Monday, August 23, 2010

Diversity Does Matter, But Now in a Bad Way???

Recently, Essence magazine appointed Lilianna Placas as the new Fashion Editor. Doesn't seem like much of a big deal right, WRONG! This is indeed a HUGE deal. WHY? Ms. Lilianna is a white woman.
Essence Magazine is extremely involved in the life of African American Women and by doing so, the magazine "celebrates, empowers and inspires Black Women to be bold and beautiful." Knowing that Essence magazine stands for those things, it troubles some people to figure out why would such a magazine appoint a position that dictates the fashion of BLACK WOMEN to a WHITE WOMAN. People are criticizing Ms. Placas and stating that she is inadequate of this position because she "can not fully comprehend a black woman's often-fraught relationship with her hair, body and sexuality -- as her feelings about her appearance sometimes carry the echoes of history and racism. And finally, there was the unspoken irritation that once again, in the beauty competition, white trumped black -- this time, on the home court,"(Givhan - Washington Post).

Yes this is a very valid point, but why should we Criticize her for that reason? In the hiring process of this position, I am sure there were many other qualified people who were considered but, there had to have been something about Ms. Placas to make her stand out amongst the rest; and i do NOT mean her skin color. Before she was offered this position, She was a freelancer in the fashion department for six months, therefore she was not new to the company.

Second, why would such a magazine take a risk at hiring someone who they feel is in inadequate to complete a job in its business. On the September issue of Essence, Iman, Naomi Campbell and Liya Kebede are featured on the cover and they look fabulous. Not only do they look great but all the fashion featured in the issue corresponds. So apparently she is not that inadequate huh?

Third, if people are so for adding diversity to VOGUE, why are people not for Essence? It does not make any sense to me as to why when a black person is placed on the cover of VOGUE or if he or she has a high position in the company, it is praise worthy. But on the other hand, the situation is vice versa and people look down upon it and criticize.

Fourth, How is it that a white woman can not comprehend and black women's relationship to her hair, body and sexuality nor her feelings that sometimes carry echos of history and racism, when in THIS INDUSTRY, THE FASHION INDUSTRY have MEN who design and dictate and they neither can comprehend those things. It's the same thing right, but it's perfectly fine in that case.

Am I the only one who sees this?
What do you guys think?