Chanel Iman, Jourdan Dunn, Ajak Deng, Joan Smalls, Melodie Monrose, Arlenis Sosa Pea, Georgie Baddiel, Kinee Diouf, Lais Ribeiro, Mia Aminata Niaria, Rose Cordero and Sessilee Lopez all appear in this month’s stunning, all-black editorial for Vogue Italia. There’s no arguing that these beauties are some of the top black models of the decade, which is exactly why the magazine chose to honor them in this spread, aptly titled The Black Allure.
But to play devil’s advocate, I can’t help but wonder if it’s doing more harm than good to features models in these one-race-spreads that seem to be so prevalent lately. And this doesn’t only pertain to black models in particular, but rather, any ethnicity that departs from the conventional white female. For instance, take the December 2010 all-Asian editorial, Asia Major, in American Vogue. While the spread is meant as a form of recognition and praise for these “non-traditional” faces, it can also be construed as a way of lumping an entire race of models in one place. I applaud these magazines for embracing all races, but are these one-race issues actually as inclusive as they’re intended to be, or are they in some way segregating these models into their own category?
The argument could be made that by putting a qualifier like “black” before top models, we’re lessening the amount of success they’ve achieved in their field, race aside. That said, why shouldn’t we refer to someone as talented as Melodie Monrose as a top model instead of a topblack model? No matter what side of the argument you fall on, there’s no denying that we’re seeing more diversity in the modeling world than we’ve ever seen in history. And I, for one, can’t wait to see what these beautiful ladies have in store for us. Click through to see the rest of the striking images from Vogue Italia’s spread for Black History Month.
All Photos: Emma Summerton, Vogue Italia February 2011