CULTURAL APPROPRIATION is defined as: “Taking intellectual property, traditional knowledge, cultural expressions, or artifacts from someone else’s culture without permission…”, according to Susan Scafidi, a law professor at Fordham University. This is exactly what happened when Blackhair Magazine used ‘White’ model Emily Bador’s photo to sell their Dec/Jan issue.
I would deeply and sincerely like to apologise to every one for this, and black women especially. I would like to clarify, I believe this shoot is from when I was around 15 and didn’t understand cultural appropriation or the impact it has on POC. I was uneducated, which obviously is no excuse, ignorant and immature. Growing up in a very very white city, I had no idea the struggles black women face and how often they were persecuted for their hair. I didn’t understand how black women are constantly told their natural hair is inappropriate/unprofessional for the work place, or how young girls are told they can’t go to school with natural hair. I didn’t understand that shoots like this support the very Eurocentric beauty standard that the mainstream media focus on which reinforce the idea that black features are only ok on white women. I didn’t understand that as a white passing woman I’d be praised for this hair, but if I was a black woman I’d be persecuted. I didn’t understand cultural appropriation. ? I do regret doing this. I hold up my hands, I’m so so so sorry and I’m very sorry this cover was taken away from a black woman. This image is (I think, although I’m not 100% sure) about 3/4 years old, it was never intended to be on the cover of this magazine. If I had known it was going to be published, I would never have condoned it. I’m upset and angry I was never asked by the photographer/hair salon/anyone if this image could be used for the cover Black Hair. ? I’m so glad I’ve educated myself and surrounded my self with people to teach me what is right and wrong. I constantly am learning and becoming more and more informed. It’s important to come forward and be honest with ourselves about our past mistakes, otherwise we will never learn. Again, I’m truly, deeply sorry to anyone I’ve offended and I hope if nothing else this post can educated others so they don’t make similar mistakes. (also please let me know if I’ve said anything wrong or offensive in this post!!! or anything i can add!!!! i love u all sm and the last thing i want to do is offend or hurt any one, i really hope you don’t all think im a massive twat ????)
Emily was mortified and immediately posted a response in her Insta hoping her fans didn’t think she was a “Massive Twat”. She wrote about her sentiments before she was educated saying: “I didn’t understand that as a white-passing woman I’d be praised for this hair, but if i was a black woman I’d be persecuted. I didn’t understand cultural appropriation.”
“…as a white passing woman I’d be praised for this hair, but if i was a black woman I’d be persecuted.”
The discrepancy highlights a major issue in culture, as POC make their way in the world, and cultural insensitivity rules. We wonder what model Winnie Harlow has to say about this cover, as a woman of color suffering from Vitiligo. Things may not be as black and white as they appear. Would her picture be featured on Blackhair Magazine?
Do you guys find this cover insulting? What would Winnie Harlow say?
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