Why put a Black woman on the cover of a high fashion magazine using a terrible photo? You call that inclusion? breaking barriers? I don’t. As you can see in the photo below and on Colorlines.com, Elle magazine featured Gabourey Sidibe on its October cover with a less-than-fashionable photo. And, yes, I have issues.
Elle colorized her. Gabby’s a very dark girl. Nothing’s wrong with that. As you can see, the cover photo is a few shades lighter than she is. If her skin tone bothers Elle’s audience or editors, perhaps they should have featured someone else. Women are already fed up with the aggressive weight-based Photoshopping. Now the fashion industry is colorizing, too? Changing Gabby’s color from espresso to nutty brown sends the message that she’s too dark. Whether that’s intentional or not, it has a negative impact, especially on young women like the one here on YouTube.
Gabby’s hair looks TERRIBLE. Sidibe’s hair is the worst aspect of the photo. Her ‘do looks ratty, like a homeless woman’s wig. Not sure why they didn’t just style her natural hair (like in the photo on the right) or bring in a decent beautician, but it’s hard to believe Elle’s editors would let this fly under normal circumstances. If you think I’m nit-picking, check out the comments on these blogs: YBF, Talking Stuff and Booker Rising. Everyone noticed her hair. I blame Elle for dropping the ball on that.
Just plain bad. No disrespect to Sidibe, but the photo is just plain bad. Between the colorizing and the nappy wig, to the super close picture and unflattering top, the folks at Elle have her looking more like a Cabbage Patch doll than the movie star she is. Putting any old photo of Gabby Sibide on the cover might make liberal elites feel charitable, but it doesn’t cut it IMHO. If anything, it says that the industry’s not taking Black women seriously.
Gabby might not be a beauty queen, but she deserved better. She’s radiant on this EBONY magazine cover. Why couldn’t Elle have done that?
My message to the fashion industry when it comes to featuring Black women is this: Get it right, or leave it alone. To contact Elle magazine, as I did, follow this link.
UPDATE: Elle issued a statement today and Creative Director Joe Zee responded to cover controversy for more info., read my latest post.
- The touchy politics of Elle’s Gabby Sidibe cover (salon.com)
- Beauty Hot! or Hmm…: Gabby Sidibe on the Cover of Elle October 2010 (fashionbombdaily.com)
- Sidibe’s Elle cover makes case for black fashion directors (thegrio.com)