ELLE Germany Takes A Big ‘L’ On Racism After Naomi Rants About Their Black Models Feature, But Did They Deserve It?

by Abigail Oluwakemi
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Ghana Racism In Fashion 

You know when a rant is really a rant, when the the typo errors are all over the place. You know when a rant is really a heartfelt rant? When the editor can’t be bothered to correct the typos. This is what happened when Naomi Campbell decided to give ELLE Germany a piece of her mind after the wrote a caption stating Black Is Back in their latest issue ‘Back To Black’.

BACKSTORY: So in a recent November edition of ELLE Germany titled ‘Back To Black’, the editors attempt to highlight how black models are not in fashion hence the title cover. Within the editorial and number of black models that hit the runway were also featured in the editorial.

The editorial team probably thought this would be an opportunity for them to be praised and somewhat erasing racial lines by making such a feature. Unfortunately this wasn’t the reality. The media went on a frenzy after Naomi Campbell took to social media to point out a few things that rubbed her up the wrong way.

Dear sabine nedelchev #ElleGermany This makes me so sad to see this, #bethannhardison #therealiman and I are here if you are not clear on the guide lines of diversity.. your mistake it is highly insulting in every way, .. you go further to say that BACK TO BLACK, even if you ment the fashion it’s is misleading on your headline and Type !! ! I’ve said countless of times we are not a TREND. We are here to STAY. It’s ok to celebrate models of color but please do it in an ELEGANT and RESPECTFUL way .
I too in my career have seen pictures of others models called me just because of the color of our Skin, and recently seen many pictures of models of color being called being #adutakech .. do you know what it feels like to do the job ( #naomichinwing ) and not even be given the right name credit ? . Very disappointing to say the least . If you would like a conversation to know how to have A diverse mind we are here to sit and accommodate . It’s very important for a publication to be culturally sensitive and give credit where it’s due . We all need to unite on this matter NAOMI THANK YOU #dietprada . #defendingmybabies ♥️

The magazine issues the following apology below on their instagram.

So here is out thoughts on this issue. In hindsight, Germany is not USA, nor even UK. There is a whole other level of racism in this European country. Don’t forget Germany is the home of Nazi’s. An issue dedicated to black models is far from offensive, even if not executed perfectly well.

Black models are only just getting their break in the German market, they might not be a fad in the USA, but currently in Germany (assuming) they might simply only be on their way up. A magazine highlighting this trend can only do nothing but encourage more German creatives and shows to embrace this ‘Trend’ Naomi says they aren’t. And if they aren’t a trend but here to stay then let it play out eventually as that. But for now, the objective is not to down the spirit of entities that are working their way up to support the new process of embracing the models.

It’s okay to point out the offensive racist act executed in editorials, but let’s not act like the boy that cried wolf and end up one day with people turning a blind eye when there is real racism lurking. ELLE Germany should be acknowledged for breaking out of the all white comfort zone, and the editor that is making this transition should also be recognized. Again, Germany is not USA.

With such a fiery attack from the public what is 1/ The likelihood that ELLE Germany will pursue another edition dedicated to black models? 2/ What is the likelihood that other editorials in Germany will follow this foot step to highlight black models? 3/ What is the likelihood that other fashion entities will feel ease to approach black models without the fear of being attached for racism for getting a name wrong?

We can play the race card, but let’s learn to pull it out at the right time. Vogue magazine has done much worst and continues to do much worst to the point we are even tired of writing about racist Vogue editorials but not once has Naomi hit hard on Vogue. Could this be because Vogue/condenast has played and intricate part of her carrier?

Ofcourse ELLE Germany should apologize for getting the model’s name wrong, asides that, they should have every right to promote black models how they see fit as long as they are not insulting or being condescending to the individuals or the race.

On the flip side, all these platforms, including Naomi who we love dearly but can’t exclude her, that are attacking ELLE Germany, at which point did you use your platform to support Black editorials, blogs or magazine? Oh that’s it never! Instead we continue to give leverage to European based editorials and then complain when they don’t do things how we like. Let’s stop living in a bubble. Thank you ELLE Germany for the feature, but get your facts and names right next time around.

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