Blackhair magazine, a bi-monthly magazine that focuses on black hair and beauty, has a longstanding policy that their models must be black or mixed-race black. Which is why many are angry that their latest cover model is a white woman with kinky, curly hair.
Blackhair Magazine Just Put a White Model on Its Cover #hair— Makeup Trends (@MakeupTrends24) November 22, 2016
Put 2016 in rice, boil the rice and then set the kitchen on fire https://t.co/tbXhbimIUu— jamilah (@JamilahLemieux) November 22, 2016
The magazine used a photo of model Emily Bador, who identifies as white and Malaysian, and which was allegedly taken when she was 15. Bador took to Instagram to apologize for the cover being “taken away from a black woman.”
“I didn’t understand that shoots like this support the very Eurocentric beauty standard that the mainstream media focus on which reinforce the idea that black features are only ok on white women,” wrote Bador. She also said that if she would not have condoned this image being used if she had known about it beforehand.
Blackhair editor Keysha Davis also issued an apology for the cover. “We are keenly aware of how black women are underrepresented in the mainstream media and the last thing we want to do is add to our erasure,” she wrote.
She also explained that the magazine specifies to PR companies to only send photos of black and mixed-race models, and that the editors have to use their judgment—implying that, from the photo, the magazine believed Bador fit that category. And proving, once again, that you can never assume someone’s race just from looking at them.
“In this ever-changing world, race will surely become even more fluid and no doubt conversations around Black identity will continue to change,” wrote Davis, “and we definitely welcome the dialogue.”