One thing that we should all be able to agree on is that slavery is Bad very very BAD, and no one should be subjected to this mental and physical torture.
Now that seems like an no brainer right? Wrong! It seems like fashion editiors can not get enough of showing images of racism on their pages for the sake of “fashion’!
The latest dick head to dabble in the racist bullshit is fashion designer Aamna Aqeel, and her ad aptly titled “Be My Slave.”
The spread is exactly what it sounds like; a shirtless, shoeless colored child waiting hand and foot on an impeccably dressed white woman.
Who would ever publish such a thing, you ask? The answer is DIVA, “Pakistan’s Leading Fashion & Lifestyle Magazine.” Of all places!
We have seen incidents like this in the recent past, with a formula that is almost predictable at this point. It goes something like this:
1. Idea for said shoot is planned in advance by a “creative,” who thinks it isn’t racist and “just art.”
2. Said idea is presented to staff who also has no real experience with people of different races outside of their “holier than thou” fashion bubble, therefore they fail to see the problem with producing a spread that is glorifying slavery.
3. While it’s in progress, the shoot is totally not racist because the photographer has a black friend and they treated that little black slave really well while he was on set.
4. The spread is released.
5. The public reacts.
6. The publication/brand issues a half ass apology, stating they didn’t intend for a shoot titled “Be My Slave” to be about slavery.
Yawn. Spare us the bullshit.
At this point, I am about as damn close to sure as I can be that these publications and brands are exploiting the black experience’s painful past and employing it as a method to get their magazines a little free press, be it good or bad.
Of course, the designer had to come forward with a perfectly versed explanation for her shoot – that had the word slave in it – not being about slavery.
In an interview with the International Herald Tribune, Aqeel defended her shoot, saying it was about child labor and not slavery.
According to [Aqeel], the choice of a dark-skinned Baloch child was purely incidental. “He works in a garage and wanted some work,” she said.
Aqeel’s argument is that she wanted to spark a debate on child labour. She says she is involved with a children’s charity and wanted to highlight how ‘society madams’ employ child labour in their homes. She is educating and supporting the child used in the shoot.
Aqeel went on to deny that this was a publicity-seeking move on her part and says she is happy at the pace her brand is developing. Her purpose for this shoot was apparently not to publicise her brand, but to raise public awareness of a social issue.
Please hold while I play the world’s smallest violin to the provide a soundtrack for her misunderstood sorrow.
The point here is this: black face models, Mammy-inspired earrings, white “African Queens” from Middle America painted black, and slavery have no place being parodied for the sake of “fashion.” It’s tactless, tasteless, and eventually you’ll end up saying sorry.