The Obama’s article of black’s embracing white fashion is Not Racist according to Elle, “It was about putting the spotlight on the Obama’s who are fascinating the worlds of fashion and entertainment.” Those were the argument of French fashion bible Elle who has repudiated charges of racism after unleashing a storm by suggesting that a black American elite, inspired by the Obama couple, was finally embracing “white” fashion.
The January 13th blog post that was titled “Black fashion power” has drawn streams of angry complaint on both sides of the Atlantic, with the New York Daily News tabloid saying it accomplished the task to “insult black Americans as a whole”.
In the article, which Elle’s has sine removed from its website, journalist Nathalie Dolivo refers to singers Erykah Badu or Rihanna and the actress Zoe Saldana, as black Americans who understood “the importance of style”.
According to her words, “In an America governed for the first time by a black American president, chic has become a plausible option for a community up until then bound by its streetwear codes”.
She contended that “In 2012, the ‘black-geoisie‘ has integrated all the white codes … but with a twist, bourgeois with an ethnic reference that recalls their roots.”
The Huffington Post US website criticised the article last week, saying a clumsy attempt to applause black style had “unravelled into a string of controversial, stereotypical and insulting statements.”
Huffington Post threw in the question, “So, being chic and sophisticated beyond jeans and a T-shirt has only been an option for black people since 2008 when Michelle Obama became First Lady?”
According to French star journalist Audrey Pulvar, one of the rare black faces in France’s media landscape, the article is “racist and imbecilic”.
In a statement delivered on Wednesday night, the body acting on behalf of journalists in the style weekly defended their title.
“No ‘Elle’ is not racist,” the Société Des Journalists said in a statement, maintaining the magazine had “never stopped campaigning for the dignity of all women for more than 60 years.”
Elle editor Valerie Toranian also published an online apology, saying the weekly was “deeply sorry” to have triggered offence, and has invited an anti-racism body to take part in a debate about the article.
In a new post on Elle’s site, Dolivo also apologises for the piece, saying it was an endeavour to take a “positive” look at US society and style.
She wrote that “It was about putting the spotlight on these new figures who are unsettling and fascinating the worlds of fashion and entertainment.”