Black Model Fed Up with Lack of Representation Poses In White Ad Campaigns: ‘We Should be Visible!’

Deddeh Howard recrited Dolche and Gabanna ad (Raffael Dickreuter/Secret of DD)

Deddeh Howard recreated Dolceolche and Gabanna ad (Raffael Dickreuter/Secret of DD)

A Black fashion model fed up with rejection by agencies decided to flip the script by posing in famous ad campaigns by white models. Deddeh Howard, a Liberian model now residing in Los Angeles, launched the Black Mirror project in order to showcase the need for more diversity in the industry.

Howard told Mic she was inspired to create the project after noticing the lack of Black representation in magazines and on billboards and TV. Of the ad campaigns chosen, the model specifically picked a variety of brands — from jewelry to lingerie — that seldom feature Black women.

“Something that always bothered me when you see these amazing images that very rarely you ever see a Black woman on them,” she wrote on her blog Secret of DD Tuesday, Dec. 6. “When growing up as a girl, I always wondered why the big brands such as Gucci, Chanel [and] Louis Vuitton … rarely seem to use a Black model? And if they do, a very small group of Black models does make the cut here and there, but that group seems to remain pretty much identical over a long period of time.”

Howard also reflected on the trouble she had getting booked by modeling agencies. Frequently, she lost out on opportunities simply because the company already had another Black model. She referred to such incidents on Instagram, where she shared some of the images from the shoot.

In photos shot by Raffael Dickreuter, Howard created exact replicas of the campaigns in order to “show the world what diversity is capable of,” she told Mic. On Instagram, she noted the purpose of showing the images side by side was to illustrate how “we all have a place, that we all belong and should be visible!”

Social media reacted positively to Howard’s message.

Aesha Love thanked the model profusely.

Ace Harris praised the project as unique and daring.

Romello_ Black also gave props to the photos.

The mass approval is not something Howard expected, but she has big wishes for the project’s impact.

“I hope to show the world that it is time for all of us to be seen,” she said on her blog. “Just like a Gisele Bundchen, Kate Moss or Candice Swanepoel gets to travel the world, shoot the most amazing campaigns and live an exciting life to inspire young girls, let’s give the next generation something to believe in.”

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