Ebonee Davis found out that she was starring in Calvin Klein's Fall 2016 campaign the same day that Alton Sterling was shot and killed by police. The model has penned an open letter in Harper's Bazaar about racism and the fashion industry's responsiblity to address it.
"As artists in the fashion industry, we are the embodiment of free speech. We set the tone for society through the stories we tell—fashion, the gatekeeper of cool, decides and dictates what is beautiful and acceptable," she says. "It is no longer acceptable for us to revel in black culture with no regard for the struggles facing the black community."
The model cites inequity in fashion casting as well as larger issues about systemic violence and black incarceration. "Rather than perpetuating trite stereotypes that vilify people of color, we need to produce positive, accurate and inclusive imagery," she says. "My advice to makeup and hair artists: rebuild your repertoire of techniques. My advice to models, fashion designers, and public relation agencies: use your personal platforms to speak out against injustice and show your support rather than standing by in silence."
To anyone inspired or influenced by black culture--which is literally everyone--she says, "Most importantly, love black people as much as you love black music and black culture."
Read Ebonee's letter in its entirety here.