Earlier this week, we learned that the March issue of Numero will feature an artificially darkened white teenage model wearing a riot of colors and textures in a spread called (ughhhhhh) African Queen. The model is 16-year-old American Ondria Hardin. She was photographed by Sebastian Kim. Naturally, people were angry to see yet another example of the fashion industry spraying down a white teenager and dressing her up in the perceived costume of another “more exotic“ race (to sell expensive shit, no less).
Yesterday, Kim was moved to offer a sort of explanation–and also point out that the editorial’s title (which he had nothing to do with) exacerbated matters considerably. This surprised us because usually when this happens (which it does, constantly), no one ever issues any statement because everyone is convinced that this kind of fuckery is totally acceptable (because they’re artists).
So, in another surprise move, today Numero has come forward with a statement:
Some people have declared that they have been offended by the publication in Numéro magazine n°141 of March 2013, of an editorial realized by the photographer Sebastian Kim called “African Queen”, featuring the American model Ondria Hardin posing as an “African queen”, her skin painted in black.
The artistic statement of the photographer Sebastian Kim, author of this editorial, is in line with his previous photographic creations, which insist on the melting pot and the mix of cultures, the exact opposite of any skin color based discrimination. Numéro has always supported the artistic freedom of the talented photographers who work with the magazine to illustrate its pages, and has not took part in the creation process of this editorial.
For its part, Numéro Magazine, which has the utmost respect for this photographer’s creative work, firmly excludes that the latest may have had, at any moment, the intention to hurt readers’ sensitivity, whatever their origin.
Numéro Magazine considers that it has regularly demonstrated its deep attachment to the promotion of different skin-colored models. For instance, the next issue of Numéro for Man on sale on 15th march has the black model Fernando Cabral on the cover page, and the current Russian edition’s cover of our magazine features the black model Naomi Campbell on its cover. This demonstrates the completely inappropriate nature of the accusations made against our magazine, deeply committed to the respect for differences, tolerance and more generally to non-discrimination.
Considering the turmoil caused by this publication, the Management of Numéro Magazine would like to apologize to anyone who may have been offended by this editorial.
To which we say:
Rather than parse out the individual absurdities of this statement, here are some images from a 2010 Numero editorial starring white French model Constance Jablonski wearing a shitload of bronzer and a goddamn afro, while posing with a black baby:
This demonstrates the completely inappropriate nature of the accusations made against our magazine, deeply committed to the respect for differences, tolerance and more generally to non-discrimination.
(Statement via Styleite)