August 22, 2009

BAG Archive Edition: Vogue + LaBron (Kong?) + Gisele = Kaching

Archive Note: This post, which appeared on March 27, 2008, spawned one of BNN's best discussions.  In terms of timing, the Vogue cover carried an extra charge because it was published coincident with the "Jeremiah Wright-stage" of the presidential campaign. The post appeared nine days after "A More Perfect Union," Obama's widely lauded speech in Philadelphia on race in America.  In re-publishing the post, one question to consider is whether America has moved the ball forward at all in terms of racial consciousness in the intervening 17 months.  Because of Annie Leibovitz's agenda and the cultural and historical references in the photo, you may well want to look back at the previous post and discussion thread.  


Some say the photo of LeBron James — in a gorilla-like pose — perpetuates racial stereotypes.

Men's Fitness editor-in-chief Roy Johnson says: "It's a reminder that as African-Americans, we have come very far to have an African-American male featured on the cover of Vogue, but we have very far to go to continue to educate people within our industry regarding the power of images and the potential impact they can have on their readers."

Jason Whitlock: "Would we be having this discussion if LeBron struck the same pose on the cover of Ebony while holding Selita Ebanks?"

… I think the image is worth our deconstruction, but I don't believe for a second Vogue/Leibovitz didn't know exactly what they were doing.  In spite of his approval (before, and up to this moment), did LeBron get the shape of it?

More images in the shoot (Vogue/

Is Vogue's "LeBron Kong" Cover Offensive? (Jezebel + more links)

Memo Pad: People Are Talking About… Soon To Be a Ph.D Thesis.. (

If They All Do It... (The Beyonce lightening treatment – BAGnewsNotes)

Selita Ebanks (wikipedia)

(h/t and paragraph 1-3 from Wayne Dickson.)

(image: Annie Leibovitz. 2008. Vogue Magazine)

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Michael Shaw
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