French Elle is under fire for claiming that members of US First Family are the first fashionable African-Americans
When it comes to commenting on the Obamas and African-Americans, French Elle needs to fermez la bouche! In an blog post titled Black Fashion Power, writer Nathalie Dolivo managed to insult American blacks as a whole while offering left-handed compliments to the First Lady Michelle Obama for taking on the Jackie O role in a "jazzy" way.
Fashion Forward: In the blog, Nathalie Dolivo says that Obamas are the first to bring true style to African-Americans and dubs them the black-geoisie who dress white but still maintain their blackness. File pic
The writer imagines that the Obamas are the first to bring true style to African-Americans. "In this America led for the first time a black president, the chic has become a plausible option for a community so far pegged to its codes [of] streetwear," she wrote.
Things get even more baffling when she dubs the Obamas the "black-geoisie" who dress "white" but still maintain their "blackness" with symbols. "There is always a classic twist, with a bourgeois ethnic reference (a batik-printed turban/robe, a shell necklace, a 'creole de rappeur') that recalls the roots," she said.
While Michelle Obama has been known to wear African-influenced jewellery and support young black designers, it's far less accurate to define her wardrobe as batik robes and turbans.
The backlash has been swift and severe. "How, in 2012, in a France where there are at least three million blacks and mixed people, can you write such nonsense," a commenter told French Elle. "You are too kind when you write that in 2012 we have incorporated the white codes �what do you think, in 2011, we dressed in hay and burlap bags?"
To black women in France, the article was upsetting but not surprising. "The saddest thing is that this stupid journalist thought she was doing something positive for us," a Fashion Bomb Daily commenter said. " I'm sure that even educated French people wouldn't see any offense in this. Yes this what we Black women in France live!!! Sad truth."
Elle isn't alone in the magazine world for making racial slurs. Italian Vogue found itself in hot water last year for writing about the trend for 'slave' earrings, a gaffe they said was down to a mistranslation.