Happy Martin Luther King Day!
As we pause to reflect on Dr. King’s message of Civil Rights and equality, we must deal with the reality of modern day ignorance and racial insensitivity.
Today, Miroslava Duma’s new online magazine Buro 247 published an article on Russian socialite Dasha Zhukova. The illustration? A serene looking Zhukova sitting on a ‘black woman’ chair.
The Editor-in-Chief of Garage magazine perches on a black ‘dummy,’ (not a real human) who is nude save panties, a garter belt, elbow length gloves, and knee high boots, her folded knees suggestively pushing her naked breasts against her body. As Dasha stares out at the camera in the light filled room, she appears the total opposite of the compromised black woman on the floor. The message: prevailing, enduring white dominance and superiority, articulated in a seemingly serene yet overtly degrading way.
Black woman as objects? Jezebels? These ideas aren’t new. But just as Dr. King fought firehoses and barking dogs four decades ago so that not only black women and black people in general could be seen as human beings, the fight continues in the worlds of art and fashion. Every other day, we see black women demeaned, disrespected, and overly sexualized by the ‘other,’ our image sacrificed in the service of art.
Remember this bullshit?
It’s troubling that Buro 247 chose to publish this article today (they will undoubtedly attest ignorance and soon issue an apology–Miroslava Duma has already deleted the picture from her Instagram, and perhaps the interview on her site will come down as well), but instances like these always serve as reminders that we have come so far, yet still have so far to go.
The art and fashion industries are the few bastions of society where blatant racism and ignorance are given the greenlight in the name of creativity.
This must stop.
See the original picture on Buro247.
*I did a bit of research, and found that the chair seems to be an iteration of this bondage chair, created by Allen Jones ca. 1969. Apparently white strippers were put in compromising positions as well.
Does that make the symbolism any less troubling?