White Model Apologizes After Her Photo Shows Up On Blackhair Magazine

"I'm very sorry this cover was taken away from a black woman," she wrote.

Blackhair magazine had some explaining to do after mistakenly featuring a white model rocking afro-textured hair on the cover of its latest issue. The publication, known for offering hair tips and tricks for black and mixed-race women, was called out by a white model Emily Bador who says an old modeling photo of her was used without her permission for the December/January issue of the mag.

In an Instagram post published on Sunday, Bador shared a photo of the cover, writing in a caption that she “deeply and sincerely” apologized for the picture. Bador explained to her over 64,000 followers that the image had been taken three or four years ago when she was around 15 years old, before she had learned about the concept of cultural appropriation and the stigma many black women receive for wearing their hair in its natural state.

“I hold up my hands,” Bador wrote. “I’m so so so sorry and I’m very sorry this cover was taken away from a black woman.”

I would deeply and sincerely like to apologise to every one for this, and black women especially. I would like to clarify, I believe this shoot is from when I was around 15 and didn't understand cultural appropriation or the impact it has on POC. I was uneducated, which obviously is no excuse, ignorant and immature. Growing up in a very very white city, I had no idea the struggles black women face and how often they were persecuted for their hair. I didn't understand how black women are constantly told their natural hair is inappropriate/unprofessional for the work place, or how young girls are told they can't go to school with natural hair. I didn't understand that shoots like this support the very Eurocentric beauty standard that the mainstream media focus on which reinforce the idea that black features are only ok on white women. I didn't understand that as a white passing woman I'd be praised for this hair, but if I was a black woman I'd be persecuted. I didn't understand cultural appropriation. ✨ I do regret doing this. I hold up my hands, I'm so so so sorry and I'm very sorry this cover was taken away from a black woman. This image is (I think, although I'm not 100% sure) about 3/4 years old, it was never intended to be on the cover of this magazine. If I had known it was going to be published, I would never have condoned it. I'm upset and angry I was never asked by the photographer/hair salon/anyone if this image could be used for the cover Black Hair. ✨ I'm so glad I've educated myself and surrounded my self with people to teach me what is right and wrong. I constantly am learning and becoming more and more informed. It's important to come forward and be honest with ourselves about our past mistakes, otherwise we will never learn. Again, I'm truly, deeply sorry to anyone I've offended and I hope if nothing else this post can educated others so they don't make similar mistakes. (also please let me know if I've said anything wrong or offensive in this post!!! or anything i can add!!!! i love u all sm and the last thing i want to do is offend or hurt any one, i really hope you don't all think im a massive twat 😔)

A photo posted by e m i l y bador (@darth_bador) on

Blackhair editor Keysha Davis addressed the cover in a Facebook post on Monday, apologizing for the mistake and thanking Emily Bador for bringing the issue to the magazine’s attention. Davis explained that she and the editorial team were not aware that Bador was not black or mixed-race prior to selecting the image.

“We often ask PR companies/salons to submit images for the magazine, specifically stating that models must be Black or mixed race,” Davis wrote. “We can only take their word for it, and of course, try to use our own judgment.”

cheeky lil bit of ASOS from last week @asos_studio 🌙

A photo posted by e m i l y bador (@darth_bador) on

Davis went on to assure readers that she and her team are “keenly aware of how black women are underrepresented in the mainstream media,” and added that the magazine welcomes an open dialogue about black identity.

It’s hard to say who exactly is to blame here. Is it the magazine for failing to properly vet the images submitted for the cover, or the PR companies and salons who submit these photos knowing that not every model is actually black? Whatever the case might be, what this incident does highlight is how problematic it is to begin with for the fashion industry to continue to appropriate black hair and style on non-black models.

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