Starting Your Dreams Later In Life and Embracing the Detour

Jenee Darden speaking at Creative Mornings I know it's been a while since I've posted anything but that's because of my job. I'm working as a reporter covering Oakland and I host an arts segment on the radio where I get to interview amazing artists from around the Bay Area. Plus I'm publicizing my book  and building my speaking career!  You know what's funny? I thought this would all happen by the time I was 27-30.  Nope. That wasn't God's plan for me. I'm finally beginning to do the things I've wanted to do and I'm almost 40 years old. Some people reading this who are 40 will say 40 is still young. But some younger people reading may think 40 is nearly ancient. But I'm writing this post for those who like me, thought their career and personal dreams would come true much early in life. I'm here to tell you not to give up.  You know, death inspires life. A number of my relatives and friends have passed away, ranging in

Blackface is the New Black in French Vogue

Here we go again. We're just moving on from Henry Connick Jr. speaking out against those Australian doctors by day, fools by night. Or better known as the Jackson Jive. Then I stumbled upon this mess pictured on the left today....

Supermodel Lara Stone got in Jazz Singer mode and posed in blackface for this month's French Vogue magazine. Excuse me, this is actually referred to as "contemporary blackface." That's according to the blog for fashion agency Confidence Models Management. When did racism go chic? In case you're wondering Stone is Dutch. Vogue should have gone all the ways and included a DVD insert in the magazine where Stone is tap dancing and singing "Mammmmieeeeee!" If Vogue's photographers wanted a dark- skinned woman wouldn't it make more sense to hire a woman of color? Of course not! Hiring a model of color wouldn't sell magazines. Offending people is where the money's at. Like I always say there's one color that trumps black, white, brown and yellow--green as in $$$. In this case we're talking Euros so add pink, gray and orange.

At this time that I'm blogging I have yet to find a statement from Vogue. If any of their reps say they were unaware the photos would offend readers or the pictures are art, I'm not buying it. I believe many of these magazines, shows and movies are featuring black face characters because they know controversy generates attention. French Vogue has my attention. I buy international magazines but I'll be passing up this one on the stands.

As for supermodel Lara Stone, smearing on burnt cork or whatever makeup used for "contemporary blackface" was a super ignorant move. Did even question this might be offensive? There are so many models of color who can't get work because of race discrimination within the fashion industry. Yet, French Vogue would rather paint a white model black than hire a real sista. Wow.


  1. No words to describe how much this just BURNS me up inside! You're right about controversy selling magazines though, they knew exactly what they were doing. SMH.

  2. Hi there!

    This is not the first time that Lara Stone has been put in black face for a photo shoot. She did it for the Africa photo shoot too!

    I don't even blame the models for this racist depiction. They are just hired help who don't turn down the money that they are getting in order to stay in the good graces of these famous photographers who make and break the careers of supermodels.

    I think that the heat should be directed at Vogue and all of the advertisers who supported that issue! Black consumers need to take note of that list of companies that paid for ads in the issue. The magazines rely on ad revenue. So when we go after the companies that supported that issue, we can leverage the $750 billion in buying power that blacks in the U.S. wield.

    Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!

  3. Thanks for the info Lisa. I had no idea Lara Stone has done this before. I agree the magazine is at fault but I also blame the model too. It's 2009 and many people know blackface is offensive. Disrespecting a culture so she can get a check is immoral. I'm with you, my money is staying in my pocket.


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