By now, the fashion industry all over the world has to know blackface is offensive. Yet Vogue Italia insisted on doing blackface in its recent “Abracadabra” fashion spread.
Vogue Italia isn't a first-time offender when it comes to the questionable way the magazine handles race on its glossy pages. In January—only two months prior—the magazine caught justified backlash for segregating its street style photos. Yes, in 2014 a renowned fashion magazine took readers back to the 1940s with segregated photos.
And now here we are with “Abracadabra” in the March 2014 issues. Dutch model Saskia de Brauw poses in blackface next to African taxidermied animals. She’s dressed up in vibrant prints and headwraps while posing on various animals.
Last May, Vogue Netherlands caused controversy for its “Heritage Heroes” spread with a different Dutch model posing in blackface.
What is it with the Dutch and blackface? Holland’s Sinterklaas tradition sparked protests in Amsterdam last year. Protesters considered the tradition racist. Every year the Dutch dress up in blackface as Black Pete. Instead of apologizing for offending people or trying to understand the history of blackface, those celebrating Sinterklaas took to social media to blast people for calling the tradition racist.
It’s painstakingly obvious that anyone in 2014 who chooses to do blackface, especially a magazine of Vogue’s stature, knows it’s offensive. They simply do not care. And that’s sad and unacceptable.
(Photo: Vogue Italia)