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Black Magazines, Black Fashion: Burt-Murray Goes White and Vogue Africa is Fiction

Posted on | August 1, 2010 | 16 Comments

Total Fiction: Vogue Africa

Vogue Africa by Mario Epanya

Vogue (Africa) doesn’t exist, but the pictures circulating the web are fascinating, intriguing, and perplexing. The photographer is Mario Epanya. He wanted Vogue (Conde Naste) to have this magazine showcasing Africa.

I’m curious and would like to ask: couldn’t he find investors in oil-rich Nigeria, diamond-rich South Africa, or booming Botswana to help out? I think his idea is outstanding. We can see from the cover and many more on some blogs – he obviously has the models and the talent.

Why must black men always go to white men with a cup in hand begging for something when he already has all the resources he needs to get started?

Vogue Africa Images

Angela Burt-Murray Prefers White

The Editor-in-Chief of Essence Magazine decided to go interracial, but only for her hiring decision(s). This appears to be the one time she believes in quality and the philosophy of “may the best wo/man win”. She wouldn’t dare encourage black women to seek men (of any race) that’s best for her. She saves the philosophy of seeking quality for herself.

Burt-Murray prefers to suggest black women go to strip clubs to find that purple unicorn “good black man” tucking $1 into LaFlowanda’s g-string. Great idea, Ms Burt-Murray. You gonna keep it real for those young women who are S.O.L. as they face a 2 million black male deficit.

Angela Burt-Murray wrote this stunning, articulate and brilliant essay explaining that the “White editor won’t diminish our love of black women.” The people who run Essence claim they have love for black women.

Oh, yeah! Dis must be love. Is this the kind of love, where your broken bones and black eyes are a result of love taps? That you complain too much, otherwise he wouldn’t have to hit you? You should be grateful he loves you, because no one can love someone such as yourself? Yeah, that kind of love.

She can keep it.

Who Should Replace Her

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t care about the fashion editor hire. I feel her comment about “quality” could apply to the following.

  • Encourage black women to be open to men (any race) who are quality as opposed to any-black-male-with-a-pulse worship. Stop encouraging their involvement with baby daddys, men in relationships, men in jail, ex-cons, men seeking FWB / hookups, and actors who mysteriously cannot find a “date” in Hollyweird.
  • As to her position as Editor-in-Chief, I said it on Huffington.com and I’ll say it here:

Next hire: a white woman to replace Angela Burt-Murray, because that white woman will have the vision and understanding of black women’s issues. Good hire, Time-Warner!

Her replacement can be those white women who sleep with black men featured on the cover of Essence, are given a black pass by blacks who put them on their blogs, defended by blacks who say silly things like “they’re not white”, and are called “black” due to negro-proxy*. That way Burt-Murray’s replacement wont actually be a white woman, but the modern-day black woman replacement we see featured everywhere. We wont even notice the difference.

It’s Not About Diversity

Folks can chatter about the importance of diversity in Burt-Murray’s hiring decision. Yet, I know this: one could literally find hundreds, if not thousands, of unemployed black women desperate for a job. She could have rotated the gig and given many of these black women a chance. Instead we get a high-school level snark essay about issues she think we should protest and boycott. She took the safe bet. I get it. Her bosses told her who to hire; she couldn’t come out and say it. Diversity is a catch phrase for: I don’t write the checks.

The case with Vogue in Africa and Essence is this: de boss man is de white man. But he’s not the villain here. His priorities are different. His focus is on money: advertisers, distribution, expenses, and circulation. Multiculturalism and diversity are the least of his concerns, but it makes a nice cover when you are forcing negroes to do your bidding.

However, black folks have nothing to complain about. If you want to showcase “black fashion and black beauty” in a high-end fashion magazine put your money where your mouth is.

I will tell you why it doesn’t happen: do black people really believe black women are as beautiful as white women?

Are we able to produce (without begging anybody for something) a first rate magazine? Yes, of course.

The reality is this: the effort has been tried and tried many times in the past, and you know what happens? No one bought the magazine(s).

*theroot.com – has this mess. the “blackest” white people around. this site is dr. gate’s brainchild.

Linky-Loos

  1. thegrio.com: why-africa-vogue-is-considered-out-of-fashion
  2. thegrio.com: essence-one-white-editor-wont-diminish-our-love-of-black-women
  3. thegrio.com: essence-white-editor-caught-up-in-off-color-controversy
  4. clutchmagonline.com: hires-white-fashion-director-leaves-loyal-readers-asking-why
  5. huffingtonpost: essence hires white fashion editor
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Comments

16 Responses to “Black Magazines, Black Fashion: Burt-Murray Goes White and Vogue Africa is Fiction”

  1. Sky
    August 1st, 2010 @ 2:52 PM

    I would love the idea of Vogue Africa. But you’re absoluetly right, blacks don’t invest on their own things. I remember when the magazine Suede came out. I loved it, and bought the copies, whenever they came out. Then they just stopped. I had to search everywhere online to find out what happened. Come to find out the magazine wasn’t selling well.

    I think many blacks want to look, but not purchase. Vogue Italian featuring black models sold out like hot cakes. I bought 2 copies, 1 for me and a friend.

    Just reading the comments on the first link, i really don’t think I would want a black person to even run Vogue Africa unless they were from Africa themselves. I saw comments about real hair vs. fake hair, and I know exactly where that will be heading next. That madness needs to stop because everyone in fashion is not using their real hair, let alone their real hair color. African-Americans have to much baggage especially to deal w/ the beauty of bw to even consider showcasing us, espeically in a good light. Just look what they are doing with Essence and some of their most ridiculous suggestions to meet men?

    If Vogue Africa is to exist, they better have an African person, especially a woman to run it. I know i might get slapped for saying it, but thus far I’ve seen more success for African/Carribean women magazines than that here in America such as Arise/SHE magazine.

    GoldenAh: When Alex Wek was featured on the cover of one high-end fashion magazine complaints poured in from black folks! They wanted someone that looked like Tyra or Beyonce. Phew.

    This is the only African fashion magazine I know about. I’m certain there are more.

    It takes a lot of big money to launch these things.

    Thanks for stopping by, Sky. 😀

  2. Oshun/Aphrodite
    August 1st, 2010 @ 5:02 PM

    I saw this beautiful picture at the top of this post and then I learn the real deal.

    “I’m curious and would like to ask: couldn’t he find investors in oil-rich Nigeria, diamond-rich South Africa, or booming Botswana to help out? I think his idea is outstanding. We can see from the cover and many more on some blogs – he obviously has the models and the talent.

    Why must black men always go to white men with a cup in hand begging for something when he already has all the resources he needs to get started?”

    You are so right. It seems this guy has all the raw ingredients to do what he needs to do. Why even consider Vogue? Why not knock Vogue out of the water?

    I remember I used to subscribe to a magazine for plus sized women bc it was high fashion and I never seen so many different types of women photographed so beautifully.

    I understand and don’t want to understand.

    “Her replacement can be those white women who sleep with black men featured on the cover of Essence, are given a black pass by blacks who put them on their blogs, defended by blacks who say silly things like “they’re not white”, and are called “black” due to negro-proxy*. That way Burt-Murray’s replacement wont actually be a white woman, but the modern-day black woman replacement we see featured everywhere. We wont even notice the difference.”

    LOL This is too funny!

    GoldenAh: 😀 Whenever I see that “she’s not white” mess I get an instant headache.

    I really can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a woman’s magazine. They all write about the same thing, over and over again.

    Thanks for the feedback, Oshun/Aphrodite! 😀

  3. Sky
    August 1st, 2010 @ 6:39 PM

    GoldenAh said…

    “Whenever I see that “she’s not white” mess I get an instant headache.”

    If that’s the case, next time say ‘well then, im not black’.

    GoldenAh: I think I may have enough Irish in my family tree to claim that too! LOL. 😀

    About the Alek Wek cover, I’m almost not surprised! Yet if they had put up Beyonce/Alicia Keys/Rihanna, they would be crying foul how light they are, and that whites are only comfortable w/ ligh skinned bw. Yet they feature the darkest bw w/ strong african features w/ no hair (call it natural), full lips, dark brown eyes and they’re upset??? No wonder Vogue doesn’t even bother! And frankly I don’t blame them.

    As far as Essence and their new fashion editor…whatever. I stopped reading essence years ago and couldn’t careless. they were never for bw every since they thought it would be a good idea to find bm in strip clubs (isn’t that a warning sign anyhow??). What they need is a new Magazine editor, this lady they have now needs to go. They need someone who is openedminded to new suggestions and new ideas. Essence has been recycling stories year after year. It’s time for something new and offer new and updated advice to bw.

    GoldenAh: I get it for free and don’t read it. I had to find out about the strip club thing online. 😀

    You have made such a good point. Aren’t we supposedly known for being fashion-forward daring people? Doesn’t mainstream America look to us for trends?

    Yet, why is this magazine (and some others) so backward? It’s bizarre, progressive, and conservative in all the wrong places. It makes no sense at all.

    Shrug. Oh well. I am like you. I feel if it goes under – I wont lose any sleep over it.

  4. Christelyn D. Karazin
    August 1st, 2010 @ 10:13 PM

    OMG Betty, you nailed it square on the head with Essence. Vehicles like this book serve as the Right Wing Wacko to our Progressive Movement. Here, Essence has the bird’s eye view of our communities crumbling, making excuses, propping up posers and telling us to settle. All the while, they stifle anything to the contrary. It’s disgusting.

    GoldenAh: Yup. Can’t argue with the truth. 😀

    Thanks for stopping by, Christelyn.

  5. Amanda
    August 2nd, 2010 @ 2:03 PM

    Just reading the comments on the first link, i really don’t think I would want a black person to even run Vogue Africa unless they were from Africa themselves.

    That’s why I don’t think a mag like Messence/Ebony/Jet would make it in Africa or at least not in the form we see here. The people there would be like WTH is this ish.lol

    What I wish is that AA’s here would get with photographers like Mario Epanya and create magazines for black women that are like Vogue, cosmo etc. that would put Essence out of business. Now that would be fun. We need to get with those photographers, writers etc. who will show us as beautiful women and not booty shaking etc. as was mentioned in the at one of the blogs that posted this.

    “I’m really sorry, but if it were a black man that discovered her (assuming he was willing to pay 50k on a black woman who failed the paperbag test), she may have been bent-over backup dancing in a music video with that same BM pouring Crystale on her breasts and throwing cash at her butt cheeks for all we know. She’d be discarded by black media, or if she was lucky, playing an “evil black female professional golddigger” in Tyler Perry’s latest film. When she discussed this publicly, she’d be called a bitter or an ungrateful jezebel who was jealous of the black women on the cover and in leading roles with wavy hair and hazel eyes, and was “bashing black men” for not being able to find respectable work. It’s not their fault people don’t think she’s attractive, right?”
    http://colorsevolving.blogspot.com/2010/07/in-defense-of-fashion.html How truthful is this? We know that would happen as has happened to so many beautiful, talented black women.

    http://www.afrobella.com/2010/07/21/vogue-africa-we-hardly-knew-ye/

    Thank you it’s like the musicians who would make demo tapes, cds etc. I would be like if you could do that why not just make an album. Many of these musicians recorded that demo tape on a tape recorder in their garage or that cd on a computer. They used their own resources to make that demo. Why not just make an album and market it etc. Now I don’t claim to know anything about the music business/magazines etc. it just gets me that people that know how to pull off demos etc. don’t create their own album or in this case magazine.

    There is http://genevievemagazineng.com/

    About the Alek Wek cover, I’m almost not surprised! Yet if they had put up Beyonce/Alicia Keys/Rihanna, they would be crying foul how light they are, and that whites are only comfortable w/ ligh skinned bw. Yet they feature the darkest bw w/ strong african features w/ no hair (call it natural), full lips, dark brown eyes and they’re upset??? No wonder Vogue doesn’t even bother! And frankly I don’t blame them.

    Same thing with movies like Hitch, The Princess and the Frog etc. With Hitch the studios had Smith pick a Latina because they found that black people would complain if she was black (especially dark skinned), they would complain if she was white etc. So they picked Latina and guess what black people still complained. Same thing with The Princess and the Frog. Then black people get upset when there are no black films coming out or black people in mainstream films. Why would these people want to deal with the hassle.

    That’s what happened to the blaxploitation movies (or black films movement of the 70’s)black people complained (folks like Jessie Jackson his claim they aren’t realistic, as then the hero wins etc.)Now yes many of these movies were stereotypical, but well we didn’t own or run our own studios. Instead JJ should have made a movie at least to show what he considered a good movie. Booker T. Washington did this as a response to The Birth of a Nation. The project failed, but I have more respect for Booker T. Emmett Scott for at least trying. Anyways the studios realized that those $800,000 features (cheap compared to the white movies)made $10mill, but black people went to white films just as much as the black ones so they scrapped the black ones. We lost our chance to work our way up to actually having some power in the industry.

  6. Amanda
    August 2nd, 2010 @ 5:38 PM
  7. Likewaterforchocolat
    August 4th, 2010 @ 11:31 AM

    I agree, but it is easier to say, “just start your own mag” than do it and be hugely successful. Because that is exactly what I believe that a project like this should be. He has the models, talent etc. to start his own mag, but another point of view is that the Vogue brand is continental. All races buy this magazine. And all races should buy a Vogue Africa mag. The same cannot be said for Messence. Partnering with them would be smart for a Vogue Africa mag would garauntee more exposure and capital to ensure that they could break into more print markets than an upstart that no one has ever heard of (see also, Sky’s comment about Suede). Because just as Sky revealed she purchased 2 copies of Vogue Italy and lives right here in the states. I agree with having an African control it also.

  8. goldenah
    August 4th, 2010 @ 2:02 PM

    Likewaterforchocolat, I hear what you’re saying. 😀

    I think Vogue Italy was a success due to an element of rarity. Everyone was coming out to view an unusual event.

    Vogue is a very successful brand. The people who run Conde Nast are experts in the magazine business. Launching a new high-end fashion magazine is not for the faint of heart or light of pocket.

    From my cynical point of view, I don’t see a billion dollar entity willing to invest over $100 plus million to launch Vogue Africa. I don’t see them willing to put an African woman of color on the cover of this expensive, experimental investment on each and every issue. Sometimes when I quickly glance at the magazines on racks all I see is white / pink and blond / brunette. Most of these magazines belong to Conde Nast.

    If Vogue Africa existed, I believe at some point – if profits stayed soft or nil – they would decide it’s best to put well known, or African born, white models on the cover. Inside will be the usual shoots of whites in native gear frolicking among the Africans (in their usual place as part of the scenery), and stories about the best places for tourists to be treated like royalty (with the usual focal point of whites at leisure among blacks). Plus, they’re wouldn’t let Africans control this business enterprise, purse strings, or editorial direction.

    I’m not saying it’s impossible for this Vogue Africa to happen, with or without Conde Nast at the helm. I’m all for a high-end black African fashion magazine.

    However, I’ve worked for luxury retail companies. Although they’re used at times, people of color are the very last thing they want associated with part of their brand images. And these retailers are the ones advertising in and funding these high end fashion magazines. I would include Oprah, but she’s an exception, and I don’t think she fits our discussion.

    We have to understand, if we want control over quality and editorial direction, black people have to start it, fund it, and run it. And I totally agree with you: There’s no rule that says the business magazine experts (of any race, even from Conde Nast) cannot be used as consulting resources on this effort.

  9. Southland Diva
    August 4th, 2010 @ 9:13 PM

    I like the flip magazine idea. Thanks Amanda for the links.

    GoldenAh: I second that. Amanda (BWMM) provides a great deal of excellent links. 😀

    I love the idea of a Vogue-like magazine featuring African women or women of African descent. I could see myself subscribing……well……unless the articles were foolishness like that served up by the current crop of magazines geared toward black folks.

    Finding investment capitol for a start-up magazine featuring high-quality photos (non-degrading, non-dehumanizing) of black women is difficult in the best of times, in the current economy??? Not likely.

    GoldenAh: And buying high-res pictures from sources like Getty Images isn’t cheap.

    Too bad billionaire Sidney Harmam, who just bought Newsweek, couldn’t be approached to spend his money on a magazine such as this. Newsweek isn’t a money-making operation and is more or less a vanity purchase.

    Peace

    GoldenAh: You and I are on the same wavelength! 😀 We all must have had the same thought the minute we heard the news. I was thinking the same thing. ‘Cause for him it’s just “play money.” I need to be friends with someone like that: Where do these guys hang out at? I have to get out more.

    Harman is exactly the kind of person I could see being persuaded to invest into this kind of venture. It could be a high-end fashion mag, and still cover hard hitting world news at the same time. It’d make a nice blend.

    See how quickly we black women can solve problems? 😀

  10. Anonymous
    August 7th, 2010 @ 8:29 AM

    i love your blog, please check my blog out

    http://britishstreetfashion.blogspot.com/

  11. Amanda
    August 7th, 2010 @ 12:41 PM

    You’re welcome. I was looking for a magazine. Can’t remember which and ended up on a magazine site and all of the issues were in page flip style. I fell in love. I wish I remembered the site.

    There are also examples online mags like Clutch that have great website designs and of course wordpress. I have the free version so I can’t use the templates. Well you can find wordpress templates that have been converted to blogger.

    Anyways I would love to see magazines, websites, talk show types etc. that promote movies etc. but a totally new movie industry separate of Hollywood.



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