Numéro Magazine Apologizes For White Model In Blackface For “African Queen” Editorial
Numéro Magazine became numero uno on the fashion hitlist when the French publication featured 16-year-old white model Ondria Hardin essentially in Blackface for an editorial titled “African Queen.”
After the backlash against the magazine reached a fever pitch, Numero issued an apology (of sorts) to The Huffington Post, that read:
Some people have declared that they have been offended by the publication in Numéro Magazine n°141 of March 2013, of an editorial realized by the photographer Sebastian Kim called “African Queen”, featuring the American model Ondria Hardin posing as an “African queen,” her skin painted in black. The artistic statement of the photographer Sebastian Kim, author of this editorial, is in line with his previous photographic creations, which insist on the melting pot and the mix of cultures, the exact opposite of any skin color based discrimination. Numéro has always supported the artistic freedom of the talented photographers who work with the magazine to illustrate its pages, and has not took part in the creation process of this editorial.
For its part, Numéro Magazine, which has the utmost respect for this photographer’s creative work, firmly excludes that the latest may have had, at any moment, the intention to hurt readers’ sensitivity, whatever their origin.
Numéro Magazine considers that it has regularly demonstrated its deep attachment to the promotion of different skin-colored models. For instance, the next issue of Numéro for Man on sale on 15th march has the black model Fernando Cabral on the cover page, and the current Russian edition’s cover of our magazine features the black model Naomi Campbell on its cover. This demonstrates the completely inappropriate nature of the accusations made against our magazine, deeply committed to the respect for differences, tolerance and more generally to non-discrimination.
Considering the turmoil caused by this publication, the Management of Numéro Magazine would like to apologize to anyone who may have been offended by this editorial.
Clearly, the management at Numéro had no issue using the photographer as a scapegoat so it was no surprise that Sebastian Kim issued his own statement several hours later.
“I would like to apologize for any misunderstanding around my recent photos for Numero France,” he wrote. “It was never my intention (nor Numero’s) to portray a black woman in this story. Our idea and concept for this fashion shoot was based on ’60s characters of Talitha Getty, Verushka, and Marissa Berenson with middle eastern and Moroccan fashion inspiration. We at no point attempted to portray an African women by painting her skin black. We wanted a tanned and golden skin to be showcased as part of the beauty aesthetic of this shoot.It saddens me that people would interpret this as a mockery of race. I believe that the very unfortunate title ‘African Queen’ (which I was not aware of prior to publication) did a lot to further people’s misconceptions about these images. It was certainly never my intention to mock or offend anyone and I wholeheartedly apologize to anyone who was offended.”
Who do you blame for this clear fashion faux pas?