Blackhair magazine cover

Photo via Blackhair/Facebook

Both the model and the magazine have apologized.

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.

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 would deeply and sincerely like to apologise to every one for this, and black women especially. I would like to clarify, I believe this shoot is from when I was around 15 and didn’t understand cultural appropriation or the impact it has on POC. I was uneducated, which obviously is no excuse, ignorant and immature. Growing up in a very very white city, I had no idea the struggles black women face and how often they were persecuted for their hair. I didn’t understand how black women are constantly told their natural hair is inappropriate/unprofessional for the work place, or how young girls are told they can’t go to school with natural hair. 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. I didn’t understand that as a white passing woman I’d be praised for this hair, but if I was a black woman I’d be persecuted. I didn’t understand cultural appropriation. ✨ I do regret doing this. I hold up my hands, I’m so so so sorry and I’m very sorry this cover was taken away from a black woman. This image is (I think, although I’m not 100% sure) about 3/4 years old, it was never intended to be on the cover of this magazine. If I had known it was going to be published, I would never have condoned it. I’m upset and angry I was never asked by the photographer/hair salon/anyone if this image could be used for the cover Black Hair. ✨ I’m so glad I’ve educated myself and surrounded my self with people to teach me what is right and wrong. I constantly am learning and becoming more and more informed. It’s important to come forward and be honest with ourselves about our past mistakes, otherwise we will never learn. Again, I’m truly, deeply sorry to anyone I’ve offended and I hope if nothing else this post can educated others so they don’t make similar mistakes. (also please let me know if I’ve said anything wrong or offensive in this post!!! or anything i can add!!!! i love u all sm and the last thing i want to do is offend or hurt any one, i really hope you don’t all think im a massive twat 😔)

A photo posted by e m i l y bador (@darth_bador) on

“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.

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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.”

H/T Independent

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