Monday, March 31, 2008

LeBron James and Gisele on the April 2008 cover of Vogue

This picture of basketball star LeBron James and supermodel Gisele Bündchen (so well known that's she's called by her first name only) on the April 2008 issue of Vogue has become controversial:

One African-American commentator said it played upon stereotypes of the sexuality of the African-American male that appears threatening to whites. He also said that the photo reminded him of King Kong and the woman whom King Kong takes captive!

I am ill-equipped to address the African-American experience. It's hard, for example, to accept Michelle Obama's comment that she is proud of her country for the first time in her life. I try to explain it as more a sense of alienation (despite her privileged Ivy League education) than a lack of patriotism.

I'd like to hear from readers what they think about the cover of the April 2008 issue of Vogue. Do you see a subtext here?

1 comment:

Retainer Girl said...

Well, I don't want to go off on a tanget, but I've been exposed to the African-American experience, as you say, through my graduate studies and my professors, one of whom is an activist. On the surface, such a cover picture may seem harmless, but the subtle underlying message is still there, and it's something African Americans deal with daily. Patricia Hill Collins' Black Sexual Politics is a fascinating study on these issues: racism, gender, culture, media portrayals, etc. It is quite interesting for a heavy academic read and is well worth the effort.

Tanget over. :D