So, the other day, I was watching The Real on BET and on set walked Deddeh Howard, a beautiful black model I have been following on Social Media since the start of the year. She spoke to the hosts about her Black Mirror project and its essence. she had been rejected repeatedly by modelling agencies because she was so dark skinned. She affirmed that the agencies acknowledged her beauty but also stated that they had enough black models, which in fact were just a couple.
In collaboration with her partner, she decided to do something about it by recreating some of the biggest AD campaigns featuring white supermodels, with herself striking the exact same post in same clothes. For me, this was incredibly inspiring, as she sought to change the narrative by acting instead of complaining. Today, she’s on BBC, Good Morning America and other stations to discuss the issue. With her permission, I share her blog post and images on the project.
We are bombarded everyday with flashy advertisement, billboards and television ads that try to inspire us to buy the products that are hitting the market. Something that always bothered me when you see these amazing images that very rarely you ever see a black woman on them. When growing up as a girl I always wondered, why the big brands such as Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Guess and many others rarely seem to use a black model? And if they do, a very small group of black models does make the cut here and there, but that group seems to remain pretty much identical over a long period of time.
In a time where black people too often are in the media for being underrepresented at important events such as the Oscars or make headlines for being targeted by the police I felt it was time to do something positive and inspiring about my race. For too long the negativity seemed to take over in the public eye.
More equal visibility of all races, being it white, black, Asian, Latino etc would help all of us believing in our potential.
I hope this project can help to bring awareness back to the positive side of black people. Unfortunately we are rarely shown in a positive light in the media, but can see countless times when yet another black person gets shot or arrested. Seeing Jasmine Tookes wearing the most expensive bra at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show was so inspiring, we need more of those moments.
Deddeh Howard is a black model, fashion blogger and Medical student from West Africa, Liberia where she was born and raised. Growing up as a child, her family and traveled a lot in different parts on Africa where she developed a passion for traveling, fashion and culture.She currently lives in Los Angeles, CA.
She believes that when you live a healthy lifestyle it brings the best out of you.For her, fashion is the one of the keys to looking beautiful and loving one self. The way you dress, is the way you are addressed. She shares her thoughts and philosophies on www.secretofdd.com.
Introductory paragraph by Ayodotun Rotimi-Akinfenwa, article and story by Deddeh Howard.