Victoria Secret Fashion Show: Where Were the Black Models?

November 30, 2011  |  

For most black folks, the hype around the Victoria Secret Fashion Show was about the entertainment—Jay Z, Kanye West, and Nicki Minaj. Many of us still wanted to see pretty panties and that $2.5 million bra we knew Meranda Kerr would be wearing, but if you tuned in hoping to see women who looked like you—at least in skin tone–you went to the wrong place.

Chanel Iman held it down for black women on last night’s airing, and noticeably looked to be having a great time backstage. Puerto Rican and black model Joan Smalls and Brazilian beauty Lais Ribeiro also added color to the show but beyond that, the scene was a sea of blondes and brunettes. I wasn’t sure if I was being too sensitive about the show’s whitewashing when I turned away—it’s not as though there have ever been a slew of black models participating—but there was also a great deal of discussion on twitter about whether there would ever be more women of color in the show. Some also noted that none of the black models were interviewed backstage.

There was plenty of black star power on the music stage, though. Nicki Minaj’s eccentric style definitely fit in well with the Club Pink segment of the show and Yeezy performing his hit “Stronger” in honor of his late mother Donda West saying, “In 2007 I was supposed to perform this song on this show, and I lost my superhero. Now she is my super angel,” was a touching tribute. Later, he and Jay Z got the crowd hype with their hit “N****s in Paris,” but the overall set just made me wonder if the message was it’s OK for you to entertain us, but like Lucy, you can’t be in the show.

Check out last night’s performances below. What did you think of the 2011 Victoria Secret Fashion Show overall? Were you disappointed in the lack of black models?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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