How Do These Earrings Make You Feel? Dolce & Gabbana Display Controversial Accessories At Spring Show

September 26, 2012  |  


Source: Getty Images

This past Sunday Italian luxury brand Dolce and Gabbana displayed their 2013 Spring collection. Though there were no black models in the show, a black woman did make an appearance on the runway in the form of a pair of controversial earrings.

Designers and fashion icons, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, have said this collection was inspired by their homeland Sicily so the black woman bust could represent the Black Moors that inhabited Sicily. Or the earrings could have been used as some type of homage to the Blackamoor statues that were popular during the colonial period. In addition to the black woman earrings, there is also a pair depicting what appears to be an Asian man wearing the same headdress.

So the question we want to pose to you today is are these earrings racist?

Let’s analyze. From the cursory research I’ve done thus far, it would seem that these earrings are a nod to those statues. Blackamoor statues often appeared in jewelry and in pairs. The statues are problematic because they depict black people as exotic, mystical (many of the statues held positions that would be impossible for humans to hold for any extended period of time.) and decorative, in other words, unlike real people.

It would seem as if they’re being used that same way by D&G. For whatever reason, a black woman wasn’t fit to be in the show; but she could certainly be used–exploited– as a form of decoration on a white model, in a white show, for a white company. And that’s what makes these earrings so troublesome. If I saw these same earrings in another setting, like on the table at a Brooklyn street fair, I’d be trying to scoop them up before another sista saw them. There’s no denying that the earrings are fly and I’d love to see more representations of black women reflected in mainstream clothes and accessories; but the manner in which they’re used here and the history behind such figures makes me believe D&G used them exploitatively.

What do you think? Do you have a problem with these earrings?

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  • They are not racist but they not cute either sheetz let them wear that ish!

  • I’m a white woman married to a black man and my first thought is the Chiquita banana lady. But I wouldn’t wear them.

  • mq

    I don’t find them offensive but I’ve always been curious about the infamous bright red lips.. I can’t think of a black person i know that has such red lips or even someone famous.

  • Ai

    Hm… looks like they couldn’t find any black models to co-sign this crap.

  • get real

    These earrings are not “mammy’s’. Blackamoor jewerly is some of the most expensive jewerly in Europe. We just don’t have a clue here in America as to what “blackamoor’ jewerly is or who the Moors really were. I’m actually glad Dolce did this now black people can find out about the black African Moors.

  • Kourtney

    Ugly, yes. Offensive, no.

  • blessedlocs

    I think your reaching…it isn’t that serious. And I am sure there are FAAAAR more designers other thatn d&g who haven’t used black models on their run ways. Sometimes we take things too far in our community, so that when REAL racial issues arise they are taken less serious and given the “race card” label. Lighten up

  • Kaya

    Hopefully they come in ‘white’ too.

  • Nothing wrong with those earrings. If they were earings of a white woman on a black person, no one would bat an eyelid. We are just creating more publicity for them by talking about it, which is what they wanted I guess.

  • Jennifer

    I honestly don’t know what to make of these earrings. I wouldn’t wear them. I’m more of a regular pearl ball earring kind of girl. The craziest earring i’ll wear is large hoop.

  • Kimberly Yarbrough Carpenter

    The earrings are the manifestation of the need of designers working for Dolce & Gabbana to remind us of a time when members of the African Diaspora were socially and economically in a fetal position worldwide. The recent image of First Lady Michelle Obama depicted in a similar colonial/exotic manner as the earrings, along with Italian Prime Minister Burlusconi’s outrageously despicable, and disrespectful garbage, luridly insane, sexual focus upon President Obama is of great concern. Consumers of this brand, members of the G8 and all that do not share these beliefs should be furiously encouraged to shop elsewhere. Beyond that, the earrings are in poor taste.

    • I agree w/ you 100% and I know the heritage behind it all but I feel that if Dolce & Gabbana have designed them in a way to pay tribute or in honor of the Black Moors then I believe that’s cool. However, I do love the earrings though.

      • Kimberly Yarbrough Carpenter

        I find it hard to believe that Dolce & Gabbana in their attempt to honor, could not find accurate, historical, cultural representations of the kind of jewelry that would have been worn by Black Moors. History is chipped away, snatched out, lined out, censured, re-written in every conceivable way until all that remains of the knowledge of those that came before–and to be discovered hundreds of years from today–are a pair of worn today/thrown-out-tomorrow earrings.

  • I don’t find the pieces of jewelry to be racist. I mean when you break it down in such a way of “on a white model, in a white show, for a white company,” its as if you want people to find racism in it.

  • VelvetS

    OMGravy, as much as I LOVE MN, I MUST ask; Why must everything
    related to skin colour be automatically equated with racism on your site? As a
    proud Black woman, I think those earrings are the truth, no matter the race of
    the person wearing them. Please stop baiting everything as racist and focus on
    the things that truly are. This shouldn’t have even been published as a “story”.

  • Let’s not be so UNDER sensitive in striving for equality shall we. We are not blind. Saying that you do not see the obviousness of the problem does not make it go away. It only lends credence to those of perpetuating the White Supremacy myth – “see they don’t even care about their own”. At the very least acknowledge that some may have an issue with the Aunt Jaimima (sp) look no matter what the earrings really are. Some may want to rock them proudly (I know a few who could) with flair. But when there are no women that look like her in the show ~ “For whatever reason, a black woman wasn’t fit to be in the show; but she could certainly be used–exploited– as a form of decoration on a white model, in a white show, for a white company. And that’s what makes these earrings so troublesome.” ~ She becomes more of the Al Jolson face in Black face used to sell product.

  • racist earrings huh? when you make claims of racism every time there is an image of a black person, it makes people think something is wrong with us. dang, we see “race” in everything…words, numbers, letters, food….you name it.

  • L-Boogie

    I do not think they are racists. If you go to Colombia, there are black women who still dress like this. So I would rock them.

  • Tamiya King

    i don’t feel that the earrings were inherently racist, or intended to be offensive. they were meant to be artistic, i believe. i understand the overall look, and yes, they are fly 🙂 HOWEVER, a white woman wearing earrings in the shape of a black woman’s face is NEVER going to come across the same way as a black woman wearing accessories or clothing that depicts a white woman. we also have to keep in mind that Dolce and Gabbana are Italian designers, and their view on race relations is likely different than an American’s would be. is the look shocking? yes. was it meant to be racist? i don’t think so.

  • Hello_Kitty81

    I don’t see nothing racist about those earrings, I would rock them myself. Everything has to be racist to black people and the earring looks more like art than a racist statement.

  • Negress

    My mouth was agape with an OMG! “Forgive me Lord for taking your name in vain,” Not a good look. It reminds me of the magazine cover with the FLOTUS. If shock value is what they’re going for that’s what they got. For shame, I love the way the clothes fit.

  • Trisha_B

    Everything is racist now -____- I see nothing wrong w/ the earrings. I don’t even see anyone wearing these earrings besides on the runway. My friends mom is afro-brazilian & when she gets ready for her festivals she puts on the head dress like that. But the asian man one is kind of funny lol

  • Yokessm

    I really don’t live my life searching for racism at all, these earrings are not racist , I wish people would spend that much time trying to build their brands and become productivebrrs of society. Ridiculous. Coming from an African woman.

  • gracie

    I don’t think any white person in their right mind would wear a black woman earring! I think they were just trying to be creative thou. I don’t see anything wrong with black people not making the show, its not always about color you know.

    • dddooonnnttt

      There is a problem when people don’t hire blacks. If everyone stopped hiring blacks, I’m sure you’d figure out the problem with that real quick!

      • L-Boogie


  • Hey

    Come on! That looks even more like a ‘brown skin’ indian with a decorative head gear. Wheeeiiii, please lets stop with the race card already, please!!! Like Madonna sang – ” you only see what your eyes want to see”, do see a nice artistic design or a terrible one, but not racism.

  • JaneDoe

    I personally don’t find anything wrong with the earrings. Are we gonna just assume that everthing artist do now a days is racially motivated. Fashion is a art and its an expression of one’s self/culture. Stop w/ the race card. its been done up and down run ways for yrs

    • I agree. You have to be a traveled person to know what these pieces truly represent. Everything is not as it is in the states.

      • Kimberly Yarbrough Carpenter

        You are correct. In some places, things are worse. @JaneDoe, Fashion and Art and artists by nature are political. The term “race card” is an attempt to dismiss and erase historical, structural amnesia that a problem exists. We need as a people to work towards respectful dialogue. Otherwise, the “ish” will continue to roll up on our shores and muddy the waters, unsettling generational attempts to create peace.