Friday, October 08, 2010

Protesting Against 'Essence' Magazine Is the Real Fashion Faux Pas

It seems that some African American women are still upset still with Essence magazine, so much so that they recently protested on the streets of New York. Why? Because the magazine has a new fashion director, Ellianna Placas. They are really upset because she is white.

I do not understand why this situation would be worthy of a protest, it is not as if they won’t let you sit at any restaurant and order food, or like they make you sit in the back of a bus or an innocent man is sitting on death row. No it is not about anything important such as the aforementioned but rather the lack of diversity in the world of fashion. "Diversity" in this sense equals African American women.

On the first day of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week N.Y. Spring 2011, a small coterie of young black women dressed in black and wearing black sunglasses marched from Time Inc.'s headquarters to Lincoln Center. Completely silent, the women carried signs that read, "I am a fashion director," and "I am Susan Taylor" — along with the names of African Americans who have served in the fashion director role at Essence in the past.

It's cool, to protest but in most cases it should be about something important. What is wrong with having a white fashion editor? After all, most of the clothing these women wear isn’t even made by African Americans. From Polo, to Coach, to Vera Wang, To Gucci to Louis Vuitton, most African Americans wear attire that is made by folks of European descent. But they do not protest that. Who better to talk about clothes and accessories made by whites that black women wear than a white person?

This is the dumbest protest I have ever heard of. It basically shows that we choose issues without any serious thought, and even worse, that what we really value is materialism. Protesting against Essence magazine is a real fashion faux pas.


msladydeborah said...

I would be more impressed if the protest was about the lack of for real content in Essence.

I am one of the sistas who started reading Essence when it first hit the stands back in the day. The publication was so on point back then. It was a staple in my reading arsenal until 2008. By this time the magazine's content was reduced to tripe. I did not renew my sub and I'm okay with not receiving a copy anymore. If I pay for a magazine the content needs to be something for the head besides the never ending whine about Black female and male relationships. I especially find it odd that in one section of the publication there is all this money advice and articles on how we need to handle our personal funds, then there is a section that features nothing but expensive ass clothing and accessorites that are "must haves" for our wardrobe. I'm sorry but my Coach is not cute without some soft money on the inside of its contents.

Susan Taylor is such a dynamic sista/woman. I love her viewpoint on life and the strength that she willingly shares with everyone. I saw her at OSU during Black History Month on year. The woman is intelligent, gracious and very much aware of what is important to other grown women.

I think that the gist of the protest is due to the fact that Essence started out with nothing but sistas on the staff. This was revolutionary back in the day. But given how fluffy the printed content is-I'm not giving a damn about who the fashion editior is. The publication is now part of Time Inc. that should be the first clue about the foundational ideas that now dominate the magazine. I totally agree with you that this is just a waste of time and effort.

Ensayn1 said...

Why would Black people protest a white editor of a white magazine? Some of us Black folk really need to learn the real from the unreal. Essence is not a Black or African American magazine, Susan Taylor sold the magazine. So whats the problem?

Reggie said...

Perhaps she actually got the job because she was the best candidate available at the time?

I don't see an issue. If we can realize that it's wrong to hire people because of their ethicity, then we should always realize and remember that reality.

I.Am.Spoken.Word. said...

This is sad.

This is a case of people thinking that equality reflects ONLY in the oppressed gaining superiority over the oppressor. TRUE Equality is Equal playing fields for EVERYONE. But if the dice happens to fall positively for someone who isn't minority...african americans automatically call out foul play.

That's a step backwards rather than forwards.

LafemmeIngie said...

Essence magazine is worthless. I do not read it nor will I even glance at its cover. Personally I am not impressed with any magazine that is targeted for women of color. They have nothing of interest and certainly add nothing of value. Maybe this new editor will breath new life into something I would not take for free.

Brown English Muffin said...

Playing devils advocate as I don't read Essence I would say that....

If I wanted to learn about science I would buy a book written by a scientist and not one written by a beautician.

So I dare say that if an African American wants to read about African American topics they'd also expect for the topic to be written about African American.

If I wanted a magazine written about Caucasian topics I know to buy Vogue.

But as I type this playing devils advocate does that then mean that an African American is not qualified to be the editor of Vogue??? Hmmm Or is it because Vogue has not claimed to be a niche for JUST Caucasians as Essence has for African Americans????