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-D, Elle 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 in Pop’ 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 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?

-Faith Cummings

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  • I follow the careers of several models of color, from Brazilian to African and I can honestly say that many of the editorials, fashion shows, catalog appearances and advertisements aren’t mentioned on many of these modeling sites supposedly dedicated to these models. Their data needs to be updated just like they do all the other top models. Oroma has a point and she should be given credit for her photo, it could have been an oversight, but I seriously doubt it.

  • And what about the countless bloggers who do the same thing and never credit photos.

  • This the second time today I’ve heard of racism in the modelling industry. Particularly, towards black women. It’s a real shame. I love her hair btw.

  • Nelle

    If I had worked as hard as Oroma, I would want my work credited also. I just think that sometimes in our intentions to promote our cause we forget its purpose. Isn’t the point that models of color are being recognized? Sometimes we have to pick our battles and not be so quick to point fingers declaring racism. It doesn’t look good on the part of Vogue Italia, I agree but isn’t the cause Vogue and Orema are working towards more important than casting a negative shadow on a positive thing?

  • Interesting. I think Vogue Italia ran a special feature on Oroma (interviewed by Beth-Anne, too) a while ago along with a video piece on her. I don’t know the details or circumstances of the lack of credit, but considering she has ties with the magazine, I wonder if she could have contacted them directly and asked for a reference. I think this would be possible, especially as it’s the internet and not print, where such mistakes are easily rectified.