It wasn’t blackface; they just gave her a tan!
At least that's the photographer of Numero's controversial African Queen spread wants you to believe.
I would like to apologize for any misunderstanding around my recent photos for Numero France. It was never my intention (nor Numero’s) to portray a black woman in this story. Our idea and concept for this fashion shoot was based on 60's characters of Talitha Getty, Verushka and Marissa Berenson with middle eastern and Moroccan fashion inspiration. We at no point attempted to portray an African women by painting her skin black. We wanted a tanned and golden skin to be showcased as part of the beauty aesthetic of this shoot.
It saddens me that people would interpret this as a mockery of race. I believe that the very unfortunate title "African Queen" (which I was not aware of prior to publication) did a lot to further people’s misconceptions about these images. It was certainly never my intention to mock or offend anyone and I wholeheartedly apologize to anyone who was offended.
We're glad that this wasn't done knowing about the title of the spread, or so he says, but if that was the look they were going for, they should have either hired a model with a natural golden glow or find someone who knew how to give a decent spray tan.
The other issue is that it isn’t really Kim’s battle; it’s Numero’s! They're the ones who titled and printed it. And it certainly doesn't help that they have a history of pulling things like this.
We're dying to know what the mag has to say about this.
[Image via Sebastian Kim/Numero France magazine.]