African fashion where the people are obviously darker. The tan gives her a more North African look and IMO a tan and blackface are 2 different entities. Those that are saying that they should have used a black model are also indirectly saying that the should only use blac models when they have a special feature like this one or the all black Italian Vogue which to me wont do anything towards bringing more models of colour to the runways. I have seen black models in Asian and European influenced eds and no one said anything, theres one I saw where the model's face was painted white yet no one found it offensive. As for painting her black, my skin looks nothing like that and am a black African(not event he darkest there is)

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01-03-2013
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^ That's one terribly backwards argument against blackface.

"Whiteface" [wtf]? check. Are you suggesting that such thing actually exists? FYI, there is no such thing as discriminating against the privileged. Next thing I know, you'll be shouting "reverse racism" at us or similar nonsense.
"I'm black and I don't look like that"? check. Quite the weak and ignorant statement right there. Do all WOC look the same? I think not.
"Black people have been in European-inspired eds"? check.
From time to time, lots of people have expressed concern and/or outrage for seeing POC being depicted as mere accessories/human background for the white ladies in fashion settings because LBR, the only case a POC is included in those "Euro-influenced" editorials that you speak of, is as such.
This was no effing tan, no matter how you spin it.. And anyway, why should a white person have a "more north-African nomadic look" in the first place? You yourself phrased it poorly here.


Last edited by Morphe; 01-03-2013 at 09:18 PM.
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01-03-2013
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Is the fashion industry so thin skinned? Everything is a controversy, everything offends someone.

I believe the apology is sincere. Instead of clamoring and pointing fingers, why not implore Numero to feature a black model (a real one ) in their editorial as a sincere gesture above the already mentioned apology?

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02-03-2013
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I'm much happier with Kim's response, Numero's was very much " I have a black friend!" and took the "I'm sorry you got offended" train instead of taking true responsibility. This isn't the first time that Kim has played around with multiculturalism (remember the one with Jacquelyn Jablonksi?), and I know he means well but I feel like if he did it once and got a backlash, he should have learned from his mistake. Race isn't something you can take off at the end of the day. It isn't a trend and it isn't a fashion statement.

Numero needs to take more responsibility, in my opinion. They put the title on the editorial and they published it in the magazine.

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02-03-2013
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Maybe I got the meaning of blackface wrong otherwise this is what I get as the description which isnt what I see in the ed. or starters blackace was used in a more comical way to mock black people, in the ed,the model looks nothing like someone in a Minstrel show. Blackface was used to portray black people as dark skinned with huge pink lips almost identical to a monkey, there's nothing like that in the ed. Am all for a world where Liya can be cast as a Geisha and Gemma Ward can be cast as a girl in an African town without everyone getting sensitive. I wish people would actually get more sensitive about the truly racist instances int he Industry,then we would have more black models in ads, eds and shows. If the ed featured a Caucasian model with her African subjects then I would be offended. Otherwise am black and don't find anything racist or offensive about this.

BTW here is the definition of blackface
wiki
Quote:
Blackface is a form of theatrical makeup used in minstrel shows, and later vaudeville, in which performers create a stereotyped caricature of a black person.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morphe View Post
^ That's one terribly backwards argument against blackface.

"Whiteface" [wtf]? check. Are you suggesting that such thing actually exists? FYI, there is no such thing as discriminating against the privileged. Next thing I know, you'll be shouting "reverse racism" at us or similar nonsense.
"I'm black and I don't look like that"? check. Quite the weak and ignorant statement right there. Do all WOC look the same? I think not.
"Black people have been in European-inspired eds"? check.
From time to time, lots of people have expressed concern and/or outrage for seeing POC being depicted as mere accessories/human background for the white ladies in fashion settings because LBR, the only case a POC is included in those "Euro-influenced" editorials that you speak of, is as such.
This was no effing tan, no matter how you spin it.. And anyway, why should a white person have a "more north-African nomadic look" in the first place? You yourself phrased it poorly here.
I

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Last edited by Urban Stylin; 02-03-2013 at 08:11 AM.
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02-03-2013
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^ Sure, she's not made up to look like Al Jolson, but you don't think a white woman dressed in "ethnic" North African clothes (really, it doesn't matter what region of Africa this is to be offensive) and painted brown is blackface? It's pretty much the definition of it by creating a stereotyped caricature.

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02-03-2013
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those are not Ethnic African clothes, they are designer clothes that have been worn by other models of different ethnicity. As for the stereotyped caricature, i think that's far from that the stereotype that racists had of black people is the extremely dark skin and large pink lips, the photos show neither of those btw Karolina Kurkova also did a Verushka themed shoot in bright prints and very tanned skin and I didnt hear any complaints.

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Last edited by Urban Stylin; 02-03-2013 at 02:16 PM.
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02-03-2013
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exactly, I'm reposting this from the first post

Quote:
Our idea and concept for this fashion shoot was based on 60's characters of Talitha Getty, Verushka and Marisa Berenson with middle eastern and Moroccan fashion inspiration.
if you look at those editorials (just search rubartelli on these forums), none of those models are represented as african and just seem to have a really good tan, but the setting is completely different, most of them being shot in the desert. here, the editorial is shot in a very simple and dark setting, with a model even more tanned, the idea is a bit lost but you can definitely see by the 60s styling (hair and jewelry) what they were going for.

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