Approximately a month ago, Vogue Italia ran a spread entitled “Haute Mess,” which captured high fashion models in “urban” hair, makeup, clothing, and settings. Needless to say, the photos came across as racist, and readers felt as if the magazine was mocking black women, and black culture? Undoubtedly, there was an abundance of backlash for the magazine. Well, in sort of a rebuttal, to Vogue Italia, Lady Gunn magazine is running a spread entitled ‘Chola’. Editor-in-Chief of Lady Gunn magazine, Koko Ntuen explains the meaning behind ‘Chola’ and the difference between the two spreads.
First things first, Ntuen made it clear that the spread running in Lady Gunn is in no way intended to poke fun at urban or Hispanic culture, but to highlight and “glamorize” it. She states, “[We wanted to] make the model look glamorous, and we’re not having her, like, eating tacos with all gold teeth and smiling mockingly at the camera. We’re just trying to show a beautiful side of every culture.” Also, when asked about the name of the spread, ‘Chola’, Ntuen compares it to using the N-word in the black culture, stating “I just feel like all these words are being desensitized, and I like what’s happening so they don’t hurt anyone anymore. I just feel like [chola is] an endearing term.”
Well one thing is for sure, the photos ran in Lady Gunn are of better quality, and don’t appear to poke fun at hispanic culture, just as Ntuen stated. However, will readers really understand Ntuen’s vision and take to the spread as intended? The models are decked in bandanas, Dickies, huge gold earrings, and the stylist went as far as adding Acne! Is acne considered glamorous? More than anything else, I’m anxious to recieve feedback to the title of the spread. Are people really desencitized to racist remarks and comments? Essentially, it’s as if a magazine ran a spread entitled “N***a,” and paired it with stereotypical images of black people. One can only imagine, that readers would be more upset than accepting. Let Uptown know what you think, check below for pictures from both spreads, and give us your opinion!