FROM WIRE REPORTS
Teen Vogue is catching flak for using fair-skinned models in its African braids feature.
The magazine received harsh criticism for excluding identifiable dark-skinned models in an article about Senegalese twists – a hairstyle popular among African-American women.
The June/July issue includes a personal anecdote by the magazine’s beauty and health director Elaine Welteroth. In the piece, she writes about having her hair braided in Rwanda and the reaction she received on her return to New York City.
While Welteroth, who is Black, uses her own pictures in the online edition of the story, the print version prominently features biracial model Phillipa Steele and only cites White and fair-skinned biracial women as examples of “Plaited Ladies.’’
Welteroth, who wrote the article, tried to defend the choice of model on her Instagram page, asking: “How do you define black?” she writes in response to one poster. “Just curious. Is it about skin color? Eye color? Hair texture? I ask because this mixed race model is as black as I am. Also, how do you define cultural appropriation? I ask only because I want to better understand your point of view.”
Many felt her response missed the point about the magazine deliberately choosing fair-skinned models.
One reader asked: “Why can’t I look in a magazine and see models who look like me?”
A report by Eurweb.com was used in this article.