Allure Catches Hell For Teaching White Women How To Get An Afro Givenchy1
Allure magazinefinds itself in the middle of a stormy response to a hair tutorial published in its August 2015 issue titled, "You (Yes, You) Can Have An Afro." The asterisk reads: "even if you have straight hair."The tutorial features photos of a white actress, Marissa Neitlingof "The Last Ship," and supplements a beauty feature called "Back To Cool" by Danielle Pergament. For the story, Givenchy HORIZON hairstylist Chris McMillan transforms the tresses of five Hollywood actresses into hairdos popularized in the '70s: the bowl cut, soft bends, long bangs and an Afro. "Black women didn't start wearing Afros to be cute," they note.The Afro style in particular would have been an amazing opportunity to use a black actress, and yet there were no actresses of color used in the feature. We were reminded of the recent situation in which Teen Vogue was criticized for using a white modelto showcase Senegalese twists.An Allure spokesperson told The Huffington Post the piece reflects the level of self expression "happening in our country today":"The Afro has a rich cultural and aesthetic history. In this story we show women using different hairstyle 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."
But notably, that appreciation of the Afro's "rich cultural and aesthetic" history wasn't mentioned in the piece, so paying homage to its beauty by offering steps for white women to emulate it without the appropriate historical context and respect is problematic.The tutorial also uses the derogatory term "rag curls" in reference to manipulating hair into an Afro. Again, Allure Catches Hell For Teaching White Women How To Get An Afro Givenchy we cringe. The line between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriationis not blurred it has been crossed. At the very least, the poor choice of wording and use of a white model is due to bad editing or a likely lack of diversity at the decision making level.Had Allure referenced its adoration for the Afro, perhaps this feature wouldn't be coming under quite as much fire.McMillan, the hairstylist who worked on the feature, told The Huffington Post that the use of the Afro on a white woman was inspired by Barbara Streisand in the movie "A Star Is Born." He also said that he's surprised by the negative response and wanted to read more about the controversy surrounding the Allure feature.
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