Yesterday Jamaal sent me this article, with "I don't see the reason for the controversy" written above the link. Controversy?! Woohooo I smell a blog post!
Turns out this incredibly articulate piece is a response to this article, criticizing Vogue's LeBron James/Gisele Bundchen April cover:
Critics are saying that the cover, shot by the famous Annie Leibovitz, "conjures up images of a dangerous black man" showing LeBron in a "Gorilla-like pose, baring his teeth" and Gisele looks all "Fay Wray." I cackled for a few minutes at this criticism. Then I thought "hold up, this is serious!" We're talking racial stereotypes, how media portrays black men, and how the world is completely overreacting here!
I cannot write as eloquently as Jason Whitlock about this whole issue, so I seriously recommend reading his take on the whole deal, but I'll share MY OPINION (hahahahaha) with you.
When I saw this cover I thought "mmmnnnn. I would sure like to be in the middle of a LeBron-Gisele sandwich." This cover is sexy - c'mon it's the "Shape" issue!! Vogue wanted two people at the top of their game, and what's more impressive, a woman AND a man, as Mr. James is only the third man to grace the cover of Vogue magazine, and the first African American man. I wonder if they put a female athlete on the cover, would there be such a controversy? Or a black supermodel? I wonder what Tyra would say about this incredible juxtaposition of sheer strength/athleticism hotness and supermodel good looks?
And in the end - why are we caring so much? Critics say that the photo is stereotypical. Is it, or are there criticisms the same old tired arguments that are so passe, they're becoming cliche? "LeBron looks like Godzilla, Gisele is a damsel in distress." *yaaaawwwnnn* Whitlock asks, "Are we only bothered by negative images of black men when the primary/sole consumer of the image is white people?" He then brings up movies that are targeted towards black people, yet are stereotypic and "simple-minded"....but they aren't criticized because they're "made for us." He further points out that LeBron himself once stated that his goal was to be one of the richest men alive, and he is therefore equivalent to a "child celebrity" and "He's in very good and very deep company when it comes to being unconcerned with and unqualified for the job of representing black men in a positive light." Ouch! He makes an excellent point though, even if he makes me feel somewhat guilty of my love for this magazine cover on the purest of pure superficial level (it's attractive to the eye). While I'm sure Whitlock will take the heat for his biting commentary, I think this needed to be said (I also love his shot at the Clinton campaign....*ZING*) especially since this is an issue people don't like to get into: white people are uncomfortable about it. They think "sh*t. is this offensive? is this wrong and we didn't see it?" I say this from experience, as I said to Jamaal "this may be easy for me to say, because I am white, but i think the controversy is weak" to which he replied "No I think it's pretty easy to say period" LOL rationality will bring us all together.
I don't mean to sound like an insensitive jerk here, or to sound like just another person who doesn't have to deal with the "stereotypic criminalization" of my demographic....actually, I'm writing as someone who tends to by hypersensitive about certain things. I am still reeling from the "stuff white people like" blog, because I visited it and found it boring and stereotypical, and hell, I hated half the sh*t on that blog! But seriously, I know I was being completely oversensitive...so I've chosen to ignore it. I realize that's a lot different than seeing this magazine cover in stores, on newsstands and billboards everywhere, but do you get the gist of what I'm trying to say? We all need to caaaaalm down. A lot.
While the rest of the world is calming down, I'm going to go buy Vogue. Normally, I only read vogue at the nail salon, when it's well-thumbed and seven months old, but this purchase will be on principle this time around. Why? Because the cover is hot and I like seeing diversity featured on such a prominent magazine cover. Diversity is SEXY (and if you interpret that as "Jamaal and Allison are sexy," that is OK!!! Also, having the issue will better help me imagine myself in that Lebron-Gisele sandwich about which I was talking earlier....yummmmm.