I guess I didn't get the memo - Is minstrelsy back?

BlogHer Original Post

[img_assist|fid=1765|thumb=1|alt=Kate Moss]
On the Thursday issue of UK's Independent newspaper, Kate Moss appeared on the front page to highlight the special edition of the paper that focused on Aids in Africa. I guess they couldn't find an African model in London that day.

Tomi Ayayi, a reporter for rival paper The Guardian had this to say:

What exactly is this picture of Moss-as-African-woman supposed to portray? I suppose it is meant to be subversive, but what does it say about race today when a quality newspaper decides that its readers will only relate to Africa through a blacked-up white model rather than a real-life black woman? What does it say about the fight against HIV/Aids if that is the only way to make us care? And, as a black woman (born that way), what does this trick say about me?

There has been previous dust-ups with white celebrities (most notably Gwyneth Paltrow)in ads during the International Aids Awareness week with the caption, "I am African."

I have just one question - okay maybe two. Do media heads really think that people will have more empathy for the plight of African Aids victims by using white celebrities in their ads? I mean, I have my own (or at least what I thought were) paranoid beliefs about race relations, and this ad sadly reinforced them.Hmm, maybe plastic sugery isn't such a bad thing after all.

Second, are people that goddamned ignorant to either not know or conveniently forget that while minstrelsy was a popular form of entertainment in the 1800's, it also reinforced racist stereotypes? Are we supposedly so socially evolved that now we can now conveniently forget that? Or are these adds an indication that people simply don't give a s#$t?


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