On the left is an image from Vogue’s Haute Mess edi­to­r­i­al. On the right is the pho­to that inspired it.

By LJ Knight of YeahSheSaidIt.com

Sis­tas, have you ever been in a depart­ment store, or maybe even at your place of work and have some­one Cau­casian approach you and com­pli­ment you on your hair, or even your unique clothes? It starts with maybe a few short glances and then it pro­gress­es into full blown lengthy stares every time you pass by them or enter a room. It is as if they are dying to approach you and dis­cuss what­ev­er it is about you that they admire but have no idea how to do so with­out seem­ing…. Racist. I mean you can lit­er­al­ly feel their eyes fol­low you from one part of the room to the next as if they are burn­ing on the inside with curios­i­ty.

Stop and reflect on that moment that almost every Black woman has expe­ri­enced at least once in her life­time, and con­sid­er the most recent online Vogue Mag­a­zine spread titled “Haute Mess”. Being an obvi­ous play on the slang term “hot mess”; Vogue’s Haute Mess fea­tured White women styl­ized with col­or­ful hair, col­or­ful long acrylic fin­ger nails, hair­styles that were decked out with weave galore, hair buns with the Oreo slo­gan spray paint­ed in it. There were also big hoop ear­rings, two fin­ger rings and over done make up that looked more campy than chic. My favorite was the Colt 45 can that one mod­el was hold­ing. I don’t know about you but that  made the big­ot cake a tad bit sweet­er for me.

My prob­lem with images like these has and always will be the same. The wise old debate as to are they laugh­ing with us or at us? In oth­er words, is this com­ing from a place of great affec­tion for a cer­tain cul­ture and their spe­cif­ic fash­ion? Or is this Vogue’s mag­a­zine way of mock­ing Black women? Maybe it is a lit­tle bit of both as they also recent­ly did a shoot for Vogue Italia where they had sis­tas with nat­ur­al hair. Which is a step for­ward but they still seem to lack con­sis­ten­cy in how they por­tray peo­ple of col­or over­all.

Let’s start with Vogue’s past. Vogue mag­a­zine does not have a lengthy rep­u­ta­tion with see­ing women of col­or as objects of beau­ty. In fact, it was only in the recent years that they began to diver­si­fy the eth­nic­i­ty and look of their mod­els to keep up with the ever chang­ing times. Let’s face it, before that Vogue mag­a­zine couldn’t care less about what was going on in a Black women’s world. They damn sure were not con­cerned with  what­ev­er fash­ion Black women were rock­ing. To put it in slang terms- Vogue mag­a­zine was not check­ing for the sis­tas. So what has changed?

Well to put it plain­ly- A lot. Appar­ent­ly any­thing urbanesque is cool and if you are Black then you auto­mat­i­cal­ly earn ten “swag” points from the start. While this may appear to be a step in the right direc­tion to some it still leaves me with some con­cerns. Name­ly the one I men­tioned ear­li­er is on the top of the list. Are they tru­ly ador­ing our sense of fash­ion and edgy style or are they mock­ing us and this is their way of dis­play­ing how fool­ish we appear to them with­out direct­ly say­ing it to our face.

While one can nev­er tru­ly know the inner work­ings of high pow­ered fash­ion mag­a­zines and the going ons behind closed doors, we can sure­ly guess. You see, this is not Vogue’s first run in with walk­ing a hair fine line between offer­ing acco­lades and pay­ing trib­ute to Black women and being offen­sive and degrad­ing towards Black women and view­ing us as caricatures.The very last note­wor­thy offense was the Black face spread they did which did not sit well with read­ers who all won­dered the same thing. Why the Black face? What was the point in con­junc­tion with the theme behind the fash­ion and the clothes them­selves? The clothes were not from an African motif. The mod­els were not women of col­or. So, why paint their faces Black oth­er than to incite con­tro­ver­sy and whis­pers at the expense of play­ing around in the dirty back­yard of America’s his­to­ry with black face and what it TRULY meant for Amer­i­ca not so many years ago.

This is where Vogue los­es my co-sign. They are try­ing to des­per­ate­ly as of late to put out the image that they want to touch a wider audi­ence and that they want to embrace the likes of women of every cul­ture, back­ground, and eth­nic­i­ty. Yet they con­tin­ue to do so insult­ing­ly. You want to have mod­els with Black faces then hire some damn mod­els that actu­al­ly have Black faces. You want to cel­e­brate the his­to­ry of urban fash­ion from the 80’s, 90’s and so on then use minor­i­ty women to high­light this time in fash­ion. Lakeshia and Mashon­da were the ones rock­ing that breed of fash­ion at the time and not Susie or Lau­ra. Even if they attempt­ed to do so, we taught them how to make it look fresh. That is a fact and not an opin­ion dears.

While I’m on the sub­ject allow me to vent a pinch. Why is it that when­ev­er some­one White par­takes in some­thing that was tra­di­tion­al­ly an African Amer­i­can fea­ture or expe­ri­ence, it sud­den­ly becomes sexy, hot, unique, attrac­tive, and any oth­er word that is an syn­onym for being a “pos­i­tive” response? It upsets me to no end when I see this hap­pen repeat­ed­ly in media, movies, TV, music, and now fash­ion. I have no prob­lem with any­one giv­ing props to Black women for being beau­ti­ful, unique, and trend­set­ters (We are amaz­ing) and want­i­ng to emu­late us but give cred­it where it is due first before you either take bits and pieces of what­ev­er appeal­ing fac­tors they find in our cul­ture or attempt to mim­ic it but do so with a sly snick­er or grin on their face while mak­ing the recre­ation itself clown- like. As if to say, you see- this is how fool­ish you look to us. Be clear and con­cise in your stance Vogue. Because right now you imi­tate Black women while also diss­ing us. Which is it Vogue?

Below are images from the Haute Mess edi­to­r­i­al jux­ta­posed with real images of black women. The full Vogue spread is here. Ladies, what are your thoughts on this?

Deemed “the voice of the urban sophis­ti­cate woman”, LJ Knight’s style of unabashed, in your face tough love res­onates with the every­woman like few else can because she doesn’t talk down from a holi­er than thou soapbox–she’s lived through the very same expe­ri­ences her expo­nen­tial­ly grow­ing audi­ence has. You can find more of LJ Knight’s in your face opin­ions at YeahSheSaidIt.com.

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noel­liste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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251 Comments on "Vogue’s Haute Mess Editorial: A Not-So-Subtle Swipe at Black Women"

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I Kissed my teeth so hard when i saw this For all you guys say­ing that this is a seg­ment of black soci­ety, we dif­fer­en­ti­ate between our­selves but often main­stream white media does not. To them ALL black peo­ple are the same. we aren’t seen as indi­vid­u­als with dif­fer­ent cul­tures and morals or even style just anoth­er black woman and all the stereo­types attached to black women are being attached to you. so when they laugh at these stereo­typed women they’re laugh­ing at YOU. yes YOU, no mat­ter what school you went to or how well you speak they have stereo­typed… Read more »
OMG YESSSS!!! To you, sam and a few oth­ers, I thought I was the only one giv­ing the side eye to some com­ments. Whether or not these images depict you or not peo­ple will look at it as black cul­ture. But my grand­fa­ther always said that the major­i­ty of us are on autopi­lot and have our heads in the sand, we aren’t so far removed that peo­ple see us and take us on an indi­vid­ual basis because we are still fight­ing for diver­si­ty in the media,fashion,etc. Get real they are laugh­ing at us whether we rep­re­sent these images or not.… Read more »

I com­plete­ly agree with this. Well said. That’s exact­ly how I feel as well. I know the dif­fer­ence but a lot of non-black peo­ple out there do not so they’re gonna look at those images and asso­ciate them with you even though you don’t leave your house look­ing any­thing like that.

For all you guys say­ing that this is a seg­ment of black soci­ety, we dif­fer­en­ti­ate between our­selves but often main­stream white media does not. To them ALL black peo­ple are the same. we aren’t seen as indi­vid­u­als with dif­fer­ent cul­tures and morals or even style just anoth­er black woman and all the stereo­types attached to black women are being attached to you. so when they laugh at these stereo­typed women they’re laugh­ing at YOU. yes YOU, no mat­ter what school you went to or how well you speak they have stereo­typed you and they’re ridi­cul­ing you. you we aren’t in a… Read more »

But the thing is if they are laugh­ing at me so what?? I just can’t deal with all these jabs and fight them off, I have bet­ter things to do than wor­ry about what Vogue Italia or any­one thinks. I also think it’s VERY hyp­o­crit­i­cal of us to assume that ALL white peo­ple think this way… reverse racism 101.

I agree reverse racism 101. Black peo­ple­make fun of oth­er races (think Dave Chap­pelle) but when the tables are turned on us, we get bent out of shape. It wasn’t fun­ny when Don Imus said “Nap­py Head­ed Hos” but when DL Hugh­ley adds to that they were also ugly, it’s a joke and every­one laughs. No thank you. The site they homage to was start­ed by a black per­son but it’s fun­ny there. Vogue redoes it but now it’s offen­sive. It’s called being a hyp­o­crit­ic. And to the per­son that said its ok to laugh at your sis­ter but strangers… Read more »

*It was a fig­ure of speech BTW, but that wasn’t the point I was mak­ing.
I’d rather some­one say how they felt to my face than do it cow­ard­ly any day, but it’s com­plet­ly dif­fer­ent to be bla­tant­ly mocked out of igno­rance than to joke, clown or what have you, with peo­ple who are from you ‘OWN’ cir­cle. But to agree with one point you made, yes, ‘WE’ should be the ones enlight­en ‘OUR’ peo­ple when they are off track. #Thati­sall


there’s no such thing as reverse racism because black peo­ple aren’t in a posi­tion of pow­er with­in the glob­al soci­ety to excer­cise pre­du­jiced. and until there are more pos­i­tive images and rep­re­sen­ta­tions of the black women in the glob­al com­mu­ni­ty i will con­tin­ue to be hyper­sen­si­tive and over­ly crit­i­cal.


but i was gen­er­al­is­ing with a very broad brush


which is wrong






Ok, these images were pub­lished by Vogue Italia, so how to ppl know that they were not meant to offend? Also, how do ppl know that this is just an attack on “ghet­to” cul­ture and not an attack on Black women? Before you answer ask your: how much do I know about Ital­ian cul­ture? Have I ever even BEEN TO ITALY? 

p.s. I have LIVED in Italy…interested to hear the respons­es from ppl cap­ing for VOGUE ITALIA though.


exact­ly, and why should these women be mocked for wear­ing their hair/nails how they please? If Lady Gaga did it they’d say she was cre­ative and inno­v­a­tive.




Sigh. I am more dis­ap­point­ed in some of the com­ments than I am (dis­ap­point­ed) with the tacky Vogue spread. (I guess pro­gres­sive Black con­scious­ness­es are out of style.)

Yes, it was a jab at Black women. Why? Because pop cul­ture does not sep­a­rate “nor­mal” Black cul­ture from hood/“ghetto” cul­ture. If it did, myself and many oth­er young, edu­cat­ed, well-employed Black ppl would not be viewed as the “excep­tion to the rule” of what Black­ness is. 

Sigh. But, no. Let’s chuck­le along. We wouldn’t want to look “over­sen­si­tive”. Heav­ens no!


Total­ly agree with you Ogo :)


I hear ya Ogo!

I per­son­al­ly think when black women do those things (lace fronts, neon hair, and ridicu­lous­ly long bright­ly col­ored nails, basi­cal­ly “hood fab­u­lous”) it looks hor­ri­ble. There is noth­ing cul­tur­al about being ghet­to. When you look a hot mess, you look a hot mess peri­od. Fur­ther more you leave your­self open to ridicule whether your skin is black, white, yel­low or blue. Black folk poke fun at white folk all the time. And the sec­ond some­one white says some­thing it’s a great debate. Whether the pho­tos where racial­ly pow­ered doesn’t even mat­ter because you shouldn’t have looked a “Haute Mess” to… Read more »

My opin­ion of these looks is they are igno­rant whether it’s black or white sport­ing these looks. I cringe when­ev­er I see peo­ple in the street who look like this. I don’t think it’s a swipe at black peo­ple and then again it maybe it is. But I think the less atten­tion we pro­vide to igno­rance then it will not have any rel­e­vance. Just my two cents.


It can be offen­sive to some.. but we need to stop fuel­ing the flame. Ive seen too many posts deal­ing with race on this site.. its dis­ap­point­ing espe­cial­ly when you get to the com­ments of so many out­raged black women : / lets just talk about hair­rrr lol i miss the old site!

R. Kahendi
I think that this arti­cle leans too much on the side of gen­er­al­iza­tion. Obvi­ous­ly, there are instances when the media por­trays black women’s ideas of style/ fash­ion neg­a­tive­ly. But there are also instances when they are admired as creative/ orig­i­nal. Where on earth did you get the idea that ideas only become hip, cool or sexy when they are adopt­ed by white peo­ple? Black urban cul­ture does tend to be looked upon as hip, cool or sexy. That is why it has had such an influ­ence on Amer­i­can aes­thet­ics and on glob­al aes­thet­ics. And, frankly speak­ing, that is how the… Read more »
They got they ide­al that is it becomes cool or sexy from years of steal­ing our style. One exam­ple, rock ‘n roll was first black music but it didn’t become pop­u­lar until peo­ple like Elvis and the Bee­tles took it. It’s not all cre­ative forums are stolen, but there are doc­u­ment­ed cas­es where the major­i­ty steals it from the minor­i­ty and claims it as their own. one thing I think peo­ple (not speak­ing of you directly)forget is that we can’t deny the past. Peo­ple have a habit of judg­ing a per­son first with their eyes and let’s face it, it’s human… Read more »

It might not be a jab at ‘YOU’ per­son­al­ly but it is a jab. Just like if my sis­ter has a wierd style of dress, I can tease and make fun because we fam­i­ly, but I’ll be damned if some­one ‘OUTSIDE’ the fam­i­ly threw a diss or insult! Yes, this is how the WORLD will see US. Vogue is huge world­wide. Wake up peo­ple.

Love the name and the sign off =) LOL!  Yup, so many of us col­ored folks have swal­lowed and enjoyed the taste of clas­sism that it becomes so easy to say, “It’s not me they are talk­ing about…I’m not like those black peo­ple”. This field/house men­tal­i­ty has been used quite suc­cess­ful­ly by us and by the major­i­ty pop­u­la­tion (also called the “rul­ing class”) to keep social, intel­lec­tu­al, and finan­cial resources out of our most des­per­ate com­mu­ni­ties and con­tin­ues to effec­tive­ly pull the wool over many of our eyes. Maybe it’s my age, but I do not sub­scribe to the lie that we… Read more »

I agree +1000!!!


BTW, for those of you who are inter­est­ed in the nascent rise of “ghet­to cul­ture” and black “mid­dle-class or upper-class cul­ture”, for a lack of a bet­ter word, please check out any­thing writ­ten about the two major migra­tions up North and the con­vict lease sys­tem (which was slave based labor that wasn’t out­lawed until the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry, some schol­ars say mid-20th c.)In fact, for easy read­ing, “The Auto­bi­og­ra­phy of Mal­com X” pro­vides some insight as well. Ok. Enough of this. Ciao ladies.

The spread is inspired by the trends of a small minor­i­ty of black females. I do not con­sid­er this ‘black style’ as nei­ther I nor my family/friends dress like this and I feel that the looks are more ridicu­lous than styl­ish. Despite the fact that I do not asso­ciate myself with these women, I am offend­ed. Why? -The images appear to be a par­o­dy rather than a burst of cre­ativ­i­ty. Just look at the set­tings they chose for the shoots. In my opin­ion, ‘Haute mess’ is very tacky. -The looks are inspired by black women yet the major­i­ty of the mod­els… Read more »

I just want to point out Vogue Ital­ian had an a black issue a few years ago. It was done beau­ti­ful­ly, taste­ful­ly, and it was very classy. The edi­tion also had black mod­els and not black celebri­ties. That is more than any oth­er issue of Vogue. Italy isn’t a very PC coun­try (I’ve been there) and they take jabs and not only them­selves but oth­er eth­nic­i­ties and races. It’s not to be tak­en per­son­al­ly. It is just their cul­ture.

R. Kahendi
I have to ask whether some of you guys have actu­al­ly looked at what is typ­i­cal­ly worn on fash­ion run­ways. It is often cloth­ing that nobody in the main­stream would wear in real life. “Fash­ion” is, in that sense, exact­ly what some of these black women are doing with their hair or cloth­ing. It is unique, it is crazy, it is neu­rot­ic. And those could all be good things or bad things, depend­ing on your per­spec­tive. In the world of art and cre­ativ­i­ty, neu­rot­ic ideas are the ones that are admired, and neu­rot­ic fash­ion trends like Ghet­to Fab are con­sid­ered… Read more »
Heya R. Kahen­di I under­stand your points. Of course we have all seen the styles on the run­way but that is anoth­er (albeit relat­ed) con­text. I have been care­ful to state my points in a way that it is clear I am express­ing an opin­ion. Dif­fer­ent peo­ple have dif­fer­ent views on cre­ativ­i­ty. I do not like the styles but that was not the rea­son I con­tributed to the dis­cus­sion. I believe that the foun­da­tions and exe­cu­tion of the edi­to­r­i­al are poor. Con­tro­ver­sy is often thought to be a great thing in the fash­ion world, but if it could pos­si­bly be… Read more »

Did any­body but me notice it was ITALIAN VOGUE that did this arti­cle? Their ideas are a bit dif­fer­ent from what we Amer­i­cans call “PC”. No where did it say Hey look at thee black folks. I think it was fun­ny and quite entertaining,especially because if i saw any of these styles out in pub­lic i would total­ly make fun of them.


I have no idea what Abi is talk­ing about or what wear­ing twix wrap­pers in your hair has to do with Michelle Oba­ma, or any­thing to do with the “thug” image—which went out in the mid nineties. Where is your head? Wow. Talk about stereo­typ­ing.


Can we not agree that this is a seg­ment of Black Amer­i­cans? Not to men­tion a seg­ment that is ridiculed on many many sites. This is not a swipe at black style, but a very spe­cif­ic seg­ment. Does it reflect the diver­si­ty of styles? No, but nei­ther does the authors out­rage or iden­ti­fy­ing this as black style.

Wow, well all I thought look­ing at the pic­tures was,  ‘white peo­ple laugh­ing at and mock­ing black peo­ple again’. I’m from the UK and in the 60s and 70s there were actu­al­ly shows on TV were white peo­ple would wear black face and act out and say crazy, stu­pid, “trib­al” things like eat­ing cat food and hav­ing pri­mate lev­el intel­li­gence. But “sticks and stones”, “stop being over­sen­si­tive”. I’m so grate­ful peo­ple did get angry and do some­thing or I, hav­ing been born in the 90s, would’ve grown up watch­ing that and God knows how many oth­er gen­er­a­tions. Look at how many white… Read more »

I agree with every­thing you said. This is anoth­er exam­ple of the media’s one sided stereo­typ­i­cal por­tray­al of black peo­ple


@ Abi- I agree with EVERYTHING you’ve writ­ten.

I total­ly agree with every­thing you stat­ed. Most whites can’t sep­a­rate the ‘Laquisha’ from ‘Michelle O.’. I think that is the biggest con­cern. Most of the time this is due to igno­rance and iso­la­tion. I thought the author brought up a valid ques­tion. Now, can I say this spread is mock­ing us? No! The rea­son is because fash­ion has always been crazy and the lack of cre­ativ­i­ty may have pushed them to steal from those who are try­ing to be more cre­ative. I get upset just like you when it turns into STEREOTYPES. Now, with the avail­abil­i­ty of the inter­net… Read more »

@ Shug: “Right or wrong, igno­rance of the major­i­ty will pre­vail, if peo­ple don’t raise oppo­si­tion.” 100% TRUE.


I think the writer is basi­cal­ly over react­ing. I think if we look for neg­a­tiv­i­ti­ty we are bound to find it in almost any­thing around us.

Its impor­tant for us black peo­ple to be hap­py with who we are, to be com­fort­able in our own skins/hair and accept our­selves as we are. Then we shall sim­ply mind our own busi­ness and not be both­ered by what oth­er peo­ple think, say or even write about us.

For­get about vogue and what­ev­er mes­sage they are send­ing to whoever,love and accept your­self, full­stop!

Writ­ten by a Black Woman in South­ern Africa

The Natural Haven

I agree with you Rosi­na. I have to high­light this state­ment

Its impor­tant for us black peo­ple to be hap­py with who we are, to be com­fort­able in our own skins/hair and accept our­selves as we are. Then we shall sim­ply mind our own busi­ness and not be both­ered by what oth­er peo­ple think, say or even write about us.


this is a fan­ta­sy.

there is not group on earth that would go along with that.

The Natural Haven

Group think­ing is a real human prob­lem. Every indi­vid­ual needs to find val­ues they like and reject those they don’t, it is a choice to believe what oth­ers tell you about your­self and any group you choose to affil­i­ate with. You coul choose to believe dif­fer­ent­ly and it will have a total­ly dif­fer­ent impact on how you car­ry your­self in life.

I’m sor­ry but this isn’t a stab at all black women. None of those ghet­to ass pic­ture rep­re­sent me and Vouge has every right to make fun of it. All of those pic­tures are ridicu­lous and a dis­grace. Just because vouge is pre­dom­i­nate­ly white its racist and appalling but as soon as some­one like me, a black girl, made fun of those ridicu­lous choic­es its fun­ny and true. A hot mess is a hot mess, no mat­ter who its point­ed out to or by. Just like we say white girls with dreads and hill­bil­lies glo­ri­fy­ing miss­ing teeth and bad hygiene… Read more »

real­ly…? no.…. Blown way out of pro­por­tion. The whole thing was pret­ty cool, actu­al­ly, and it def­i­nite­ly wasn’t meant to offend any­one. The spread was titled “Haute Mess” for a reason…it’s nobody’s fault that these women caught on cam­era looked kin­da strange. But Vogue made it cool. I’d nev­er even seen some of these. And the oth­er ones.…you could also eas­i­ly say they were tak­ing shots at Asian styles as well, or pop cul­ture. Real­ly not meant to offend, at all..


How do you know that it was “real­ly not meant to offend, at all”? Are you on the pro­duc­tion team? Also, offense is like com­mu­ni­ca­tion. It is not mea­sured by the trans­mit­ter (Per­son A), but by the trans­mit­ted to (Per­son B).

suzette tobias
to be hon­est i did not read the entire arti­cle but i got the gist ‚i could not care less about vogue how­ev­er ‚let’s be real­is­tic the very long mul­ti colour fake nails the over done make up two shades maybe three too light ‚the five colour hair don’ts and the five inch long acrilyc toes, is it any won­der peo­ple laugh at us come on now be hon­est .some of us call each oth­er niger which every one knows is a deroga­to­ry word but we do it any way anoth­er race calls us the same word and we get… Read more »

This was done by *Vogue Italia*, not Vogue “Amer­i­ca”, so this has noth­ing to do with black amer­i­ca. Vogue per­haps should apol­o­gize on behalf of it, but per­haps Vogue Italia does not under­stand cer­tain aspects in Amer­i­ca.… Hey, it’s racist either way, but some coun­tries are more igno­rant about it and need to be schooled. So those com­plain­ing about Amer­i­can issues and such, it’s an Ital­ian mag­a­zine not get­ting cer­tain sub­tleties about Amer­i­can cul­tures. Some­one needs to bring this to their atten­tion rather than com­plain­ing and blam­ing the entire Vogue enter­prise for it.


Real­ly it doesn’t offend me because I couldn’t care less about what vogue thinks of me.

And this is why Racism per­sists. Black Amer­i­ca we have big­ger con­cerns with­in our­selves. If white peo­ple thought this was tacky they would fuck­ing tell you. Cant you take the recog­ni­tion? With min­strels like Nic­ki Minaj parad­ing around for the enter­tain­ment of the peo­ple who write these arti­cles how could you be so sur­prised and offend­ed by a com­men­tary on out­ra­geous hair trends inspired by African amer­i­can women espe­cial­ly since their plat­form in “Pop­u­lar” music is so influ­en­tial to all races? Dont be so para­noid, igno­rant, and small mind­ed to assume white peo­ple are always mock­ing the things you appar­ent­ly… Read more »
Accus­ing some­one with an opin­ion of being “over­sen­si­tive” is the one-word cop-out of the decade! You know what “over­sen­si­tive” is? Overused, that’s what! And Insen­si­tive too! I appre­ci­ate the writer’s opin­ion and per­son­al obser­va­tions. I think in the dom­i­nant cul­ture there has always been a love/hate rela­tion­ship with both the hot and the hot-mess aspects of black cul­ture. I think the spread is fun­ny, because it’s so out­ra­geous & over-the-top. I don’t think it’s racist. I’d hate to have to go into a court room, for exam­ple, and argue that the spread is an insult to black cul­ture. In oth­er words, what… Read more »

Ok sor­ry, but these images ARE a hot mess! I dis­like the same things! It does make me a lit­tle upset that white peo­ple are pick­ing at them though. I can’t say “us” because none of this rep­re­sents ME. But if it’s a mess, it’s a mess… Mixed emo­tions on this one


Ikr! Its a screwed deci­sion to pick on this one!


“While I’m on the sub­ject allow me to vent a pinch. Why is it that when­ev­er some­one White par­takes in some­thing that was tra­di­tion­al­ly an African Amer­i­can fea­ture or expe­ri­ence, it sud­den­ly becomes sexy, hot, unique, attrac­tive, and any oth­er word that is an syn­onym for being a “pos­i­tive” response?”

This is some­thin Ive been ask­ing since I start­ed grade school, & will con­tin­ue to ask as a 22-year-old & beyond. All we can do is pray that this stu­pid­i­ty comes to an end tho


I feel like they did this to get peo­ple talk­ing. They always pull some ish like this & then issue a half ass apol­o­gy. What­ev­er we do is always ugly on us & gor­geous on them; big lips, curvy bod­ies, hair col­ors, afros, the list goes on. This is infu­ri­at­ing. Peo­ple only want to see peo­ple of col­or in one way, fool­ish.

If that is all you focus on and pin­point on than that is what you will get. This was on a cul­ture as a whole. Which, is com­posed of all races. I think the peo­ple that are offend­ed by it have it in their own mind that this is who the black cul­ture is and fool­ish­ly fail to real­ize this is a whole pop­u­la­tion instead of just one race. And fur­ther more, this was vogue italia, maybe think that in oth­er coun­tries, since this cul­ture is one in which draws more atten­tion i.e Nic­ki Minaj and Lady Gaga this is… Read more »

ITA! They want attn!



Rachel B

i found this arti­cle to be fun­ny and not sur­pris­ing. i see this all the time around the area i live and it some­what nor­mal to see cuz ive been see­ing it so much, some might be for hair show or the show­cas­ing the tal­ent the hair­styl­ist has. either way this was fun­ny i did­nt find it offen­sive because ppl do stu­pid things if you put your­self out there you’ll get either pos­i­tive or neg­a­tive out­comes…

Alesia White

Per­haps they are try­ing to reach the black pop­u­la­tion and so it is an attempt to show they care.


O_o are you for real?

Meena Yusuf

I am not offend­ed by this in the slight­est. Why? Because I have noth­ing (oth­er than pig­men­ta­tion) in com­mon with the women who inspired this edi­to­r­i­al. The edi­to­r­i­al says more about “rachet­ness” than it says about me. I don’t think this is a “tra­di­tion­al African Amer­i­can expe­ri­ence or fea­ture”, I think this is only rep­re­sen­ta­tive of one small sub­set of the Dias­po­ra. To imply that is edi­to­r­i­al is a “swipe” at ALL Black women is essen­tial­ism — the Black expe­ri­ence is vast and wide; and the rachet expe­ri­ence is cer­tain­ly not mine. *no shade*


well said

“..are they laugh­ing at us or with us?..” seri­ous­ly you peo­ple need to stop being over­sen­si­tive. “They” are human beings, “us” are human beings “They” are amer­i­cans, “us” are amer­i­cans. Seri­ous­ly this is a new year, when the hell will we stop this racial divi­sion. This post was obvi­ous­ly writ­ten to stir up con­tro­ver­sy between white media and black media, writ­ten from a sub­jec­tive view and “ladies, what are your thoughts?”-actually means, “ladies, cant believe they wrote this about us, it makes me angry, I know your on my side, so send the com­ments and prove me right..” So any­way, my point… Read more »
This was NOT a swipe at Black women at all. The orig­i­nal pic is ugly and ghet­to as Hell. WTF is up with her hair­line? I would’ve writ­ten the arti­cle if I worked for Vogue, too. I see women in gen­er­al mis­us­ing fake hair and acces­sories all the time. Should I be offend­ed that the examp­ple is a black woman? It’s a good exam­ple. I am a Black woman and have nev­er looked like that and will NEVER look like that. I’m so tired of Black peo­ple scream­ing racism EVERY SINGLE TIME a black per­son is right­ful­ly rec­og­nized for any­thing… Read more »
To be quite hon­est I would NEVER EVER wear any of the styles of the women in these pho­tos, and some are a HOT MESS, in my per­son­al opin­ion of course, but to that I say to each her own.  I will say, that I do grow tired of ALWAYS and I do mean always see­ing the mock­ing of black cul­ture. For all the women that bring up the point that it’s 2012 and we need to come off the “racist” kick I say just like in human nature a cer­tain age does not deter­min whether that per­son is mature or… Read more »

I think I under­stand the over­all point that you are mak­ing. Despite racism we still have to cri­tique the good and bad about our­selves. I believe that blacks should acknowl­edge that racism makes it more chal­leng­ing to be self-reflec­tive (with­in a group con­text). On one hand, the images are a hot mess and there are black peo­ple who are being rep­re­sent­ed. On the oth­er hand, are non-black “hot mess­es” images pre­sent­ed in a high fash­ion mag­a­zine like Vogue? Aldo are the “worst” rep­re­sen­ta­tion of non-black groups dis­played in high fash­ion mag­a­zines?




Just my opinion…but if any­thing, this is a swipe at hood peo­ple, not black peo­ple. Also, I see that a lot of the cor­re­spond­ing pics are from nowaygirl.com, which is basi­cal­ly a site show­cas­ing and mak­ing fun of peo­ple. So it’s okay for us to gig­gle about the site and pics but oth­er peo­ple can’t? I think that the pic­tures are creepy if any­thing, but I did like the one with the cup­cakes on top.


you have to real­ize that the influ­ences that both of these pub­li­ca­tions have. noway­girl does not have the audi­ence nor the influ­ence that vouge has. Peo­ple see these images on such an influ­en­tial mag­a­zine and if they do not know any bet­ter can take these images as truth. Being an old­er sis­ter of two girls this is not what I want the world to think defines a black woman as my lit­tle sis­ters grown up because its not what they are.


Yeah, but this “influ­en­tial mag­a­zine” has also fea­tured women like Lady Oba­ma, Bey­once, Iman, Tyra Banks, etc,etc,etc. In fact, you see more ref­er­ence to Black women of that stature in Vogue and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions of rel­e­vance than any­thing else. And then take into account all of the Black women you see on a dai­ly basis in per­son! I high­ly doubt that peo­ple will see these images and think “OMG I didn’t know Black women like to wear can­dy wrap­pers in their hair!”

“has also fea­tured women like Lady Oba­ma, Bey­once, Iman, Tyra Banks, etc,etc,etc” MY RESPONSE That’s my point, that there are many pos­i­tive Black women as well as pos­i­tive images of Black women out there, and if some­one choos­es to see only the neg­a­tive, I will not go out of my way to prove any­thing to them.  “I high­ly doubt that peo­ple will see these images and think “OMG I didn’t know Black women like to wear can­dy wrap­pers in their hair!” MY RESPONSE I didn’t say that they would think that, I’m say­ing I could care less if they did. Like we… Read more »
I under­stand what you’re say­ing. How­ev­er, I refuse to live my life wor­ry­ing about how ppl see me, regard­less of race. Just like they see hoodrats they see Black women who are not, like Michelle Oba­ma, Oprah, Bey­once, and Dr. Jemi­son. My point is that ppl see who and what they want to see, and are well aware that all Black women do not fit this stereo­type. We have made too many strides and con­tri­bu­tions to soci­ety (many which we have rcvd cred­it for)to be judged by the action of one.  On anthr note, I am not naive to not under­stand… Read more »

I under­stand that, but the actu­al spread does not even show black women. Hon­est­ly, I wouldn’t have even thought of black women when I saw the pics unless I saw the side by side pics. Actu­al­ly, even with the side by side pics…I didn’t think of black women.


Actu­al­ly Joan Smalls, a black mod­el is on the cov­er dressed in a sim­i­lar #over­thetop get-up! Although I don’t dress like this, I believe the black women that do are sim­ply cre­ative­ly express­ing them­selves. I don’t like that black women are labeled as “hood, ratch­et, ghet­to” but once white peo­ple embrace it, it’s now “trendy, art, fash­ion” This is anoth­er case of cul­tur­al appro­pri­a­tion and Vogue Italia is clear­ly mock­ing black women who dress like this!

Check it out


Yeah I don’t think they are mak­ing fun of “us” but I do think they are mak­ing fun of a cer­tain seg­ment of the African Amer­i­can pop­u­la­tion. I find the spread annoy­ing for it’s clas­sist over­tones the same way I would if they did a spread called “Trail­er Par­que Tony.”


and oops yes I know that’s the wrong “its”


Yeah I don’t think that they are mak­ing fun of “us” either. I think it’s a mock­ery, how­ev­er, of women who actu­al­ly engage in these types of “beau­ty” enhance­ments. Whether the per­son is white or black, it’s obvi­ous that the lace front looks ridicu­lous along with sev­er­al of the oth­er pho­tos.


I think the spread is fun­ny. I laugh at these things all the time–both when I see pic­tures of sim­i­lar out­ra­geous garb/mannerisms or when I wit­ness them in pub­lic. It’s fun­ny, not because the women are Black, but because of what they’re wear­ing. I’d still think it’s fun­ny if the women were His­pan­ic, Asian, Native Amer­i­can, of mixed her­itage, or White.


They even used hash­tags… mock­ing black twit­terisms. There’s always an uptick in racism when Black His­to­ry Month ends.


Oh no! not the sacred “black twit­ter­ism” whose last trend­ing top­ic, I dared look at was “#to my future side­line hoe”