Friday, March 28, 2008

Me - Black Man, You - Woman!!!!

Ok, I'm sure you guys have seen and heard the talks over this cover and since I'd pretty much echo the sentiments of the article (everything in red), I have nothing else to add except to reverberate the idea of Black Male Athletes taking a personal liking (in the Biblical sense) to white women. I do have a couple of questions at the bottom but first, check out the article.


Vogue announced its April cover starring LeBron James and Gisele Bundchen, the magazine noted with some fanfare that James was the first black man to grace its cover.

But the image is stirring up controversy, with some commentators decrying the photo as perpetuating racial stereotypes. James strikes what some see as a gorilla-like pose, baring his teeth, with one hand dribbling a ball and the other around Bundchen’s tiny waist.
It’s an image some have likened to “King Kong” and Fay Wray.

“It conjures up this idea of a dangerous black man,” said Tamara Walker, 29, of Philadelphia.
Vogue spokesman Patrick O’Connell said the magazine “sought to celebrate two superstars at the top of their game” for the magazine’s annual issue devoted to size and shape.

“We think Lebron James and Gisele Bundchen look beautiful together and we are honored to have them on the cover,” he said.

James told The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer he was pleased with the cover, saying he was “just showing a little emotion.”

But magazine analyst Samir Husni believes the photo was deliberately provocative, adding that it “screams King Kong.” Considering Vogue’s influential history, he said, covers are not something that the magazine does in a rush.

“So when you have a cover that reminds people of King Kong and brings those stereotypes to the front, black man wanting white woman, it’s not innocent,” he said.

In a column at ESPN.com, Jemele Hill called the cover “memorable for all the wrong reasons.” But she said in an interview that the image is not unusual — white athletes are generally portrayed smiling or laughing, while black sports figures are given a “beastly sort of vibe.”

For example, former NBA star Charles Barkley was depicted breaking free of neck and wrist shackles on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Dennis Rodman graced the cover of Rolling Stone with horns poking out of his forehead and his red tongue hanging out.
Images of black male athletes as aggressive and threatening “reinforce the criminalization of black men,”

“I didn’t see any kind of racist overtone to it,” she said. “I still don’t. I think there is such a hypersensitivity to race still in this country.”

“If more people of color worked for Vogue in positions of editorial authority, perhaps someone in the room might have been able to read the image the way so many of us are reading it now, and had the power to do something about it,”
QUESTIONS:
1) What do you think about the hypersensitivity to race thought… do you all think there’s an overreaction to race relations or are most cases valid.
2) When predominantly white corporations produce ads with racial undertones should Black (in this case) opinions be considered?

15 comments:

Mizrepresent said...

FIRST! Hi lady...yes, i have heard talk about the cover, but saw it first on your blog, cuz frankly at first i was just not interested...but reading about the other depictions of our black athletes and listening to their comparison to the "king Kong" theory, i can see where they are coming from and why some folks are angry about. It was a poor choice for a cover i believe, and somebody made a huge mistake, but controversy sales, so i bet they made millions even billions on this issue alone.

Hey watch out for them storms.

Terry said...

Okay, I'm spinning this in a whole other direction. Mostly 'cause I can.

I'm not sure I follow the "Gorilla" theory. I was more inclined to see a powerful Athlete and a helpless Supermodel. But I suppose you could arrive at the King Kong association. I didn't however.

But what I did see almost automatically was the dismissal of African-American women. For years now Athletes have been seen all around town with their White and Hispanic girlfriends and wives, and rarely do the media show you a Black woman. It's as if the media has forgotten Black woman even exist.

Take for instance Venus Williams. One of the best known Black Women in the world, not to mention an athlete. Ever seen a picture of her and her Boyfriend? I'm willing to bet not outside the Tennis world you haven't.

My guess is that's because her Boyfriend is Hank Kuehne, a professional golfer, who just happens to be White.

My guess is, you won't see them on the cover of a magazine. The door apparently doesn't swing both ways.

JustMeWriting said...

TERRY, I THINK I LOVE YOU...LOL. That's was EXACTLY my first thought. I'm speechless thank you for speaking my mind oh-so eloquently.

anonymousnupe said...

Yep, I do believe we (colored folks) can be too sensitive to potential race issues. But I also think that the white establishment finds that a convenient defense and excuse when they execute something like this.

I do think the magazine is somewhat at fault and should have taken a much more progressive approach to this shoot. But it ain't all their fault. My questions would be 1. Whether Lebron's agent got him right of refusal on which shots would be used; 2. Whether somebody behind the camera or with the magazine instructed Lebron to "go ape," or something like that (or whether Bron struck this pose of his own volition).

And of course our opinions should be considered. But why should Vogue care? I wonder what their percentage of black readership is? They're probably not so concerned about how we feel because 1. We don't subscribe to Vogue, and 2. Black companies don't advertise in the magazine.

But I think most of the burden in this case falls back on black folks. Bron should have been advised--or "handled"--better. Black folks in general should protest when we are portrayed as pimps, hos, killers, etc. on or in ANY magazine, espcially Source and that other garbage that purports to have its thumb on the black pulse.

Why wouldn't Vogue feel like it could get away with this? We downgrade ourselves to a much, much greater degree every day! Their point is, "Uh, what's the big deal?"

When's the last time we collectively did something substantive about the use of NIGGER by our people?

We got much bigger fish, y'all. We can't step to Vogue until we step to ourselves.

Still_Pocahontaz said...

We got much bigger fish, y'all. We can't step to Vogue until we step to ourselves

I concur with that comment.

If I was in the business of picking a part every single thing I saw with a racial insult I'd be on an emotional burn out. How many of us purchase this magazine...I mean really

Good Post

JustMeWriting said...

NUPE... you ain't said nothing but a word (LOL). I'm sorry, did I leave out the part where Lb said - "he was pleased with the cover, saying he was "just showing a little emotion."

So, you ab-so-loot-ly right...the problem starts and ends with US - if we LIKE it...they'll LOVE it.

GC said...

OMG a post!

Ms. Bundchen doesn't look too upset with the roaring giant. She has a big smile on.
I don't feel any way about to tell you the honest truth.
Basketball is an intense sport; Mr. James has a ball bouncing back into his hand. I really don't see the King Kong angle.
And yes, a whole heck of a lot of black athletes marry white women who seem to have no problem with what the public thinks.
Are people offended because they feel someone has been put down or are they offended because it speaks the truth all too pithily?
Stereotypes don't come from nowhere.

Ticia said...

Okay---

1. I don't like the cover..just for what it is...
2. I don't like the way it looks---

THEN---
I just don't like the black man--holding the skinny white woman who looks like she needs to be saved....

But.. what do I know!

anonymousnupe said...

Naw, I saw that part, JMW. That's why I blame his handlers. Someone with keener insight shoulda been pullin' homey's coattail: "Man, Bron, take a step back and really look at the imagery, brah."

And I noticed the ladies using the word "skinny" quite a bit. Would it have been better is she was more rotund?

JMW, I miss you!

DJ Black Adam said...

As a Black Man I find the cover offensive, it is King Kong simple and plain.

CapCity said...

hey JMW - i just wanna holla a sistah cuz i don't get to like i ustah;-).

Eb the Celeb said...

I think the issue is that people dont care. I didnt see any racial undertone in the picture at all until I just read what Jemelle Hill wrote above. I can relate to her opinion moreso than any of the others I have read since the cover was released. I think we are still sensitive because we know that we still are not equal. On paper it says we are, but in actually, we are still being oppressed. By ourselves and by other races. Working in sports I will still never make as much a a white male that has the same position as me even though I might do the job 10 times better. in big corporations there will always be that problem. The people in charge and making decisions dont look like us in most situations. If they really cared they would have focus groups for these types of things to get the perception of the consumer before it was released to the public.

JustMeWriting said...

EB. You hit the nail on the head for me... FOCUS GROUPS would be the way to go, but we THE PEOPLE (lol) will have to lead them to that well.

Thanks guys...I saw the magazine at Target yesterday...I really wonder what most white people think when they see it.

JustMeWriting said...

OH.... how could I've forgotten...NUPE, I've missed you too shuga! (big kisses) LOL!

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