In the modern world, it feels like we can’t go a week without some form of controversy over race. While it’s a good thing that we’re in the process of doing away with outdated and negative concepts of people based on race of skin colour, some controversies created in its wake can sometimes seem a little trifling.
For example, the recent controversy over Gigi Hadid is one that leaves a few questions about its validity. Hadid sits atop the lap of a male model for Vogue Italia, and in it’s she wearing a gold crown and a stylish jumpsuit. Naturally excited at working with such a major name in the fashion industry, the model posted up some snaps from the shot on her Instagram, posting: “Excited, honored, and grateful to cover @VogueItalia’s May Issue by my loves @stevenkleinstudio, @patti_wilson & @gb65 – thank you so so much for an amazing shoot, I am forever inspired by you all !!! & can’t wait to share the full story !!”
Before long, though, she was under assault from followers on social media. Many people noted that her skin tone had been ‘darkened’ far in excess of what her natural skin tone is. Indeed, many people turned to accusing both Hadid and the magazine of “blackface”, with many angry messages pouring in.
One message began, saying: “This is blackface,
“How anyone thought this was okay is beyond me. They made you look like a black woman instead of getting a black woman to pose for the cover or letting your natural skin show. This is nowhere close to okay.”
Others commented on the seeming lack of authenticity in the shoot, with some claiming that Hadid had been edited a tad too much. One commenter even posted, saying: “I don’t see the point of hiring someone just to make her unrecognizable.. also, I think making someone look like a different race is not a good thing, disrespectful indeed.”
While most people were pissed at the concept of her being “blacked up”, others raced to her defence, saying that getting a tan isn’t exactly a crime. One posted said: “It’s a tan, get oooooover it. I swear, I’m so sick of this.”
However, the problem with this comes from the fact that this is not the first time that both model and publication have been caught up in this storm. In a 2015 shoot, Hadid was given an extremely afro-inspired style of hair, alongside a skin tone that was considerably darker than her usual look.
While we personally find it hard to see the major issue here, with far more prominent forms of discrimination visible elsewhere, it’s hard to deny the comments’ validity.
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