Ebonee Davis: Confessions Of A Black Model
Ebonee Davis's 2016 penned letter, published in Harpersbazaar magazine, is relevant now more than ever. In the heartfelt letter, she spoke about something that many people of color have experienced at one time or another in life, assimilation.
"I was told that brands only booked black girls if they looked like they'd been 'plucked from a remote village in Africa' or like a 'white model dipped in chocolate.'"
Those are the words spoken to Davis and she decided to try and become a 'white model dipped in chocolate,' by straightening her hair and wearing extensions. This concept is something that people of color experience everywhere in any place of work; the notion that you have to 'whiten' yourself to be accepted in certain workspaces. Changing your personality, interests or look to fit into the mold and not stand out in a negative way.
Davis views fashion as "the embodiment of free speech", setting the tone for society and the way we view people. Models in the fashion industry pretty much set the standard for beauty. This could be a problem when people of color are rarely represented in this industry. The lack of true representation of people of color is how negative stereotypes get power. It is hard to form a positive opinion on something when you never see it.
Davis also talked about her experiences with makeup artist and hair stylists. She has seen that many of them don't know how to work with African- American models hair or skin tones. Many models end up going out on the runway with lighter skin and damaged or burnt hair. As a black model, it would be hard to complain because you wouldn't want to be seen as a diva or 'that angry black woman.' Fortune for Davis she realized her worth and decided last year not to conform to the 'norm.'
Davis urged people in the fashion industry to speak out against injustice or society will continue to view people of color as inferior. In this new climate that we have reached in our society, these words are more important than ever. Don't stand silent when you see injustice.
Check out Ebonee Davis full penned letter at Bazar.com