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LeBron James Vogue cover criticized
By MEGAN K. SCOTT,
Associated Press Writer
Mar 24, 7:18 pm EDT

When Vogue announced its April cover starring LeBron James and Gisele Bundchen, the magazine noted with some fanfare that James was the first black man to grace its cover.

But the image is stirring up controversy, with some commentators decrying the photo as perpetuating racial stereotypes. James strikes what some see as a gorilla-like pose, baring his teeth, with one hand dribbling a ball and the other around Bundchen's tiny waist.

It's an image some have likened to "King Kong" and Fay Wray.

"It conjures up this idea of a dangerous black man," said Tamara Walker, 29, of Philadelphia.

Photographer Annie Leibovitz shot the 6-foot-9 NBA star and the 5-foot-11 Brazilian model for the cover and an inside spread. Vogue spokesman Patrick O'Connell said the magazine "sought to celebrate two superstars at the top of their game" for the magazine's annual issue devoted to size and shape.

"We think Lebron James and Gisele Bundchen look beautiful together and we are honored to have them on the cover," he said.

James told The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer he was pleased with the cover, saying he was "just showing a little emotion."

"Everything my name is on is going to be criticized in a good way or bad way," James told the paper. "Who cares what anyone says?"

But magazine analyst Samir Husni believes the photo was deliberately provocative, adding that it "screams King Kong." Considering Vogue's influential history, he said, covers are not something that the magazine does in a rush.

"So when you have a cover that reminds people of King Kong and brings those stereotypes to the front, black man wanting white woman, it's not innocent," he said.

O'Connell, the Vogue spokesman, declined further comment.

In a column at ESPN.com, Jemele Hill called the cover "memorable for all the wrong reasons." But she said in an interview that the image is not unusual "” white athletes are generally portrayed smiling or laughing, while black sports figures are given a "beastly sort of vibe."

For example, former NBA star Charles Barkley was depicted breaking free of neck and wrist shackles on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Dennis Rodman graced the cover of Rolling Stone with horns poking out of his forehead and his red tongue hanging out.

Images of black male athletes as aggressive and threatening "reinforce the criminalization of black men," said Damion Thomas, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at University of Maryland.

But others say the image show James' game face "” nothing more. And they note that Bundchen hardly looks frightened.

"James is a huge, black beautiful masculine statue and Gisele is a feminine, sexy gorgeous doll," said Christa Thomas, 36, a black account supervisor in Los Angeles.

"I didn't see any kind of racist overtone to it," she said. "I still don't. I think there is such a hypersensitivity to race still in this country."

Husni said it is too soon to know how the magazine is selling, though the controversy could increase sales as people rush out to get a "collector's edition."

If nothing else, Walker said the cover underscores the need for a more diverse workplace.

"If more people of color worked for Vogue in positions of editorial authority, perhaps someone in the room might have been able to read the image the way so many of us are reading it now, and had the power to do something about it," she said.
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I've seen more controversial magazine covers than the Lebron/Gisele cover of VOGUE, although I can see why the "King Kong" thought is implied.

Back in 1987, cable subscribers were ticked off to holy hell when THE CABLE GUIDE had a cover of a shirtless NFL player Willie Gault, and actress Jamie Lee Curtis (wearing only Gault's jersey), sitting on his lap.

I wish I can find the picture, because needless to say, people were pissed.
fro Although I haven't seen the pic....people will always be upset when a Black man and a white woman are photographed together....it can be beautiful photo....it can be artful....but that traditional taboo will always show it's UGLY head...making me believe that MASSA is [continuously]teaching his next/NEWER generation NOT to accept a black man being SEEN with his WHITE counterpart. Cuz the sterotype KING KONG and white female is the subliminally Bigger Thomas fantizing[sp] about the untouchable white female he killed in the epic novel Native Son. Unfortunately, our society will NEVER outgrow this. Well at least, not in our lifetime. fro
quote:
Originally posted by Kocolicious:

Although I haven't seen the pic....people will always be upset when a Black man and a white woman are photographed together....


quote:
Cuz the sterotype KING KONG and white female


Sure you haven't seen the picture, Koco? It's all over the net. Interesting you know the picture of LeBron grasping some helpless white woman is making reference to King Kong. That's a pretty good guess.

Big Grin
quote:
Originally posted by Huey:
I've seen more controversial magazine covers than the Lebron/Gisele cover of VOGUE, although I can see why the "King Kong" thought is implied.


Word. Why THAT picture? Had me thinking about "King Kong" too.

quote:
Originally posted by Huey:
Back in 1987, cable subscribers were ticked off to holy hell when THE CABLE GUIDE had a cover of a shirtless NFL player Willie Gault, and actress Jamie Lee Curtis (wearing only Gault's jersey), sitting on his lap.


I don't remember this (maybe it was a regional thing?), but I had a thing for Willie Gault. *Hubba-hubba*

Hey, that NFL commercial featuring Terrell Owens and Nicolette Sheridan is saucy.
quote:
Originally posted by Kocolicious:
fro Although I haven't seen the pic....people will always be upset when a Black man and a white woman are photographed together....it can be beautiful photo....it can be artful....but that traditional taboo will always show it's UGLY head...making me believe that MASSA is [continuously]teaching his next/NEWER generation NOT to accept a black man being SEEN with his WHITE counterpart. Cuz the sterotype KING KONG and white female is the subliminally Bigger Thomas fantizing[sp] about the untouchable white female he killed in the epic novel Native Son. Unfortunately, our society will NEVER outgrow this. Well at least, not in our lifetime. fro


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quote:
Originally posted by thabrothaman69:
quote:
Originally posted by Kocolicious:
fro Although I haven't seen the pic....people will always be upset when a Black man and a white woman are photographed together....it can be beautiful photo....it can be artful....but that traditional taboo will always show it's UGLY head...making me believe that MASSA is [continuously]teaching his next/NEWER generation NOT to accept a black man being SEEN with his WHITE counterpart. Cuz the sterotype KING KONG and white female is the subliminally Bigger Thomas fantizing[sp] about the untouchable white female he killed in the epic novel Native Son. Unfortunately, our society will NEVER outgrow this. Well at least, not in our lifetime. fro


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"It was beauty that killed the beast"--KING KONG, 1933.
quote:
Originally posted by Santana St. Cloud:
quote:
Originally posted by Huey:
I've seen more controversial magazine covers than the Lebron/Gisele cover of VOGUE, although I can see why the "King Kong" thought is implied.


Word. Why THAT picture? Had me thinking about "King Kong" too.

quote:
Originally posted by Huey:
Back in 1987, cable subscribers were ticked off to holy hell when THE CABLE GUIDE had a cover of a shirtless NFL player Willie Gault, and actress Jamie Lee Curtis (wearing only Gault's jersey), sitting on his lap.


I don't remember this (maybe it was a regional thing?), but I had a thing for Willie Gault. *Hubba-hubba*

Hey, that NFL commercial featuring Terrell Owens and Nicolette Sheridan is saucy.


You mean like this one?...
Monday Night Football
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^Zing!

Okay. So I'm wondering what the photographer was saying to get that reaction from LeBron?

Photographer: "Growl like the savage primate you know you are!" Okay, LeBron. Pretend that a flagrant foul's just been committed against you and now it's payback time!

LeBron: You mean like this?! Growling

Photog: Excellent!!! Now, Giselle you beacon of white womanhood, you! smile, even though you know LeBron is about to put the smackdown on the guy. You don't want to be in the way when that happens, but keep smiling. Oh, great! Wonderful! This is like King Kong wreaking havoc on Fashion Week in Bryant Park! F*ckin' A!
I don't get that impression from this picture. Why does this picture "scream" king kong? If the guy had been white doing that same pose, would it 'scream' king kong? Hell, I thought I was going to see Lebron down on all fours while she was feeding him a banana or something.

Funny how these reporters did not menton exactly who found it controversial in the first place. It sounds more like an opportunity to remind Americans of the great racist theories born out of ignorance that so many Americans treasure so dearly; and coincidentally being debated while a Black man is running for president. (Subliminal Suggesstion 101)
quote:
Originally posted by sunnubian:
I don't get that impression from this picture. Why does this picture "scream" king kong? If the guy had been white doing that same pose, would it 'scream' king kong? Hell, I thought I was going to see Lebron down on all fours while she was feeding him a banana or something.

Funny how these reporters did not menton exactly who found it controversial in the first place. It sounds more like an opportunity to remind Americans of the great racist theories born out of ignorance that so many Americans treasure so dearly; and coincidentally being debated while a Black man is running for president. (Subliminal Suggesstion 101)


~Well, what do you think the picture is supposed to be saying? If it wasn't on the cover of this Vogue magazine, would we automatically associate the image with Vogue? What is it supposed to be saying? Sports Illustrated meets Vogue? He's on the cover of something else (I forget what....probably an ACTUAL SPORTS MAG) looking EXTREMELY dapper...suit, tie, sexy smile and all...a FASHION PLATE. Why couldn't he look like THAT on the cover of THIS fashion magazine?

You can't deny the OBVIOUS similarity in the King Kong poster images and this Vogue cover. THAT'S what's SUBLIMINAL, if one isn't able to see the obvious. I couldn't even imagine a clear picture of King Kong posters in my mind's eye as I was looking at the Vogue cover, but I still KNEW. And then to NOW see these googled posters, it's like !WOW! Eek I THOUGHT I knew it, but I had NO IDEA! Eek It's TOO copied. It CAN'T be a mere coincidence. It can't be. And you're right....it may very well be politically motivated.~
quote:
Originally posted by sunnubian:
I don't get that impression from this picture. Why does this picture "scream" king kong? If the guy had been white doing that same pose, would it 'scream' king kong? Hell, I thought I was going to see Lebron down on all fours while she was feeding him a banana or something.


I don't see King Kong in that picture either, sunnubian. Maybe if he was picking her up or something. But bouncing a basketball ... I guess I'm just missing it.

What I don't like/appreciate about it, though, is that if he's the first Black man they've ever put on their cover, I find it problematic that they would choose THAT pose and that facial expression as a representation of their first Black selection.

And is Vogue not a fashion magazine? Confused Yet they couldn't/wouldn't put a brotha in a suit and tie, considering he's their FIRST chosen to grace the cover?

I could really care less about the White girl .. I really don't appreciate they're shallow representation of LeBron, though! td6
Originally posted by EbonyRose:
quote:
I find it problematic that they would choose THAT pose and that facial expression as a representation of their first Black selection.



fro Remember the 1920's film: Birth of a Nation? where it depicts black men in congress chasing a white looking shirley temple stereotype around the classic roundtable? I agree with you Sista EbonyRose...I don't see it either. All I see is an athlete making an aggressive/defensive gesture. But on the other hand, what the photo may project/or represent is HUGE(especially for folks who remember our history with MASSA)...and it takes a subliminal prespective to actually SEE IT! I'm sure the Vogue execs say they didn't see it or didn't notice the correlation...but come on even a six year kid can identify the make-believe character of King Kong IS [and have ALWAYS been] associated with a black manEek as a result of mass media films/movies/television/theatre/newspaper/magazines/etc placing this traditional negative image in the minds of viewers over and over again throughout the modern legacy of this country. Of course I wouldn't expect many in this generation to see it....BUT! There are too many similaries to indicate so. It is tragic. And sad. This makes me think of Seal and Heidi. And the subliminal message MASS MEDIA is waiting on the fence to exploit. The only way I can see this ever leaving our country's mindset....is for the entire country to embrace its diversity. We try to teach our children acceptance...but here comes Mass Media to rape their minds with racism/sexism/genderism BEFORE they reach puberty. And so this is what you call CIRCULAR thinking. Which means: It [racism] goes round and round touching every [new] generation. Until. Someone. Says. No More. Will that EVER happen? Your guess is as good as mineBig Grin fro
quote:
Photographer Annie Leibovitz shot the 6-foot-9 NBA star and the 5-foot-11 Brazilian model for the cover and an inside spread. Vogue spokesman Patrick O'Connell said the magazine "sought to celebrate two superstars at the top of their game" for the magazine's annual issue devoted to size and shape.
King Kong? Why are Black people so quick to make the ape association with our image? We project it on to white people, but we're really the ones who see a monkey behind every hyperexpressive Black face. We need to get over that.
fro It's called BRAINWASHING. or subliminal messaging. Which by the way...was outlawed from commericals/advertising....cuz they used it all the time to encourage consumers to buy their products. Same thing. But at a larger scale. Worldwide. Black folks were brainwashed during the deprogamming process during slavery....it has carried on with colorism, color strokism and the like from...whom [mostly]? Black people. Cuz why? They were trained/conditioned that way....and therefore taught their CHILDREN to also think that way. Cuz why? the best example is the "stockholm syndome"...siding with the ENEMY. Another example: you see some black folks looking at their newborn's ear to determine what color this child will be as an adult. You see some light skin families refusing to allow their grown children to marry outside the color line. You see many dark-skinned male celebrities select light-skin or white females to define their SUCCESS. I mean it's all over the WORLD. In addition, this negative image of Black men....come.... most times from our OWN FOLKS! As a parent, I was SCARED to death when my boys began dating! cuz of the profiling! I taught all my sons to say: officer....and NOT cop or pig or anything that would MAKE massa sooo mad that the first thing he would do...was start beating on my SONS! cuz that's what they do. they wait to see what they think is a smart-mouth...reasons for them to start kickin' ass. And many times you don't have to open your mouth[especially if you're a black male to get your behind whipped by them] During World War 2, Asian [Korean and Japanese]women were told/taught not to date Black men cuz at night they grew tailsEek So this photo is NOTHING compared to what has been done to Black men's image. I could tell more terrifying stories but I won't. What I will say is...all this is...as I mentioned before...is CIRCULAR thinking...meaning this sort of negative degrading prespective [regarding a black man's image] has been AROUND before. fro
quote:
Originally posted by Kocolicious:
fro It's called BRAINWASHING. or subliminal messaging. Which by the way...was outlawed from commericals/advertising....cuz they used it all the time to encourage consumers to buy their products. Same thing. But at a larger scale. Worldwide. Black folks were brainwashed during the deprogamming process during slavery....it has carried on with colorism, color strokism and the like from...whom [mostly]? Black people. Cuz why? They were trained/conditioned that way....and therefore taught their CHILDREN to also think that way. Cuz why? the best example is the "stockholm syndome"...siding with the ENEMY. Another example: you see some black folks looking at their newborn's ear to determine what color this child will be as an adult. You see some light skin families refusing to allow their grown children to marry outside the color line. You see many dark-skinned male celebrities select light-skin or white females to define their SUCCESS. I mean it's all over the WORLD. In addition, this negative image of Black men....come.... most times from our OWN FOLKS! As a parent, I was SCARED to death when my boys began dating! cuz of the profiling! I taught all my sons to say: officer....and NOT cop or pig or anything that would MAKE massa sooo mad that the first thing he would do...was start beating on my SONS! cuz that's what they do. they wait to see what they think is a smart-mouth...reasons for them to start kickin' ass. And many times you don't have to open your mouth[especially if you're a black male to get your behind whipped by them] During World War 2, Asian [Korean and Japanese]women were told/taught not to date Black men cuz at night they grew tailsEek So this photo is NOTHING compared to what has been done to Black men's image. I could tell more terrifying stories but I won't. What I will say is...all this is...as I mentioned before...is CIRCULAR thinking...meaning this sort of negative degrading prespective [regarding a black man's image] has been AROUND before. fro


good post, Koco.

and I agree. tfro
I absolutely HATE IT when black folk are told to 'get over it'....

I HATE that term with a passion. Mad

It's soooOOOooooOOOOo 'white' and something they (wht folk) say on the regular.

But how in the world can anybody tell a people (who have yet to HEAL within their community) to 'get over it'?

I don't get it. . . Confused

Is it just THAT simple?

Damn, if there's a problem (within the black community & negative imaging IS a problem) I guess we can & should just 'get over it'.
quote:
Originally posted by Momzed:
quote:
Photographer Annie Leibovitz shot the 6-foot-9 NBA star and the 5-foot-11 Brazilian model for the cover and an inside spread. Vogue spokesman Patrick O'Connell said the magazine "sought to celebrate two superstars at the top of their game" for the magazine's annual issue devoted to size and shape.
King Kong? Why are Black people so quick to make the ape association with our image? We project it on to white people, but we're really the ones who see a monkey behind every hyperexpressive Black face. We need to get over that.


If LJ was on the cover by himself and had that expression then I might be inclined to agree. However, my thoughts werent that LJ looked like an ape/monkey/primate, but that the picture was oddly close to some things my grandfather had shown me from his youth. I am fairly certain that this picture was chosen to create and spur a rather specific response and reaction. And that was not that LJ was a fashion minded young man and look how great he looks in a suit. And their respective sizes could have been juxtaposed simply by him standing in a suit or his Cavs uniform right next to her. I agree that on the merit of his expression alone anyone who says he looks like "king kong" in and of itself may be pushing it a little, but I also find it slightly less than honest to believe that the point of this chosen cover given the compared photos isnt to suggest what it suggest (whether one was aware of the other pictures or not).

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fro And...the ironic thing is....this is also troubling for the poor gorilla [King Kong prototype]...cuz prior to white anthropology findings which said that gorillas are verocious....massa has learned what Africans knew all along that in fact, gorillas are one of the MOST gentleness primates in the ANIMAL kingdom. It is Massa and his asian counterparts who are sooooo ignorant and stupid....and never had their facts straight which dictated for years/centuries that APES/GORILLAS/ORANGTANS are violent creatures! Orangtans can be violent sometimes cuz they are "loners" and don't want to be bothered until mating season....but gorillas are group oriented animals....always have been despite the STEREOTYPE massa and his boys placed on them. Poor gorillas....poor black men....both are totally and tragically MISUNDERSTOOD. For a reason! fro
thabrothaman, does LG's picture on that cover really look to you like a menacing gorilla-beast on steroids? "Honestly," he does not to me. And the juxtaposed pictures do not suggest an intention to portray him as such. Where is the malice and brutality? Where is the woman's helplessness? Do you think the picture objectifies his dark skin and emphasizes that with dark clothing to convey "mad brute?" Why should Black people choose to associate like that?
fro But this photo^ with the drag queen is no threat to MASSA. It has been HIS goal all along to feminize[sp] the black male. Hence all the popular black celebrities in drag. However, this photo is not a threat on another level as well cuz traditional Massa's ultimate fantasy is about being with a black male.....and is why he will embrace this photo and place it on his wall at home, in his office and country club. fro
quote:
Originally posted by Kocolicious:
fro The second photo with Lebron seated depicts a STRONG Black male. Not a good thing to see. Especially now. fro


*Yeah, because heaven forbid if she likes him. IMO, that cover would've been MORE controversial, because there's no use of force; it's consensual. Almost similar to the Jamie Lee Curtis/Willie Gault magazine cover of THE CABLE GUIDE.
quote:
Originally posted by Momzed:
thabrothaman, does LG's picture on that cover really look to you like a menacing gorilla-beast on steroids? "Honestly," he does not to me. And the juxtaposed pictures do not suggest an intention to portray him as such. Where is the malice and brutality? Where is the woman's helplessness? Do you think the picture objectifies his dark skin and emphasizes that with dark clothing to convey "mad brute?" Why should Black people choose to associate like that?


I am not saying you mean this or that I believe you mean this, but the first thing that came to mind in reading this was the 60 Minutes interview when Clinton was asked if Obama was a muslim and her response was "not that I am aware of". Did she say he was one? Nope. Was there inference there? Yep. And thats my take on the picture. Again, I didnt look at the picture and say LJ looked like a primate, what I said was this looks alot like the race posters my grandfather showed me and my father talked about.

Now if you dont see any relationship at least in the composition of the Vogue photo and the ones compared to it then all I can say is you dont. I do and I see the difference in the picture they chose for LJ and those chosen for Gere and Clooney. I noticed that the Time or Newsweek picture of OJ back then was darkened. I notice that the production company for Flavor of Love is Mindless Entertainment. I noticed that all of Rev. Wright's sermon wasnt shown.

Are you asserting that because I noticed what the picture looks like that I see LJ that way?
quote:
Huey wrote:

Are you sure? I've seen the magazine cover myself.


It was Roger Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis even mentioned it in an interview. Plus this was around the late '80s to 1990. The Raiders weren't anything in the late '80s unlike the 49ers and Roger Craig was a much more bigger star than Willie Gault was. I wouldn't even say Willie Gault was ever a star. The most catches he had was 50 (1 time only)
quote:
Originally posted by Maynard:
quote:
Huey wrote:

Are you sure? I've seen the magazine cover myself.


It was Roger Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis even mentioned it in an interview. Plus this was around the late '80s to 1990. The Raiders weren't anything in the late '80s unlike the 49ers and Roger Craig was a much more bigger star than Willie Gault was. I wouldn't even say Willie Gault was ever a star. The most catches he had was 50 (1 time only)


Come on, people! I wanna see this cover, already! Big Grin

So, I google Curtis and Gault and found this (no picture, sorry): "Cable guide cover stirs controversy. ("The Cable Guide" October, 1990 issue with Jamie Lee Curtis and Willie Gault)" More.

I don't get any valid hits with Curtis and Craig, though.

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