Outrage Over ‘Teen Vogue’ Pics Reveals Racial Identity More
It’s a hairstyle that originated in West Africa and has long been popular in the black community in the United States. Now, thanks to a Teen Vogue article celebrating the coiled braids, “Senegalese twists” have gone high fashion. But some readers of the magazine are taking to social media to express their hurt and anger over those being left out of the pictures: dark-skinned black women.
The firestorm started late Sunday evening when Twitter user Jojothajawn began tweeting her displeasure over the pics accompanying an article in the mag.
“Seriously not buying @TeenVogue again. I’m so insulted by this! You interview a White girl about African hairstyles!!” Jojothajawn wrote in one of her tweets. “It’s bad enough that your cheap ass mag barely has any BW [black women] but the ONE time you should, you don’t deliver,” she wrote in another.
The tweets were shared on Twitter and Tumblr thousands of times. Jojothajawn and other Teen Vogue readers also criticized the inclusion of images of only lighter-skinned black or mixed-race actors, such as Zendaya and Zoë Kravitz, as examples of celebs who rock ethnic hairstyles.
“With these waist-length Zoë Kravitz–inspired twists, life felt infinitely easier, my morning routine swifter, and I could go from swimming to a dinner party without so much as a blow-dry,” wrote the article's author, Teen Vogue beauty and health editor Elaine Welteroth. In the article, Welteroth details a trip she took to Rwanda and the experience she had getting her hair braided.
Seriously not buying @TeenVogue again. I#39m so insulted by this! You interview a White girl about African hairstyles!! pic.twitter.com/YxIDuQfP1Vmdash jo | lee | sa (@JOJOTHAJAWN) June 22, 2015
“What about Solange? Janelle Monae?? Non celebrity POC??!!” tweeted Jojothajawn.
Jojothajawn seems to be referring to how pop culture and fashion borrow heavily from black and African culture—from Bo Derek’s cornrows to the big-booty stardom of Iggy Azalea, Kim Kardashian, and Jennifer Lopez—but rarely put darker-skinned black women in the spotlight.
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So, Why Should You Care? With her tweets, Jojothajawn reminds us of the lack of diversity in the fashion industry. Last year, an analysis of 611 covers published by 44 major fashion mags found that only 19 percent featured nonwhite models. The problem extends to the runway, which is among the reasons Bethann Hardison, a veteran black model and agent, founded the Diversity Coalition, an organization that seeks to catalyze racial diversity within the industry. “Eyes are on an industry that season after season watches design houses consistently use one or no models of color. No matter the intention, the result is racism,” Hardison wrote in an open letter.
It#39s bad enough that your cheap ass mag barely has any BW but the ONE time you should, you don#39t deliver. @TeenVogue pic.twitter.com/0L50CdwCObmdash jo | lee | sa (@JOJOTHAJAWN) June 22, 2015