Tuesday, August 5, 2008

black vogue?

I finally managed to get my hands on the July Issue of Italian Vogue, the "Black Issue" aka the "Most Wanted Issue Ever." I felt like a mother frantically searching for Tickle me Elmo on Christmas Eve. I must have made friends with about thirty different magazine vendor men throughout the city. My guy friends thought it was silly for me to be so worked up about finding a copy. They were like, "You're not black. You're not even half black." But for those who have never seen a Dominijew/Jewminican, that's usually their first assumption. Anyway, I digress... After all of the sweat and hard work that went into finding my very own copy, I have got to say, I was kind of disappointed.

By the time I had gotten my hands on it, I had all of these crazy hopes and expectations. I was really expecting to be blown away. I had heard that every ad and every picture featured in it was going to be presenting a woman of color. It was going to be revolutionary! It was going to be outrageous! Extraordinary! I had visions of curly unyielding tresses soaring and draping themselves against neon dayglo accessories and garments. Dreadlocks wrapping and coiling around high heels and black patent leather purses. Black here, tan there, caramel coated legs everywhere! Afros galore!! (Actually, I will admit, I did find one white girl with an Afro in the beauty section and that was pretty satisfying) But ultimately, it was sooooooo not what I expected. It basically looked like every other Vogue magazine I have ever seen with a spotlight addressing a general cast of popular black characters, highlighting Naomi as the black model goddess that she is (and ultimately the one and only black model, because let's face it, if you're not Naomi, who are you?). The front spread featuring four beautiful star models for the issue, Naomi, Jourdan, Sessilee, and Liya, were backed and then followed by a continuous glut of ads featuring blue eyed white models. By the last page, I felt kinda dissapointed. Was that it? Did I miss something here?

I'll admit, there was a pretty fun Steven Meisel shoot with Toccara Jones, whom I kind of love. Luckily, I am fluent in Italian, so I can continue reading and investigating. I mean, I guess for Italy it is a big deal. When I was there three years ago people were still dressing up in black face on network television, so this must have been huuuuge. But little old me the New Yorker was little intrigued and overall not tooo impressed. But, I suppose you've got to start somewhere, so I guess here's to starting.


flex, 2008
watercolor and ink on paper
9 x 6 inches