Emily Bador, a model from London, got ahead of the backlash brigade.
After becoming aware that a photo of hers was used as the feature cover photo on the December/January 2017 issue of Black Hair Magazine, she was horrified. The photo is undoubtedly gorgeous, but it's more than problematic to use a white woman's depiction of "natural hair" in a black-women-targeted magazine. Luckily, even if you don't think so, she does.
"I would deeply and sincerely like to apologize to every one for this, and black women especially," she began. "I would like to clarify, I believe this shoot is from when I was around 15 and didn’t understand cultural appropriation or the impact it has on POC. I was uneducated, which obviously is no excuse, ignorant and immature. Growing up in a very very white city, I had no idea the struggles black women face and how often they were persecuted for their hair."
"I didn’t understand how black women are constantly told their natural hair is inappropriate/unprofessional for the work place, or how young girls are told they can’t go to school with natural hair," she continued. "I didn’t understand that shoots like this support the very Eurocentric beauty standard that the mainstream media focus on which reinforce the idea that black features are only ok on white women. I didn’t understand that as a white passing woman I’d be praised for this hair, but if I was a black woman I’d be persecuted. I didn’t understand cultural appropriation."
"I do regret doing this," Emily wrote. "I hold up my hands, I’m so so so sorry and I’m very sorry this cover was taken away from a black woman. This image is (I think, although I’m not 100% sure) about 3/4 years old, it was never intended to be on the cover of this magazine. If I had known it was going to be published, I would never have condoned it. I’m upset and angry I was never asked by the photographer/hair salon/anyone if this image could be used for the cover [of] Black Hair."
"I’m so glad I’ve educated myself and surrounded my self with people to teach me what is right and wrong. I constantly am learning and becoming more and more informed. It’s important to come forward and be honest with ourselves about our past mistakes, otherwise we will never learn. Again, I’m truly, deeply sorry to anyone I’ve offended and I hope if nothing else this post can educated others so they don’t make similar mistakes. (also please let me know if I’ve said anything wrong or offensive in this post!!! or anything i can add!!!! i love u all sm and the last thing i want to do is offend or hurt any one, i really hope you don’t all think im a massive twat )"
It's pretty refreshing to read this, particularly the straight forward apology, without having to get a lashing from Black Twitter first. It's proof that even in Trump's America, the world is listening and learning and evolving. Emily, girl, you don't deserve a cookie, but I'd definitely buy you a drink! Cheers.