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This White Model Is Rocking an Afro in Allure Magazine, and People Are Upset

Allure lost itself a few fans this month when it featured an Afro in its August 2015 issue — on a white model.

The beauty magazine included what it's calling a "Loose Afro" among its '70s-inspired hair how-to's. But as several Twitter users pointed out, the classic Afro style wasn't worn by a black model. Nor, as BuzzFeed reported, was the black history of the Afro mentioned whatsoever.

Instead, the hairstyle is simply billed as "not an introvert's hairstyle."

When inspiration is appropriation: As Twitter lets out a collective sigh and shakes its head, we can recount the endless ways we've been here before. In the ongoing conversation about cultural appropriation, women's hair has been a particularly common subject when "mainstream" media outlets cover traditionally black styles without acknowledging their history — or worse, acting as if the longtime style has been newly discovered. (Hence the term "Columbusing.")

The most notable example is Marie Claire's misstep in describing cornrows simply as "bold braids" taken to "a new epic level." As the Huffington Post's Julee Wilson wrote, "There is nothing 'new' about the plaits or anything 'epic' about the way Kendall is rocking them. Cornrows have been around for ages and are credited most to the black community."

Similar oversights included Vogue declaring the "big booty" as a rising trend or Elle comparing Timberland boots to "the new Birkenstocks" in a trend piece. The tendency not only glosses over the cultural history of a style, but also seems to take credit for it. As the bloggers of observed in response to the latest snafu, "First they laugh, then they copy... #blackwomenaretastemakers."


When the faces don't match the hair: Allure's other misstep was actually one made by Teen Vogue earlier this summer: highlighting a traditionally black style without actually highlighting a black woman wearing it. In June, Teen Vogue featured a light-skinned, mixed-race model for a story about Senegalese twists. "The problem, though, is that some say the model doesn't look black enough," wrote Elaine Welteroth (who herself is biracial).

There are already so few women of color featured in magazines, highlighting a classically black hairstyle would seem to be the rare opportunity where black models could have a real shot.

The "Loose Afro" is a part of the magazine's "Retro Modern" '70s-inspired styles, which seem to feature only white women.

That lack of black models is particularly acute in beauty magazines like Allure, in which acknowledging different skin tones and hair textures is actually crucial for dispensing advice.

But arguably the most disappointing part of the Allure Afro story for readers is the revealing headline, with enthusiastic phrasing — "You (Yes, You)" — that seems to assume the reader is white.

Despite the widespread backlash, the magazine stands by the story. In a statement sent to Mic, a rep for Allure said, "The Afro has a rich cultural and aesthetic history. In this story, we show women using different hairstyles as an individual expressions of style. Using beauty and hair as a form of self-expression is a mirror of what's happening in our country today. The creativity is limitless — and pretty wonderful."

It seems people were hoping Allure would get a little more creative in selecting its models and addressing its readers


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Comment by Jerimiah 1:4--10 on August 19, 2015 at 9:17pm
Some of you are too dam cumffy kicked back chillin and eating chitlins pickled pigs feet snout ears even the dam oink and you dont have the slightest clue of whats going on in the USA
Comment by Jerimiah 1:4--10 on August 19, 2015 at 9:12pm
First of all policing has changed, i beleive they have police operating as the multi Jurisdictional task force where cops are allowed to just kill you as you see all over the USA. The Authorities are using gradualism to phase out the peoples rights and bringing in draconian totalitarian system. They simply did not inform you about it, they are using the element of surprise as well, so wake the hell up, they just started forcing welfare recipients to accept a chip in their body to in order to get benefits, that is called the mark of the beast in the book of Revalations
Comment by Jerimiah 1:4--10 on August 19, 2015 at 9:03pm
The ones of you that take the information lightly and still in love with Amerikkka the beautiful sweet talking murderer, you have a rude awakening coming, though i would rather you be safe from it, do you think the blacks that are in mourning for their loved ones murdered by police knew that this was gonna happen to their families??? This is taking place all over the USA
Comment by Jerimiah 1:4--10 on August 19, 2015 at 8:55pm
@ pretty bbw, time to wake up honey, they hate us to the point of murder then leave the effing afro alone, we are being exploited and murdered at the same dam time, their making money selling the afro to other whites, first they were selling us, now they are gearing the system to put your pretty but back in slavery through the new revised sophisticated jim crow, i cant beleive its 2015 and some of you blacks are just oblivious to the war coming at your sleeping ignorance, get up out the bed of darkness honey step into the light please they have a new prison industrial complex for the new wave of slavery, some of you distant relatives are really unbelievable lol
Comment by Jerimiah 1:4--10 on August 19, 2015 at 8:44pm
@ Donique Whonder, you have not done your home work hon, who wants to be admired by a race of true criminals just give us our lands and riches back, the house negro needs the slave masters approval and admiration lol these people are murdering us again like its supm back in style, you dont understand there is a serious struggle going on, wake up miss time to get up honey.
Comment by Jerimiah 1:4--10 on August 19, 2015 at 8:36pm
@ Kay Kay, thank you for your support, sometimes discussing issues with pretty people is a full time job lol
Comment by kay kay on August 19, 2015 at 2:50am

lol these people are hilarious the unconscious ones that is who is imitating exactly cause I know for sure I am not and never will. all weaves don't come from white people so lets get that understood but over stand that a lot of black women grow very long natural hair no chemicals or weaves okay and thanks...true beauty and admiration start with self some just don't know their self worth. well any who..

Comment by prettybbw on August 19, 2015 at 2:31am
I never felt any white or any race superior to me..and why are their always post about blacks being upset about a " white woman" doing this or that...actually less give a damn than the fools who post this shyt make it seem , our people aren't jealous of whites..we just don't appreciate being disrespected..
Comment by Donique Whonder on August 15, 2015 at 8:45am
Exactly at Desmond its like some of us want to be separated and treated as if we don't belong and don't deserve the right to be admired. They don't get it.
Comment by kay kay on August 15, 2015 at 3:57am

Lol I agree Totally @Tony MJ

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