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'Black' Kate Moss brings backlash

Editing by gimmick has its dangers as Simon Kelner found out this week when he handed the paper over to “guest designer” Giorgio Armani. The result of the worthy second Red edition to highlight HIV/Aids in Africa has been controversy over the picture of a blacked-up Kate Moss.

Kelner, the paper’s editor-in-chief must be reflecting on his words of a week before: “Giorgio Armani will bring his own, highly distinctive view of the world, and his unique creative vision to the pages of the newspaper, and there promise to be some spectacular visual treats.”

Certainly a spectacular visual but many did not regard it as a treat. Sunny Hundal, editor of Asians in Media, writing in the Pickled Politics blog said the edition was an “absolute travesty”. He went on: “Could they not find a black model to represent Africa? A lame and typical example of liberal guilt “we-feel-sorry-for-you” racism. It would have been better for the Indy to not even bother.”

The attack was led by Hannah Pool in Friday’s Guardian. She is a black journalist who writes about make-up among other things, not a woman who rails at every perceived infringement of political correctness. She wrote:

What exactly is this picture of Moss-as-African-woman supposed to portray? I suppose it is meant to be subversive, but what does it say about race today when a quality newspaper decides that its readers will only relate to Africa through a blacked-up white model rather than a real-life black woman? What does it say about the fight against HIV/Aids if that is the only way to make us care? And, as a black woman (born that way), what does this trick say about me?

It is almost 30 years ago that the BBC took off its long-running Black and White Minstrel Show. And that was too late according to many at the time.

Back copies of The (Red) Independent including a “free” Kate Moss poster are available at £10 from read4charity.

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  1. Telegraph Blogs: Technology: Shane Richmond: September 2006: During the break says

    […] Shane Richmond Blog Home Shane Richmond More Technology blogs Shane has been News Editor of Telegraph.co.uk since December 2005. Having first joined the Telegraph in 1998, he left for a brief stint as Editor of an internet start-up before returning in 2001. He writes about media, technology and blogging. Technorati Profile Email this page RSS feed for this blog Print this page During the breakPosted by Shane Richmond at 26 Sep 06 10:55  Tags: RSS, Google News, Independent, Kate Moss, Apple, Ross Mayfield, iTunes 7I spent most of yesterday reading through a pile of emails and having catch-up meetings with assorted people so I had no time to post. But I’m back now, suitably relaxed after a fortnight off, and ready to get blogging again.First off, I must thank Ross Mayfield for his stirling job as guest blogger over the past couple of weeks. He offered some fascinating insights into social media and I hope you enjoyed reading them as much as I did.A lot happened while I was away, not least on Telegraph blogs where we have added another four blogs. Our growth spurt is almost done, so those of you who are feeling a little overwhelmed by the volume of posts will be able to catch up.Here’s a round-up of things that caught my eye over the past two weeks:For those of you who are still struggling to understand RSS, try this explanation from the Back in Skinny Jeans blog. It’s jargon-free, so much so that it will probably make techies cringe, but it’s one of the simplest explanations I’ve seen.The misunderstanding of Google News continues. A Belgian court ordered Google to remove several newspapers from the news section of its site. I’ve said before that these demands are astonishingly short-sighted and some are portraying the ruling as a victory for Google.The World Association of Newspapers has responded with a plan to create a system that will allow publishers to decide what search engines can do with their content. As the Google Operating System blog points out, this seems to be entirely redundant.The Independent published another Red edition last week – another topic I’ve covered in the past. This one featured an ill-advised cover photo of a blacked-up Kate Moss. Andrew Grant-Adamson has a good overview of the backlash.Finally, Apple launched iTunes 7 while I was away. For many people, including me, the software is badly broken. You can read the full explanation on my personal blog. At the time of writing, iTunes still has not been fixed.Posted by Shane Richmond at 26 Sep 06 10:55Post to: del.icio.usDiggNewsvineNowPublicRedditComments [0]Back to top […]

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