I came across the post on Refinery 29's Instagram account. The statement was focusing on NYFW (New York Fashion Week) and the lack of diversity in models during runway shows. The idea was that many top designers didn't use runway models of different ethnicities.
So, with that model Ashley Chew came up with an idea of creating "Black Models Matter" t shirts and can be purchased on her etsy account. I support this because being mixed heritage- Native American and Ukrainian I have experienced the same as a burlesque performer and as a model.
I remember responding to a casting call in which the photographer stated he wanted Native models, I wasn't chosen because he thought I didn't "look" Native; however, the model he did choose for the shoot had dark blonde hair and blue eyes...definitely not Native, clearly the model looked Caucasian.
I think with social media and in entertainment industry there is a set stereotype for what women should look like. I honestly believe in the burlesque community here is the same when it comes to women of ethnicity.
I remember one time during a show I was getting ready backstage and had another performer ask to touch my hair and couldn't understand why my hair was "natural".....I get it and I experience racism in many different other areas as well. I also remember in my first troupe experience there was an attempt to market me as a "ghetto black girl" because I'm not blonde and ridiculously pale. I obviously refused because I felt that was offensive because that is to assume all African-Americans like that particular culture which is not the case. People are people, some people may like that some may not but to generalize within itself is a form of racism and prejudice.
Naturally, I am a redhead...my natural hair colour is dark auburn. I have freckles and I tan. People assume about me a great deal. To this day, most people in the burlesque world here make assumptions about my heritage and don't even ask me what my heritage is and half the time they think I am making it up. I think to an extent acknowledging my heritage would mean closer to them, making me be something else makes others feel a sense of superiority. I'm not saying it does but many people think that way, sadly
So yes, racism still exists, cultural ignorance still exists. I am surprised how in this day and age how culturally ignorant people still are.
So instead of trying to market me as this race or that race, market me as a person...a human being, you know?
I commend Ashley and other models for speaking out about how yes, ethnic models are still over looked. Black models matter, Native models matter, Latina models matter.