Dear Vogue Italia, Slave Earrings? Here’s TWO Seats to Have

[ 17 ] August 22, 2011 |

So sometimes, stuff is published on major outlets that is just sooo jarring and stupid that I am just convinced it was a mistake. Or written for The Onion. This is one of them.

Vogue Italia published an article on their site featuring hoop earrings. And instead of calling them just that, they decided to go with the title of “Slave Earrings.” THIS is why they’ve earned a sternly-worded letter.

Dear Vogue Italia,

I am here to offer you TWO seats in the upper deck: \__ \__. I need your entire staff (from Editor to intern) to occupy these seats and re-assess your lives. Like really. Have ALLA the seats. Y’all did the most with the entire least.

Slave Earrings Vogue Italia

Oh. (-___-)

SLAVE EARRINGS??? In REAL LIFE? In 2011 A.D.?

Slave Earrings Vogue Italia

Screenshot of the story

Y’all actually said “If the name brings to the mind the decorative traditions of the women of colour who were brought to the southern Unites States during the slave trade, the latest interpretation is pure freedom.”

What in THEE ENTAH hell? These earrings are “pure freedom?” Lemme find out that all you needed to be FREE and colored in the 1700 and 1800s was some raggelly hoop earrings.

“Slave and creole” styles? Praytell. WHAT ARE THOSE??? I had no idea that slavery influenced circle earrings. The only things circular bout slavery were the shackles on Black folks’ feet. And the cotton we had to pick. F*CK DOES THAT GOTTA DO WITH ACCESSORIES, DOE?!?

Harriet Tubman ain’t find Sojourner’s Truth, while hitting Frederick’s Douglass for Vogue Italia to relegate hoop earrings to emancipation papers. SHE AIN’T! I didn’t realize hoop earrings were a way to #PayAmish to our shackled up forefathers.

And I am a LOVER of hoop earrings. The fact that y’all have now labeled them as slave chic doesn’t please me not one bit. AND I hope y’all don’t have white folks thinking them wearing hoop earrings means they can oppose affirmative action without guilt or that they can say the n-word since they’re down for the cause. YES I SAID IT! Yes, I’m reaching. SHARRAP! I know.

Ennehweighs, I don’t have time.

This is some ol’ insensitive boolsheet. Who thought this was a good idea? What editor signed off on this story ever seeing the light of day??? How did not ONE person go “you know, this might not be the best story idea?” NOT N’AN PERSON!

Vogue Italia, please stop trying to “honor” us by printing trite and racist ass articles all in the name of “diversity.” Y’all did Vogue Black. *insert applause here* BUT I know there are some Black folks you can hire in Italy to help y’all diversify your stories. And some Black folks can even be paid to let you know when you’re doing too much. Like now.

And to every other company and publication. I know your “Black” and “Urban” initiatives are REALLY trendy right now. But what AIN’T cool is how y’all are offending the hell out of us while tryna do these janky ass campaigns (see: Nivea Ad). STOP FAILING IN THE NAME OF DIVERSITY! Just disrespectful dinnamug!

Seriously. Don’t do us any favors. Especially these kind. We’re good on that. No thanks.

Just saddown. Over there. In the corner.

Yours in side-eye and cliche neck-swerving,








P.S. And the fact that they tagged the story with “slave” and “creole” makes me just wanna cuss. SOMEONE COME GET VOGUE ITALIA OUT THE PAINT!!!

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Category: Letter

Comments (17)

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  1. PBG says:

    You said it all, LuvBug. This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve seen since…last week! *side-eyes Nivea* . Jesus be some cultural sensitivity seminars! I simply cannot! Ugh.

  2. Brianna Leigh says:

    I swear, these companies must not have ANY black people in the PR department. Epic failure.

    • lexi says:

      I was thinking the same thing, all types of mess getting past which shouldve been stopped and redone before hitting the press smdh!!! who approves these ads/articles?!!! smdh

  3. mochazina says:

    imma be ya sidekick: YEAH!!! What she said!!!

  4. Sha Sha says:

    No seriously. This was a joke right. 0__0 Okaaaaay….I just can’t.

  5. Kay says:

    You know what??? Naw, neva mind, cause I can’t even form a complete thought about this bullshit here….

  6. donell says:

    vogue is either brilliant. or dumb. or brilliantly dumb. their comment thread is on fiyah. but notice how they limit the comments to six per page – i.e. click rates go through the roof as everyone clicks through all 11 ‘pages’ (and growing) of comments.

    so at first – vogue (i) said it was a lost in translation error from the italian word for slave, which didnt mean slavery as we american black mean it.

    roooooooight. but if that was the case, then why the ref to “women of colour brought to the southern United States during the slave trade?”

    perhaps its *that* reference that made us ‘over-sensitive’ american blacks think you were talmbout slavery, the southern u.s. version.

    and so now vogue (i) has edited the description (good lookin out with the screen capture luvverly!) and completely removed the ‘mistranslated’ word slavery…but still references “the women of colour who were brought to the southern Unites States during the late 18th century”…

    O.O.

    oh – what…you over sensitive american blacks aint know that ‘bringing’ late 18th century women of colour to extended and lavish vacations in the southern United States was what was hot in them 1800 (unpaved) streets?

    • adwoa says:

      For the rekkid: the Italian word for slave is schiavo; slavery is schiavitu’. And it has the same damn meaning in Italian as in English.

      I bet you all the euros I never got paid from one of the janky schools where I worked that what Vogue meant by “slavery doesn’t have the same connotations” is that in Ancient Rome (because bitches always want to take it back to fucking Caesar to prove they’re right), slavery was based more on class than on color, and that there were also white slaves.

      All of which has exactly zero to do with the fact that those earrings are based, by their admission, on a romanticized version of the southern American experience. SPEAKING OF WHICH, I think the Dirty Pretty Thangs post on the subject sums shit up better than I could about why that’s whack in and of itself:

      “No white slave traders ever said to African women “Oh, well ma’am…I’m going to take you over to the Americas and sell you into a lifetime of bondage, servitude and horrific violence, but you can keep those nice gold hoop earrings you’re wearing.””

      http://www.dirtyprettythangs.com/2011/08/21/rip-the-runway-vogue-slavery-earrings-really/

    • minacakes says:

      Those edits are no better. “Ethic” earrings? Why not do your homework (THIS IS A FASHION MAGAZINE NOT KNOWING WHERE HOOP EARRINGS ORIGINATED????) and just reference where they came from. If inspiration came from African women- say that. That whole slave trade bullish is completely ridiculous and changing the words “slave trade” to “18th century” just shows they still don’t have a damn clue.

  7. Cheekie says:

    Slave earrings, doe. Like, this really happened. It’s really happening. Girl, I cannot with their explanation. That is even more ridiculous than the name itself. It’s like digging themselves into a hole.

    Slave earrings are the circle of strife. SMDH.

  8. Nana says:

    No words. None. I mean really Vogue Italia?

  9. adwoa says:

    As a woman of color who just fled Italy like the mediterranean was on fire – largely because I got too damn tired of getting constantly solicited for prostitution due to my African features (I was working AS AN ENGLISH TEACHER FOR GOD’S SAKE) – I can unfortunately confirm that this shit is pretty much par for the course.

    Most Italians believe that American ideals of cultural sensitivity amount to a false sense of political correctness, and that it’s instead much healthier to just wade into all kinds of offensive bullshit because at least the sentiment is authentic. (All this while not really hiring people of color for high-level positions in just about any industry… all of which leads to an insensitive national clusterfuck of epic, boot-shaped proportions.)

    The most unfortunate part of all of this – and there’s a lot of competition there – is that I guarantee you that after all the fuss dies down, no one at Vogue Italia and most of their Italian reading audience will still have no idea of why this was offensive or wrong. Shaking my head: but thanks for the reminder of why I’m glad I came home.

  10. Omozo says:

    E be like say una get plenti ode for obodo oyinbo o! Who are the geniuses that came up with this? Like the Nivea Ad from last week? (http://onaturals.blogspot.com/2011/08/nivea-goes-and.html) I tell you, people are just ignoring the caution signs!

  11. Uhm…what part of slavery did we get to wear gold and jewels and Iced out Jacob pieces and shit? What part of slavery are they taumbout cause I missed it??? I mean seriously…. *sigh*. They were doing so well with the Vogue Black. Now this…just set ups back 1875 years. *smh*

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