Independent blacks up Moss

// 22 September 2006

Yesterday the Independent devoted its entire front page to a “blacked up” photo of Kate Moss, supposedly to highlight the plight of African women.

It’s unfathomable to me how the Independent, usually so clued-up, could publish sometime so racist and offensive. And apparently I’m not the only one. In the Guardian today, Hannah Pool says:

What exactly is this picture of Moss-as-African-woman supposed to portray? I suppose it is meant to be subversive, but what does it say about race today when a quality newspaper decides that its readers will only relate to Africa through a blacked-up white model rather than a real-life black woman? What does it say about the fight against HIV/Aids if that is the only way to make us care? And, as a black woman (born that way), what does this trick say about me?

In Comment is Free, Helen Kolawole adds:

We can only assume that an image of, say, a real starving Sudanese child suckling her mother’s withered breast to illustrate African women’s plight would have been so-last-year.

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