After it came to light that the model on the cover of Blackhair magazine is not in fact Black, the magazine has issued a statement and the model has apologized.
In the statement, which was published on Facebook, Blackhair editor Keysha Davis said, “This morning, it was brought to our attention that the model gracing our December/January issue is not of Black or mixed-race heritage. We were obviously not aware of this prior to selecting the image. We often ask PR companies/salons to submit images for the magazine, specifically stating that models must be Black or mixed race. We can only take their word for it, and of course, try to use our own judgment.
“At Blackhair, we continuously strive to celebrate Black women in all our beautiful variation of skin hues and hair textures. We are keenly aware of how Black women are underrepresented in the mainstream media and the last thing we want to do is add to our erasure. In this ever-changing world, race will surely become even more fluid, and no doubt conversations around Black identity will continue to change and we definitely welcome the dialogue.
“Thank you to Emily Bador for bringing this to our attention. We really appreciate your honesty. And we also thank our dear readers for your continued support. We don’t take any of it for granted and, therefore, welcome any emails, messages or tweets you have on this subject and others.”
Many commenters on the Facebook post were not amused.
Others were more understanding.
Perhaps the most interesting part about this whole controversy is the fact that it was the model herself, Emily Bador, who brought the issue to the public’s attention with her Instagram post. She notes in the caption that when she took the picture a few years back, she was 15 years old, “uneducated [about cultural appropriation], which obviously is no excuse, ignorant and immature. Growing up in a very very white city, I had no idea the struggles Black women face and how often they were persecuted for their hair.”
Her apology is quite long and informative, with Bador also stating that she in no way gave permission for the picture to be used.
I would deeply and sincerely like to apologise to every one for this, and black women especially. I would like to clarify, I believe this shoot is from when I was around 15 and didn’t understand cultural appropriation or the impact it has on POC. I was uneducated, which obviously is no excuse, ignorant and immature. Growing up in a very very white city, I had no idea the struggles black women face and how often they were persecuted for their hair. I didn’t understand how black women are constantly told their natural hair is inappropriate/unprofessional for the work place, or how young girls are told they can’t go to school with natural hair. I didn’t understand that shoots like this support the very Eurocentric beauty standard that the mainstream media focus on which reinforce the idea that black features are only ok on white women. I didn’t understand that as a white passing woman I’d be praised for this hair, but if I was a black woman I’d be persecuted. I didn’t understand cultural appropriation. ✨ I do regret doing this. I hold up my hands, I’m so so so sorry and I’m very sorry this cover was taken away from a black woman. This image is (I think, although I’m not 100% sure) about 3/4 years old, it was never intended to be on the cover of this magazine. If I had known it was going to be published, I would never have condoned it. I’m upset and angry I was never asked by the photographer/hair salon/anyone if this image could be used for the cover Black Hair. ✨ I’m so glad I’ve educated myself and surrounded my self with people to teach me what is right and wrong. I constantly am learning and becoming more and more informed. It’s important to come forward and be honest with ourselves about our past mistakes, otherwise we will never learn. Again, I’m truly, deeply sorry to anyone I’ve offended and I hope if nothing else this post can educated others so they don’t make similar mistakes. (also please let me know if I’ve said anything wrong or offensive in this post!!! or anything i can add!!!! i love u all sm and the last thing i want to do is offend or hurt any one, i really hope you don’t all think im a massive twat ?)