Sunday, March 23, 2008

The White Woman and A Buck

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Fair warning: this is a entry about race.

It begins, oddly enough, with Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James on the cover of April's Vogue magazine. Now, the problem I have with this cover is that celebrity photographer Annie Lebowitz (who typically does wonderful work) captures him clutching model Giselle Bundchen a pose that looks a whole lot like an old King Kong movie poster.

LeBron is one of only three men (and the first black man) to have ever been featured on a Vougue cover. I've never really thought about the number of black males ever featured in Vouge, I suppose I'm happy that barrier is being broken. I must admit, though, that I'm none too happy that in 2008 the black male is still being publicly potrayed as a buck and brut.

This is not a trivial thing and I'm far past believing its coincidence every time I see a black athlete in magazines like this. Like this somewhat recent GQ spread that had Oakland Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell in a sweat suit and fur court looking like a coon on his way to spinning class while white quarterbacks in the same issue were presented in a far more sophisticated and non-cartoonish manners.

I don't heave all the blame on the photographers and editorial directors. I blame the athletes themselves for being driven by the not-so-mighty dollar and their slave driving agents and image-makers who don't just tell these people no.

Its time these athletes realize that the price of rising celebrity can not come at the expense of promoting unflattering stereotypes that do themselves and their race no good.
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9 comments:

Bullet Proof Soul said...

Maybe I just feel differently about this picture than everyone else. I guess because Giselle is Brazilian, not white, a minority herself. I don't see it. I also feel that people are rude to say he looks like an ape or that he reminds them of King Kong. If he were dressed up in a monkey suit then yes I would have something to say about it. But Lebron is a basketball player wearing an outfit of a basketball player. The only reason why he is on the cover is because he won the title of having the best male body not for fashion. I'm sure being an athlete had something to do with it.

The Captain said...

Well somebody gotta do it!

Sean Stone said...

I love situations like this because you'd have to be a fly on the wall to fully understand the events that led to him making such a pose. I think Annie Lebowitz wanted to invoke controversy with that picture.

That Dude Right There said...

No comment on this one!

E said...

Of course the black athletes that said no to being posed like that won't ever be mentioned...:-)

I'm with sean stone...it's possible the direction may have been to cause controversy with the pics.

Ailed LittleKnight said...

As long as it gets wanted results they will continue to do so...

This blogger reunion, I will be there! sorta speak! Send me a email mr. jones and I will explain!

fuzzy said...

Oh I see who/what you are talking about now (inside comment)

Ummm the almighty dollar makes people do whatever. Black people are about the money. They see it and they go for it! Not saying other races don't do it but it is more publicly known in the black community.

People see the opportunity and they capitalize on it!

Mr. Jones said...

The more I look at this photograph, the more incensed I become.

mp1 v.8.0 said...

Well, here's a comment to draw you back to take another look @ that pic! lol

I see where you're coming from, but I'm not really upset by this pic. It clearly is a throwback to teh days of King Kong, when whites viewed all black men as savage rapists. I'm not a fan of Vogue or the photographer, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and refrain from labeling them as racists. I do believe that this photoggrapher was looking to be controversial with this pic. She succeeded.

And we all know that controversy sells

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