Atlanta Daily World
The fashion community is in an uproar over Vogue Netherlands’ attempt to pay homage to Black icons in a feature with a White model in Blackface in its May 2013 issue.
The editorial “Heritage Heroes” showcases white, blond model Querelle Jansen as American-born French singer and dancer Josephine Baker and electrifying Jamaican singer and model Grace Jones. Jansen is pictured in the spread with Blackface and a funky, black Afro wig and a cone-shaped high-top hair style in the other photo.
The feature was designed to underscore the contributions of Baker and Jones to the fashion world.
Fashionita.com, a leading fashion blog, said, “A couple of alternative ideas: use a model who already looks something like Grace Jones or Josephine Baker without face paint. Or just, you know, don’t paint a white person’s face Black ever? Why is this even something we have to keep pointing out? European editors and stylists especially, it seems, are really not getting it.”
Blackface is not uncommon even in 2013 in the Netherlands. During the winter holiday a Black slave, or helper, named Zwarte Piet, accompanies Sinterklaas (Santa Claus) on the delivery of treats and presents to the children. Today, White people often dress in Blackface to pose as Zwarte Piet during holiday celebrations.
Blackface has been a recurring issue in many of European fashion publications.
Numéro magazine was recently under fire for its March 2013 issue, placing model Ondria Hardin, 16, in an editorial “African Queen.” Her skin is painted black. The editorial was shot by photographer Sebastian Kim. In 2010, Numéro magazine published a similar editorial with model Constance Jablonski in black and blond Afro wigs alongside a Black toddler.
In 2009, Vogue Paris published an editorial with model Lara Stone dressed in black paint from head to toe. The 14-page spread was styled by then-editor Carine Roitfeld, who left Conde Nast to launch her own publication CR Fashion Book, now in its second year.
by Krishana Davis, Special to the NNPA from the Afro-American Newspaper
(Photo: Vogue Netherlands (Courtesy Photo))
Pop singer Rihanna has stirred up controversy about celebrity use of Instagram and the N-word. The singer recently posted a picture of herself with a young boy on her lap. The photo, posted to Instagram, was tagged with the caption “My lil n***a.”
Rihanna’s caption sparked criticism from her fan base, many of whom used Twitter as an outlet to express their disapproval.
One fan tweeted, “The word is derogatory. If some cultures aren’t allowed to say it, no one should.”
Another said, “So I love the hell out of her but that word I hate.”
The self-proclaimed “good girl gone bad” has made many recent headlines with the racy and provocative photos she posts on the site, including one of her smoking marijuana. But those who work closely with the stars, like Treavion Davenport, a Los Angeles-based PR expert and celebrity publicist, believe that celebrities should proceed with caution when posting images to unfiltered social media like Instagram.
“Unfortunately many celebs get caught up in the moment and the common folk norm of posting thoughts, observations, and candid photos; that they underestimate the potential negative and far reaching impact,” says Davenport.
Instagram, much like any other social media, gained fan interest from the lure of access into celebrities’ private lives. Instagram is a photo-sharing app that posts images instantaneously.
Celebrity publicist and brand strategist April Love agreed with Davenport telling theGrio, “I advise clients that social media can be our best friend one day and our worst enemy the next.” Love has worked with various celebrities such as Monica, Cee-Lo Green and the media personalities from the Real Housewives of Atlanta.
Other stars, like Fantasia Barrino, have been hit with the backlash of posting controversial photos on Instagram.
Last year, the “American Idol” singer caused uproar when she posted anti-gay marriage sentiments on the site. She later backtracked and said that her words were “taken out of context.”
“I think that celebrities have a fine line to walk when it comes to social media,” says Kelley L. Carter, an Emmy Award winning entertainment journalist. “There’s danger there — and we’ve seen it play out many times.”
Thirteen female correctional officers, seven inmates and five others with gang ties have been charged with plotting to smuggle drugs, cellphones and other contraband into Baltimore’s jail and other corrections facilities, federal prosecutors announced Tuesday.
The ring involved sex between inmates and guards that led to four of the officers becoming pregnant, one of them twice, by Tavon White (pictured), leader of a gang called the Black Guerrilla Family, according to an indictment.
The indictment unsealed Tuesday said that White, who is being held at the Baltimore City Detention Center awaiting trial on a charge of attempted murder, once boasted in a wiretapped phone call: “This is my jail …. I make every final call in this jail.”
In at least one case, a corrections officer stood guard outside a closet at the jail so a corrections officer and an inmate could have sex, prosecutors said in court documents. Some of the female officers even tattooed White’s name on their bodies, according to the indictment.
FBI agent Stephen Vogt said White “effectively raised the BGF flag over the Baltimore City Detention Center,” and the indictment brings that flag down.
The indictment claims the gang ran the scheme from inside the detention center and charges gang members and corrections officers with conspiracy, drug possession and distribution and money laundering.
Drugs brought into the prison included marijuana, Oxycodone, Xanax, Klonopin and Vicodin, according to the indictment. The gang was divided into “bubble regimes,” some of which had special functions such as collecting dues. Members were subjected to a code of conduct and sanctioned for breaking the rules through fines, beatings, stabbings and murder, prosecutors added.
BGF has become the dominant gang at the prison complex, where members used the contraband cellphones to arrange drug smuggling and sexual encounters as well as to warn of investigations and order assaults and murders, according to the court documents. One of the 25 charged in the scheme died April 1, one day before the indictment was returned, prosecutors said.
Authorities said imprisoned gang members paid for items, including luxury cars for the corrupt officers, by texting the 14-digit PIN numbers of reloadable prepaid credit cards. The correctional officers were able to avoid contraband screenings by using entrances other than the main entrance where employees are screened, the indictment said.
However, screening policies and procedures at the main entrance were “completely inadequate to prevent smuggling” with female officers concealing contraband in their underwear, hair and internally, according to officials. Corrections officers are also rotated through screening duties, allowing corrupt officers to wait until co-conspirators were assigned to the entrance, the indictment said.
The investigation eventually included a raid by a team that was brought from outside the Baltimore area to prevent inmates from being alerted in advance, officials said.
One of the guards charged, Tiffany Linder, is eight months pregnant with White’s child, authorities reported. A transcript of a wiretap released by the U.S. Attorney’s office shows she let White know of an upcoming raid.
“I just got a message from (Officer Tiffany Linder) saying that they was going to pull a shake down (prison search) tonight. Let me call all these dudes in my phone and let them know,” White said, according to the transcript.
A telephone call by The Associated Press seeking comment from White’s public defender was not immediately returned. Whether Linder was being represented by an attorney could not be determined.
The indictments are the latest in a series of charges brought against correctional officers and inmates in the past several years. Gary D. Maynard, secretary of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said 54 employees have been fired over the past three or four years at the Baltimore City Detention Center.
When asked why all 13 were female, Maynard noted that more than 60 percent of the officers in the system are female, adding that women are more likely not to have criminal records and be able to pass tests needed to qualify. Gang members appear to have targeted officers they felt were vulnerable, he said.
Maynard added that policies were being tightened and internal investigations were continuing.“I think that we will move up the chain of command and people will be held accountable,” Maynard said.
By Associated Press