|Plus Model Magazine's first ever "All Black" issue. Shot by Lucas Pictures|
click here to read it here
When I heard Plus Model Mag was coming out with an all-black issue I was pleasantly surprised. However, I was not surprised when I heard there was some serious backlash and pushback. Growing up, I didn’t see many black women in fashion, especially not in plus size. Then I saw the beautiful Mia Amber in a major advertisement and I couldn't believe my eyes. Here was someone with my skin tone and body shape who looked absolutely stunning and graceful. There was hope!
|A response from Plus Model Magazine's Instagram, informing me of the push back the received for coming our with the "Black Issue"|
The plus-size community is starting to get a lot of recognition. We've asked for better styles, and we got them. We wanted some of our favorite straight sized retailers to expand their sizes, and many have. When we are being discriminated against as a whole, we band together and make our voices heard. So, why is it that when we mention ethnic diversity—black women in particular—the industry gets silent? I have goggled the term, black plus-size models, and the politically correct term, African American plus-size models, and the results are mediocre. You won't see a full page or more than two lines showing black plus-size models. It is truly heart breaking. I know highly qualified models who want to give up because they don't feel these major companies see them as an asset. I know plenty who want to voice their opinion but don't because they feel they will be blacklisted. What is it about skin tone that bothers these major retailers and some consumers? Obviously, we don't want to push black models down everyone's throats, but there needs to be a balance. Body diversity and ethnic diversity should go hand in hand. The fight should be pushed by all races. I am thankful for indie designers like Rue 107 and Nakimuli, as well as major retailers like, Ashley Stewart, and Fashion to Figure, who use all ethnicities in their advertisements.
|Plus Models: Liris Crosse, Monique Robinson, Wyinnetka Aaron, Chearice Vaughn|
Race, is a sensitive subject for many people of color. A lot of us don't want to offend anyone with our views. Or we assume people just don't care. When an issue doesn't effect you personally, it's hard to understand or relate to what's going on. Now, that we have addressed the lack of visible black models in the industry, what's the solution? Madaline Jones and Liris Crosse both state the clients are the ones who make the decisions. They don't request black models, so the person booking models won't send them. Let's change that. I challenge some of these companies to request models of different races and use them in major campaigns and see how your consumers respond to it. I see it helping and not hindering your business. Consumers, write some of your favorite brands and tell them you want to see more ethnic diversity in their campaigns. If all women of shapes and sizes are truly beautiful, show that.