Vogue’s cover of a very game Lebron James clutching smiling supermodel Gisele Bundchen has sparked outrage among a few citizens. People shouting racism claim the photo evokes a racial stereotype of the “black beast clutching a white damsel in distress” [Gisele is Brazilian…], made famous by Emmanuel Fremiet’s sculpture and King Kong. Lebron is the third man and first black man to ever grace the cover in Vogue’s 115 years.
“Here you have an image of a black male athlete in an exceptionally aggressive stance, wide footed, bending over, clutching her with his arm,” said Jason Rosenfeld, professor of art history at Marymount Manhattan College. “It’s one thing to have an athlete in that kind of pose and with that kind of expression on a court after he or she has done something miraculous. It’s another thing to couple it with someone who is of an entirely different ilk and gender. That turns it into a racially charged image.”
Vogue says the magazine is celebrating diversity and people are making something out of nothing.
“It’s so exhausting that every time people see an image of a black person they work themselves into a tizzy that somehow it doesn’t adhere to the way in which they think a black person should be presented,” she said.
“Needless to say, the intention from the beginning was only to depict LeBron and Gisele as superstars at the top of their game,” Vogue spokesperson Patrick O’Connell said. “The point about the entire issue is that it celebrates diversity. And I think that people need to look at the entire issue.”
You know what’s racist? Making Lebron bounce a basketball in the picture. Why do all black men have to be basketball players. Why can’t he just wear a top hat and monocle and swing a cane around like on a normal Vogue cover. What? Lebron is a basketball player? Oh… I, uh, still stand by my statement.
By the way, where ARE all the white women at?