When it comes to trends and style, black women are always studied but never praised. This is an age old, daunting discussion. However, in 2016, the discussion is still very necessary due to the beauty and importance of black women being questioned consistently in the fashion industry.
Lets start with Sudanese Australian model, Ajak Deng.
Ajak recently announced her departure from the fashion industry via Instagram. Ajak decided to quit modeling because she “can no longer deal with the fakes and the lies,” and also informed her fans that she “will be moving back to Australia in order to live the life that [she] fully deserves.”
Although Ajak did not blatantly state racism as the main cause for her decision, it does not take a rocket scientist to come to this conclusion. This was not the first time Ajak has voiced her frustration with working as a black model. Back in 2014, Ajak tweeted (before deleting her account afterwards) “This is how it feels when you get kicked out of Balmain for being black…”
Another model, Aamito Stacie Lagum, was pictured on the Instagram account of Mac Cosmetics last week wearing the “Matte Royal” lipstick. Tons of users loved the shade on Aamito’s glowing, melanin-infused skin, but others felt this was the perfect opportunity to bash the same lips they swoon over when worn by Kylie Jenner.
Aamito simply responded by re-posting a picture of an article written about the debacle with a caption that read “My lips giving you sleepless nights. On @maccosmetics IG . Thank you @maccosmetics for this killer color and to that makeup artist. [Imma] get me 3 of these.” [Source]
It is almost impossible to forget when Giuliana Rancic of E’s Fashion Police insulted every black woman in the world last year by stating Zendaya’s dreads made her look as if she smelled of “patchouli oil and weed.” Zendaya responded with a lengthy, classy statement informing Giuliana that “there is a fine line between what is funny and disrespectful.” Supporters of Zendaya began to voice their opinions via social media including but not limited to celebrities such as Kerry Washington, Ava DuVernay and Viola Davis. Even the fashion goddess, Solange Knowles, tweeted in support of Zendaya. This event reminded Solange of Fashion Police “bashing [her] fro for years,” and that In Touch Weekly “compared it to a dog.”
Amandla Stenberg, actress and social activist, asked in her discourse, Don’t Cash Crop on My Cornrows, “What would America be like if we loved black people as much as we love black culture?” This is definitely a question that needs an answer in all aspects of entertainment and business, but especially when it comes to black women in the fashion industry. Instead of always being seen and used as props, give credit when and where it is due.
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