A Glamazon reader brought to my attention that in last night's episode of America's Next Top Model, Tyra Banks painted a white and Asian contestant black for their photo shoot. According to the Huffington Post:
"...in last night's episode, Tyra crossed the fine line from tasteless over to offensive when she put the remaining six contestants in ethnic garb and gave them biracial identities."
Tyra shot these six contestants in a sugarcane field in Hawaii, culturally significant because as she puts it, people traveled from different places to work there and procreated to develop blended races. In reference to the ethnic garb, Tyra explained that the clothes chosen aren't accurate representations of the way certain cultures dress, but merely "a fashion interpretation." Hmm. Does creativity negate the need for historical accuracy? Does it justify cultural insensitivity? Interesting...
Given my and lot of your heated reactions to another "fashion interpretation," the French Vogue Blackface photo shoot, I was sure that Tyra's photo shoot would be met with just as much hostility. Until I read another comment about the fact that Tyra has painted white and black contestants with Asian features for ANTM Cycle 3's shoot in Tokyo. See photos below.
I wonder if Asian, and specifically Japanese, women watching the show felt the same kind of outrage that many of our black readers did...or is this practice specifically hurtful to us given the sensitive history of blackface?
What do you think? Are the images from the ANTM photo shoot as offensive as that from French Vogue? Why or why not? Why was there an outrage among black women (and men) for the French Vogue photoshoot while the Asian population remained largely silent about the ANTM photo shoot? What's the line between art and racism? Does it differ depending on the race being "interpreted"?
Photos: The CW. antmc3.blogspot.com