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Thread: LeBron James Vogue cover "perpetuating racial stereotypes"

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Default LeBron James Vogue cover "perpetuating racial stereotypes"

    When Vogue announced its April cover starring LeBron James and Gisele Bundchen, the magazine noted with some fanfare that James was the first black man to grace its cover.

    But the image is stirring up controversy, with some commentators decrying the photo as perpetuating racial stereotypes. James strikes what some see as a gorilla-like pose, baring his teeth, with one hand dribbling a ball and the other around Bundchen's tiny waist.

    It's an image some have likened to "King Kong" and Fay Wray.

    "It conjures up this idea of a dangerous black man," said Tamara Walker, 29, of Philadelphia.

    Photographer Annie Leibovitz shot the 6-foot-9 NBA star and the 5-foot-11 Brazilian model for the cover and an inside spread. Vogue spokesman Patrick O'Connell said the magazine "sought to celebrate two superstars at the top of their game" for the magazine's annual issue devoted to size and shape.

    "We think Lebron James and Gisele Bundchen look beautiful together and we are honored to have them on the cover," he said.

    James told The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer he was pleased with the cover, saying he was "just showing a little emotion."

    "Everything my name is on is going to be criticized in a good way or bad way," James told the paper. "Who cares what anyone says?"

    But magazine analyst Samir Husni believes the photo was deliberately provocative, adding that it "screams King Kong." Considering Vogue's influential history, he said, covers are not something that the magazine does in a rush.

    "So when you have a cover that reminds people of King Kong and brings those stereotypes to the front, black man wanting white woman, it's not innocent," he said.

    O'Connell, the Vogue spokesman, declined further comment.
    In a column at ESPN.com, Jemele Hill called the cover "memorable for all the wrong reasons." But she said in an interview that the image is not unusual -- white athletes are generally portrayed smiling or laughing, while black sports figures are given a "beastly sort of vibe."

    For example, former NBA star Charles Barkley was depicted breaking free of neck and wrist shackles on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Dennis Rodman graced the cover of Rolling Stone with horns poking out of his forehead and his red tongue hanging out.

    Images of black male athletes as aggressive and threatening "reinforce the criminalization of black men," said Damion Thomas, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at University of Maryland.

    But others say the image show James' game face -- nothing more. And they note that Bundchen hardly looks frightened.

    "James is a huge, black beautiful masculine statue and Gisele is a feminine, sexy gorgeous doll," said Christa Thomas, 36, a black account supervisor in Los Angeles.

    "I didn't see any kind of racist overtone to it," she said. "I still don't. I think there is such a hypersensitivity to race still in this country."

    Husni said it is too soon to know how the magazine is selling, though the controversy could increase sales as people rush out to get a "collector's edition."

    If nothing else, Walker said the cover underscores the need for a more diverse workplace.

    "If more people of color worked for Vogue in positions of editorial authority, perhaps someone in the room might have been able to read the image the way so many of us are reading it now, and had the power to do something about it," she said.

    LeBron James Vogue Cover Criticized For "Perpetuating Racial Stereotypes" - Media on The Huffington Post
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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    it's a basketball player bouncing a basketball with a hot chick on his arm.

    what am i missing?
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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    it's a basketball player bouncing a basketball with a hot chick on his arm.

    what am i missing?

    It's obviously racist, I mean look at it, the way he's snarling, the image of his arm around a white woman, the stereotype of the aggressive and angry black man, etc. etc.

    Damn it I'm telling you everything in life is racist.

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    Elite Member Mr. Authority's Avatar
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    Elite Member yanna's Avatar
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    I read this as "LeBon, Simon LeBon" and was wondering WTF Duran Duran have to do with racism.

    Doesn't look racist to me. Some people need to take a chill pill.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Wait,.. i knew it looked familiar...



    Propaganda poster from WW1...
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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    Well, he didn't have to do it. Be mad at him, not Vogue.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    I still fail to see how it's racist, if it's a knockoff of that poster then it was oiginally a bunch of whiter than white germans being bashed
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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    ^ Yeah, I don't see it either, but you know everything is this day and time.

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    Elite Member CherryDarling's Avatar
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    I've been curious to see this cover, hearing buzz about it for weeks now. I don't get the racist vibe?!
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    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    i dont get the racist tag. some asshole out there started this and it gets fueled to sell mags. its NOT racist.
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    Elite Member Dixie Normos's Avatar
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    Whoa! I so did not see the King Kong-ness of that coverpage. When I first read the title of this thread and glanced at the pic, I assumed the stereotype was that a rich, AA man would go in search of CA poon.
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    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    Ingi, your avi is cracking me the hell up!!! LOL
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    Elite Member suede's Avatar
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    Walker needs to have her head examined.
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