Last month, we featured Oroma Elewa in our Closet Crush feature. Oroma is the founder and director of Pop’ Africana, a high-fashion magazine looking to enlighten the world on the beauty of African culture and style. We have also frequently featured Vogue Italia’s all-black spreads, which are working to promote diversity in the fashion world. Diversity of models perhaps almost exclusively because when it came time to give credit to a black publication for photos used in a feature, Vogue Italia did not hold up its end of the bargain.

The striking image shown above is one from Pop’ Africana’s first issue, featuring new sensation Ataui Deng. Last week, Ataui was profiled on Vogue Italia’s Black page as a New Face, interviewed by fashion legend Bethann Hardison. In the piece, images from Ataui’s various fashion spreads were shown from Bergdorf Goodman, i-DElle Italia and more. All are credited, but when it came to Pop’ Africana’s image, it is merely credited as “French”. The same goes for a few images from French Revue de Mode, though the photographer for the shoot, Julia Noni is credited earlier in the piece.

Is this just a mistake or something intentional? Oroma herself as well as Dominick Rolle, a Pop’ Africana supporter seem to agree with the latter.

“The racial undertones of a continual failure by European fashion magazines to credit the amazing work presented inPop’ Africana to the African writers, editors and photographers that create most of it has inspired a new direction for my new blog…Do we dare be so creative and well put together that it competes directly with or can stand boldly next to the tanks, dazed and confused, vogue italias’ and purples of this world? While this new direction in tone and delivery for my blog will make me very unpopular, many editors and bloggers have forgotten the importance and the responsibility they hold as writers.” – Dominick Rolle & Oroma Elewa

Visit www.popafricana.com for more information.

What do you think of Vogue Italia’s mistake? Is it just an oversight or is the website which is working so hard to promote diversity actually trying to steal the spotlight from African writers, photographers and editors?


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  • thissad

    well that really sucks
    what was the big deal with crediting them?
    isn’t that a lawsuit

  • jetblack

    Was it clear that Pop Africana had produced the images itself? As someone who used to write for a magazine there was a huge effort to put accolades where it is due. Perhaps Vogue did not want to improperly reference the source of the photo. Many online magazines rip images from stock photos and other blogs/sites and dont link back to the original site. They were probably just unsure and went with the safest route. I highly doubt someone at Vogue sat there and was like “how can we be racist with this”. If anything its just sloppy journalism and some lazy intern who didnt want to research that.

    • Domino

      Yeah I agree. As a journalist I’ve even been guilty of this. I do think an apology is in order though and i know I’d be feeling the same way if it happened to me.

    • Jennifer

      Very few people deliberately set out to be racist, but the majority end up there.

    • I definitely agree that this appears to be more likely a case of lazy journalism and less a case of deliberate racism. Especially in the case of web images.

  • Please check your info

    Sorry but the information is not correct, the quote is from Dominick Rolle who reacted to the omission, not Oroma herself.

    • D

      #Irony…I guess through the wrongful citation that happened in this very post, we got our answer lol. Just a simple mistake!

  • Nb

    It is wonderful to truly acknowledge how much we as whites are so ignorant growing up to not learn earlier about the beauty of African derived people. Here in the US Africans have done so many influential things like inventing peanut butter and production in modern pop music-among other things. Hopefully more whites will soon realize how guilty they are in holding others back with their “own” ideas of what “culture” is.