Seven years ago, the world heaved a collective gay gasp at Vogue Italia's landmark "Black Issue" — an answer to crticism often lobbed at the fashion industry's lack of diversity — featuring a few dozen of the world's biggest and most beautiful models of color.
We had some legends:
Naomi Goddamn Campbell
Tyra Banks, reminding us all what initially paid the bills
And we had some legendary upcoming children:
Sessilee Lopez, serving you Grace Jones pulling up to the bumper
And even former America's Next Top Model also-ran Toccara
It was a moment, it was epic and it was everything. Seven years later, though, little has changed. Naomi Campbell is still killing it and everyone else:
Here she is at 802 years young, slaying at Givenchy — one of the few brands that regularly casts models of color in runway shows and campaign ads. But black models still find it hard to find acceptance, as Nykhor Paul, a South Sudanese stunner, revealed when she dropped the mic on the fashion industry earlier this week:
Dear white people in the fashion world! Please don't take this the wrong way but it's time you people get your shit right when it comes to our complexion! Why do I have to bring my own makeup to a professional show when all the other white girls don't have to do anything but show up wtf! Don't try to make me feel bad because I am blue black its 2015 go to Mac, Bobbi Brown, Makeup forever, Iman cosmetic, black opal, even Lancôme and Clinique carried them plus so much more. there's so much options our there for dark skin tones today. A good makeup artist would come prepare and do there research before coming to work because often time you know what to expect especially at a show! Stop apologizing it's insulting and disrespectful to me and my race it doesn't help, seriously! Make an effort at least! That goes for NYC, London, Milan, Paris and Cape Town plus everywhere else that have issues with black skin tones. Just because you only book a few of us doesn't mean you have the right to make us look ratchet. I'm tired of complaining about not getting book as a black model and I'm definitely super tired of apologizing for my blackness!!!! Fashion is art, art is never racist it should be inclusive of all not only white people, shit we started fashion in Africa and you modernize and copy it! Why can't we be part of fashion fully and equally?
But on the other hand, Rihanna is the first black muse at Dior, perhaps the most storied house in fashion. Sure, she's not a model by profession — though I'm not really sure what RiRi's profession is besides Bad Bitch — but it is a sign of increased diversity. Still, nothing can or will ever top this:
Les Fabian Brathwaite — model-mogul.