Handle Your Scandal: Numéro Magazine Explains Blackface Shoot, Apologizes If You Were Offended

We dished yesterday that Numéro Magazine is in hot water for an editorial named “African Queen” that features 16 year-old white model Ondria Hardin in bronze skin. The publication was criticized for using “bronzeface” and not hiring a black model for a shoot celebrating African culture.

The publication has responded to the outcry, with this non-apology via The Huffington Post:

“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.”

The #1 rule in non-apologizing is to apologize for the reaction and not the offending act itself. Sigh.

It seems like a total lack of ownership for them to say they didn’t take “part in the creation process of this editorial” and put so much attention and focus on the photographer. Afterall, they approved the shoot and it winded up in the pages of their magazine.

And their quip about featuring a few black models (they cite Fernando Cabral and Naomi Campbell) comes off as a hollow attempt to use tokenism as proof they love other races. When in reality, whether that’s true or not, it’s no excuse for painting a white model’s skin bronze and calling her an “African Queen.”

Check out the whole editorial here:

What do you think of their apology, Glamazons?


Glamazon Jessica

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