Remember when Dolce & Gabbana got in Internet trouble for including explicitly racist imagery in their Spring 2013 collection, and we wrote about it, and then they issued a very weak and hole-filled defense, and we wrote about that, too? Well, those racist images are still out there in the world being sold to people, and now a prominent African American fashionista has weighed in on them.
Rapper, singer, and Karl Lagerfeld pal Azealia Banks recently took some time out of her busy schedule to post the following on Twitter:
Rapey imagery aside, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Not only is racism bad (duh), it’s also unnecessary! Of course, there’s an argument to be made that you can deploy racist words and images in an effective way to make a statement about racism, but D&G’s statement seems more along the lines of, “we are using racist imagery because we can, and because people are going to talk about it, but we’re not worried, because at the end of the conversation, the underlying power structure will remain the same. WIN WIN.” I find it slightly disturbing that Azealia is the first celebrity to condemn it (correct me if I’m wrong), as if everyone else is totes on board. I also find it disturbing that D&G would think this was an okay thing to do in the first place, and then, when they got called out on it, staunchly refuse to admit they’d done anything wrong.
Seeing as every accused racist has “friends of color,” I have to think it would nip a lot of problems in the bud if folks like D&G asked said friends their opinions before going through with something like this. Then again, these friends may be imaginary. In any case, no matter how much she may love fashion, Azealia Banks is not going to cover your ass when you do shit like this. Racism trumps free shoes, guys.
Kudos to Azealia Banks for using her growing fashion-lebrity to talk about something important. If nobody talks about these things when they happen, the status quo is never going to change.
PS: Fuck all you other bloggers who put “racist” in scare quotes.