Apparently, Vogue Magazine’s readers and followers are all white, so when they see black women being represented, they immediately wonder why “ghetto people” are being shown because it’s “not like vogue at all.”
Maybe that’s why, when model Salem Mitchell was featured on Vogue’s Instagram page relaxing on the beach in a red one-piece and box braids, one of their followers just had to ruin that moment.
The commenter, @darrenpasha, wrote: “What with these ghetto people vogue been showing lately is not vogue at all.”
When she saw the comment, Mitchell was understandably fired up, and decided to clap back via an Instagram story, explaining why black women fight hard and how others benefit from the “trends” black woman start.
“Let’s talk about this. The reason black women/POC fight so hard for representation, diversity, and [are] over cultural appropriation is because of this!” she wrote. “Everything about what I look like is considered “trendy” in the media and in fashion right now. The freckles, the braids, the big lips, etc., but on a black woman it’s ghetto for NO reason and we’re tired of it.”
Speaking to Teen Vogue about the incident, Mitchell explained that she was offended because the person wasn’t commenting on the merits of the photo, but because she was called “ghetto,” telling the magazine:
I wanted to speak out on this particular comment because it was completely discriminatory [and] completely racist. It wasn’t, ‘I think she’s ugly’ or ‘I don’t like this photo.’ It was, ‘By looking at this woman the first way I can describe her is by calling her a ghetto person.’ Calling me ghetto or any black woman ghetto based on a photo is so dismissive of who we are as people, what we’ve accomplished and how we carry ourselves.
I’m also wondering how a picture—especially this picture—could be ghetto. I’m also glad that this 19-year-old model is using her platform to speak for those who may not have the courage to do the same. Mitchell went on to say:
It’s really important to speak up when the issues are probably affecting more than just me. When people make negative comments about freckles, I speak up because although I’m confident, other young girls with freckles might see those nasty comments and feel bad about their own skin. When people say ignorant things like the ‘ghetto’ comment, I speak up because I know other girls are hearing [it] in their own lives too. Overall it’s best to save your energy and speak up when you know it’ll benefit more than just your own ego.