I saw a blog post at the fashionblog Make Fetch Happen about a new publication from the Nigerian newspaper ThisDay. It is called Arise, “the first global magazine dedicated to the achievements in African fashion, music, culture and polity.”

In their promotion there seems to be double emphasis on the magazine’s Africaness and it’s Globalness (the word’s world, global, and African are used over and over again in different iterations in their blurbs). What I gleaned from the promotion is that the magazine is meant to both serve to an African audience and discuss the high-popular culture of their world and to introduce African high-popular culture to the global high-popular culture world. 

I was very much struck by Arise’s first cover: 

The cover models, Naomi Campbell, and Liya Kebede and Alek Wek, also “talk about their personal visions for Africa.” I’m a bit puzzled why Naomi Campbell, who is of Jamiacan/English descent included with Ethopian Kebede and Sudanese Wek talking about her vision of Africa. 





Naomi seems to have a sorta motherly role, placed at the top of the triangle with each arm around a model.

The cover must also be taken against the ongoing discussion in the fashion world about using models of color. There has been a a disturbing lack of models of  color in print ads and on the runway. This issue of Italian Vogue’s  that uses only black models in response.


2 Responses

  1. I think Naomi Campbell is featured on the cover and talks about Africa because 1) she is from African descent and 2) she is one of the pioneers for Black models. In class I know we make the distinction between the continent and the diaspora (Americas, Caribbean, etc.) but in the modeling industry I think there is less talk about origin, especially when it has to do with skin color. If we didn’t know Naomi was from Jamaican/English descent, we could easily assume she was African. In the pic, she looks really similar to Kebede who is indeed African. Without the outside knowledge we would all agree she was Black and in this case, it doesn’t matter from where. In the modeling world or, more generally, on paper, it matters most that you signify with your looks.

  2. It seems that the magazine’s decision to include Campbell serves that aims of the magazine to introduce and integrate African high-popular culture into the global high-popular culture.

    As the first person who commented mentioned, in the world of fashion there is often little discussion of origin, there are white models and black models. Thus, as the fashion world seeks to integrate more color into the pages of its advertisement it is of little importance where this color comes from.

    By including Campbell, we see a more global representation of black women, whether of African descent or not. 2/3 of the models are actually African, which seems appropriate for a Nigerian magazine. By including a model who is an “outsider” by heritage, but a member of the colored fashion world the magazine simultaneously communicates its acceptance of global influence while strongly maintaining a grip of its African authenticity.

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