Artistic freedom: it must be nice!

Is it hypocritical of black women to complain about being objectified in rap music videos and then turn around and complain about not being objectified enough on the runways of Europe?

A few weeks ago, there was an especially angry op-ed in the Washington Post about the discrimination that takes place in the world of high-fashion modeling. Recently, there was a series of fashion shows, in Milan, Paris, and New York, to show off designers’ new lines of clothes for Spring 2008 – and there were hardly any black models featured.

From what I understand, there usually aren’t very many black models anyway, other than your token Naomi Campbell here and there, but this year, black models (er, brown models, to use the bs diversity term) are especially out of vogue. In years past, designers have gone with Benetton-style multi-cultural themes, but this year they were looking for girls who were especially thin and especially pale, so that their looks didn’t distract too much from the clothes themselves.

And the thing is, designers can pretty much get away with this. Where as with any other job, where if you showed up and an employer was all like, “I’m sorry, sir. We don’t employ black people here. They have a problem showing up on time,” you could probably hit them with what Pacman Jones would call a good lil’ lawsuit, fashion designers get to account for aesthetics. If they don’t want to go with any black chicks this year (or any year, for that matter), that’s their prerogative. You wouldn’t have much in the way of legal recourse, though I’m sure TPAR would try anyway.

This one black chick, who ran a modeling agency in the 1980s which helped launch the careers of Naomi Campbell and Tyson Beckford, recently held a conference where black models got together to throw a bitchfit. It was the subject of another angry story, this time in the New York Times, called “Ignoring Diversity, Runways Fade to White.”

Here’s an especially hot quote from that story, courtesy of that one fruit from America’s Next Top Model – which I’ve never seen before, I swear:

“Years ago, runways were almost dominated by black girls,” said J. Alexander, a judge on “America’s Next Top Model,” referring to the gorgeous mosaic runway shows staged by Hubert de Givenchy or Yves Saint Laurent in the 1970s. “Now some people are not interested in the vision of the black girl unless they’re doing a jungle theme and they can put her in a grass skirt and diamonds and hand her a spear.”

Yikes!

Renowned racist Free speech advocate that I am, of course I can’t help but be amused that these designers have been able to create the art that they want, often at the expense of a black woman’s ego. And it’s not like there’s a whole lot these angry bitches can do. I mean, what could they do? Stop buying designer clothes? Pfft! I suppose they could only buy clothes from lines that appear to be owned by black (-ish) people, like Kimora Lee Simmons’ Baby Phat line; but at the end of the day, that money is just gonna end up in the same TI’s pocket.

If there’s one thing that’s truly unfortunate here, it’s that hip-hop artists haven’t been able to enjoy similar freedoms. I mean, in theory, hip-hop video directors can cast whoever they want in their videos and have then dancing around in their underwear and what have you. But then they have to suffer the wrath of the Oprah Winfreys and the Essence magazines of the world. Just the other day, there was a story in, again, the New York Times about mobs of angry, religious black women (Tyler Perry fans, I’m sure) holding weekly protests outside the homes of TIs from BET and Viacom. Meanwhile, I’ve yet to hear of any similar protests outside Ralph Lauren’s house.

Which begs the question: how come these angry beeyotches are coming down way harder on the creators of rap videos, who at least portray black women as objects of desire, than they are on fashion designers, who aren’t even required by law to pretend that they black women are as good-looking as white women. It’s almost as if they just don’t like the idea of a black man getting paid… Nah, that can’t be the case!

  • gizzle

    First?

  • dameSTAtus

    Bol,

    Just go ahead and finish the transformation into Col. Stinkmeaner why don’t ya!

    Ha!

    • QUELL

      CHHHUUUURRRCCHHHH!!!!

      I feel you’re p.o.v on this one here. Video Vixen=Runway model has far being objectified in a sense. Ironically Tyra had her ANTM girls compete a hip-hipish music video in a recent episode, directed by 1 of those Torrero brothers. And those chicks sucked!!! Thus, BLACK and BROWN video hoes are a necessary evil. SO people(Tyler Perry fans and the like) need to stop complaining!!

  • BuckBuckBoom

    Its the crab in the barrel mentality, their real goal is to stop other blacks not actually right a wrong…blacks would perfer to bring other blacks down, instead of actually doing what it would take to correct a problem(real or perceived)

  • AZ40

    I thought the same fucking thing!!! You wanna know why? It’s because they’re women, THEY don’t even know what they want.

    • ty

      yo i swear to god i don’t even need to read the rest of the replies…this my friends is the answer to every problem your woman or any woman has.

      cosign like a motherfucker.

  • Wesley Gibson

    Nice. Best thing I’ve read from you in a while. Actually thought provoking good stuff.

  • Cara

    Hmm, Very interesting parallel. If this was a fair world designers should be receiving as much flack as the music video producer, but this world is far from fair. Hip hop videos aren’t intriguing to the elite as high fashion is. Black women want to be showcased in the elite. We are supposed to have freedom of expression in this country, and I don’t believe anyone has the right to criticize someone over how they present their ideas, whether it be a music producer or designer. I figure its just easier to hate and condemn a black man who’s trying to build something than an established designer who knows these women will flock to buy their shit regardless.

  • yo

    True. sounds like some slave shit. Its like the jay-z deal when he became president of def jam. all these srtist started blaming him for there shitty album sales. they sure as hell werent going that hard on any white president. Us blacks seem to crabs in the buckets. hmm. Good Blog, Bol.

  • avengerxxl

    The fashion industry does not select models based on overall desireability but based on how they work with various asthetics. Basicly the women are walking manikins chosen not to take away from the overall design of the clothes but complement them. A woman with curves and what the average joe would consider a nice face would never make it in this world. Remember it is all about setting the mood in a certain kind of pretentious space. Also remember that Fruits make the fashion world go around and though folks can say they have a racist agenda, I really doubt it. The only time black women could be successful in that world anyway is when they become super models. Super models are not the creation of the fashion world but it is the rare occasion that the Fruits actual pick a Manikin that everyone wants to hit. I know I watch americas next top model and most of them broads look sickly no ass or tits and like they were hidden away from the sun.

    But rap though I don’t think they should take the total brunt of this is the direct manifestation of what many fools are thinking. Not all people but many. Most guys have had ultra freaky dreams of doing some foul stuff to some broad even the so called good stand up guys. Lust is a powerful drug show me a man who says this isn’t true and I will show you a person in denial. The only problem with rap is they show the shit in the middle of the day or play it on the radio at all ours hell you should have to go seek that shit out like pron man.

  • Allen_J

    I don’t understand why women want to skinny up for those runways anyway. Black women are naturally curvy baby go model baby phat or akademiks or apple bottom. J/K Black people just mad at the world right now it’ll pass

  • 1,2,1,2….ANDITDON’TSTOP81

    BLACK PEOPLE ARE THE WORST ENEMY OF BLACK PEOPLE. DAMN….

  • C’est Word

    Huge difference.

    Runway models seldom bend over, pop, lock, or drop it. Their job is to seduce, dance, grind, strip, wash cars, lick their lips, get champagne poured on them, etc.

    Whereas runway chicks are human mannequins. And yes, occasionally its nice to be in a store and see a mannequin that represents you (or your old lady)

  • CHICAGO PaPii

    Bol it’s simple man, we ALL know that your regular Black Chick don’t know nothan about ANYTHING outside of the sub-cultured world of “Black America”, that like obvious from the even more strikingly obvious stance so-called Black Feminist(Oprah Occultist) on Mainstream TV, like when was the last time you seen a Affluent, arousingly Beautiful,independant African-American chick in a Lead role on a Major network like ABC,NBC or CBS ? When was the last time you seen a TV Show being Lead by a Insightful Black Chick with “spunk” that is successful? When was the last time you seen a Female Black Lead in any Major Movie that is just as successful as a Scarlet Johannson Flick or a Angelina Jolie Flick?

  • http://xxlmagazine.com Cal

    Bol for real man you waste time posting this shit here where few of those you truly need to reach ever frequent. Shit like this if printed on some main public blog would possibly spark some shit. Crack ass crackas like Lauren get away with that shit faster than crack heads do with car stereos. Good post real talk!

  • Mimi

    Chicago Papii – Please eat a dick. And please change your fucking name – I don’t want my city associated with your lame, IGNORANT ass. Go fuck yourself. “…we ALL know..” YOU DON’T KNOW SHIT!! You couldn’t hold your own in a conversation with me about the WEATHER. What YOU know could take me about 10 seconds to wrap my mind around, alright? So fuck off. Go sit your hateful, STUPID ass down somewhere far far away from the computer and shut the fuck up.

    And as for this bulbous virgin Bol, please do me a favor and go choke yourself to death on your own neck fat. You write nothing but knee-jerk, simplistic, rhetorical bullshit and then sit around and wait for a bunch of teenage dork REJECTS to crawl out of the woodwork and agree with whatever weak, shallow-minded crap you spew on any given day. “Good Blog” “Good post” and “real talk” my ASS!

    And for the one who said that “women don’t know what they want..” Well, maybe not, but I can clearly state that I for one DON’T want some corny slob offering his dumbass opinion on two things he knows NOTHING about: 1) Fashion; and 2) Women. He ain’t EVER been touched by either.

    Fall back, you fuckin punk! Fall back so far that your man titties flop in your UGLY, self-hating face. No white woman – or Black, Asian, Latin OR ANYONE ELSE WITH A VAGINA will ever want to handle your jugs – or search in vain for your dick, loser. No amount of bitter, woman-hating rants will ever change that, so GIVE IT UP!! And confine all of your future blogs to things you actually know about, such as:

    Snacks
    30-Second Masturbation Sessions
    Snacks
    Fantasizing About Women Who Will Never, EVER Want to Fuck You
    Snacks

    Fucking asshole!

    • Around and Around

      Holy shit give this girl a blog or something. One of the top 10 post ever..dam…. ethered the shit out you

    • Josh

      Wow – women actually do read your blog Bol!

  • N.O. 4 life

    it is natural for the media/oprah/middle aged white folk to attack the character of the african american male…its their instincts…attack their own when its apparent…uh not so much

  • VL Steve

    wow. wow. bol this isn’t crawford dot com. no one gives a shit about the fashion industry. this is a hiphop site. everything is a double standard in this country.

  • http://www.rizzleworld.blogspot.com allnice

    There is a huge difference between black fashion models and hip hop video hos. I think Jay-Z is one of the only cats to have real models in his video for the Change clothes joint. The rest of these cats just have broads with real large asses, but these chicks have no class.

    Bol, you can’t say that black chicks are hating on black dudes getting paid just because they have problems with being seen as hos. Even if they are hos, they aren’t gonna want that image. I have heard black chicks complain about the hos in the video, but they hardly ever complain about a cat getting his money. In fact they encourage it.

    These fashion designers should use black models simply because they look good and they do a good job. Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell are ultra popular like Kate Moss. I think it is a waste for them not to use black women. I guess some black fashion designers need to rise up and make some high class brand name shite.

  • barbarian at the gate

    So this year black women are not in vogue?

    Next year they will be.

    Just like in hip hop, some years you’re a winner, some years you’re not.

    Tastes & preferences come & go with the wind.

    Hell, AZ40 above probably summed the whole thing up best.

  • http://www.theunderwriters.blogspot.com THE UNDERWRITER

    My homeboys went to Brazil last year, and I had to work. They came back with an entirely different attitude about Black American women.

    Basically, they said they could kiss their asses, because the asses in Brazil were way cheaper and bigger, and maybe because they were also light-skindeded. Who knows.

    But they felt like these American women pride themselves on being able to deny Black men more than to accept them. And they got major love in the Turmas of Rio De Janeiro.

    I’m going in February. Get like me.

    • c. gabi

      ::sigh::

      That’s a little disheartening to read. But what can you do? I guess what’s most frustrating for me is that when Black men decide they’re fed up with us, there’s a dozen types(racial) that will willingly take you. I was listening to talk radio a few months back and a white male caller said “what makes Black women decide that when (for whatever reasons) they no longer Black men, that we (whites & others) are going to want them?”. Like damn.

      I genuinely believe that the odds are stacked against us on a variety of levels. Sometimes it does feel like there’s more objectifying and glorifying than just flat out love and respect. You just have to play the hand that’s dealt with you. If we (black women) don’t like the way we’re being portrayed either on the runway or in videos, then we should create more opportunities for us to be shown in different lights. There’s enough of us educated, beautiful, affluent Black women to do it (and we don’t need Oprah or a bunch of angry Spelmanites).

      I don’t know why we keep jumping up and down screaming at white people expecting fair treatment. Come on now, seriously, like that’s EVER going to happen?

      Segregation is the devil.

  • Jerry Curls

    Touché.

  • stoneyisland

    I have no sympathy for these skinny ass, evil bitches I mean women be there black or white. The black models only fuck with white boys anyway when was the last black supermodel you saw with a brother? dont even say that big foreheaded bitch Tyra banks, who just likes black NBA type dick:) Most wont even look at a brother so I say fuck them unemployed hoes. As for the white model i.e white devil bitches, I could care less, who would want to fuck a skeleton? a tic-tac and a sip of diet coke is not a full course meal:) As Moni’que sadi skinny bitches are evil and should be destroyed

  • barbarian at the gate

    “who would want to fuck on a skeleton?”

    Great line, stoneyisland.

    It’s good shit like that, that keep me coming back to XXL.

  • Snakes on a motherf*cking Plane

    I am so glad someone is going after the real culprits and leaving rap music alone. Back when crack was running rampant in the 80′s rappers were not even rapping about selling, so who did they blame then.

  • X-Man

    Women are fucking crazy, Let´s be honest!!
    Bol u got a way with words!

    Wonder what TPAR thinks about the lack of arab women on the runways, throw a bitch fit, u know u want too!!!!

  • these posts are racist

    Mimi is awesome. Great comment Mimi.

  • http://www.theunderwriters.blogspot.com THE UNDERWRITER

    Yo Gabi,

    I feel you on the way we treat Black women. I hang with women waaay more than dudes, because dudes like to say shit like, “Let me fuck.” When I’m rolling with a female who may be beautiful, but that doesn’t take away from her intelligence or the right to being respected. So even though I never snitch on man-to-man comments, I can’t really eff with them on a good level, because they’re still caught in that high-school train-running state of mind…

    Living in America (in my James Brown voice…)

    Boys are taught that girls are sugar and spice. Sweet, but not all the time. We go on to discover that women don’t usually date guys their age, so every girl you grew up with starts looking for the college dropout. Or the 30+ bidnessman with an apartment that has vanilla candles and such. And we get left with the yunguns, who are immature, drunk and hot girls. And we take what we can get.

    I’ll always stand by my belief that men get their hearts broken before women. So maybe that’s why we become dogs at early ages. We can’t get what we really want, so we settle for what’s easy.

    But I do think that most dudes take it overboard with all the disrespect.

    *BONUS MATERIAL*

    Yo, TPAR…

    Why the hell haven’t you got up on Garland’s blog (nolo)? Me and you could have been debating some real shit, but I don’t see how a person with your *alleged* law degree and pedigree could deny that he’s a good writer, just like Bol and Sunday.

    Instead, it seems like you’d rather ruffle Bol’s balls and keep getting suckered into an argument.

    I agree with your stans – you do drive the traffic here. Because you stay checking for one man’s flaws.

    Tell Around I said that he’s still an embecile.

  • Youngz

    Yo, serioualy, MIMI, u just an ugly, black hood chick, stop hatin hoe!!
    Plz start dating that arab TPAR, he would treat u lovely Im sure!

  • Around and Around

    Underwear, I’m not going to gun on you today, I’m just going to mention that everyone should read your previous post to Gabi, it speaks for itself gay ass bitch……

    The reason you hang will all girls is because they’re Fag-Hags, the type of girl that likes to hang with her gay male friend.

  • kritiq

    I knew deep inside THE UNDERWRITER was a fudgy persona hiden, thanks for coming out of the closet buttyboy,I mean no male person can actually crave that much attention unless he’s……..

    Hey every one be extra careful when addressin THE UNDERWRITER the metrosexual faggot is kinda sensetive if you know what I mean. like billy sunday would say bitch made.

  • THEGOD

    i’ve read many of this dudes blogs and must say this is the only time where i can be like..” He really enlighten me on something.” its the perfect arguement but then you gotta realize. black women are the most curvacious women on the planet. the fashion industries target demographics do not buy clothes in an average black womens size. no ass no hips and please spare me the details on bust. so why hire some chick like that. all you gonna get is a whole bunch of “fat girl” comments. it might reverse the brainwashness that skinny means beautiful but the chicks that spend the mosy moeny on these designers labels are a size 4 and lower. maybe 5 but thats just for the tall ones. this is a great arguement cause the hip-hop industry gives these beautiful women a platform to be expose to the the mainstream.

  • http://www.theunderwriters.blogspot.com THE UNDERWRITER

    kritiq…

    Don’t ever, ever, ever get drunk enough again to assume that I haven’t probably piped your mother or sister, assuming you have them and aren’t really just another one of my test tube babies.

    Around…

    You’re like one of those dudes I mentioned who says, “Let me fuck.” You’re a pathetic joke, even at your best. Do I have to call myself out for being a champion with women to deflect your fake ass gay charges? Or do you just wish that I was a anus-afficionado like you?

    You disgust me, in every way imaginable. But your girl would love me. And I would skeet, get her preggy in Alabama and send the baby to you in a Fed-Ex box with airholes.

    You – Around and kritiq – are sooooo beneath my fucking cleats.

  • Karen Miles

    “how come these angry beeyotches are coming down way harder on the creators of rap videos, who at least portray black women as objects of desire,”

    A lot of rap videos only portray black women as “objects” as you have had said, mainly sexual objects, As you have said “Objects of Desire”. Not all black women want to be seen as a love interest or a booty shaker in a rap video with barely no clothes on and the only thing that’s fashionable is the Gucci and Louboutins that they would only put a black woman in if she is in a video being lusted after by a man. Forgive us if some of us want to be portrayed as beautiful and not sexy, and for setting an standard to other young black girls who are looking to “model” and not just be known by their T and A.