Model Emily Bador was surprised to see a photo of herself on the cover of the December/January issue of Blackhair magazine, and has issued an apology to anyone her photo may have offended.
“This image is about three or four years old,” Bador — who is half-English and half-Malaysian —posted on Instagram. “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 of Blackhair.”
Even though Bador did not consent to having her image used by the magazine, she is still apologizing for the fact that such a photo exists at all.
“I would deeply and sincerely like to apologize to every one for this, and black women especially,” she says. “I believe this shoot is from when I was around 15 and didn’t understand cultural appropriation or the impact it has on people of color. I was uneducated, 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,” she continues. “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 okay on white women.”
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The London-based model says she has learned a lot since the time the photo was originally taken.
“I do regret doing this,” she says. “I’m so sorry, and I’m very sorry this cover was taken away from a black woman. 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 educate others so they don’t make similar mistakes.”
Blackhair has issued an apology of their own after becoming aware of Bador’s post.
“It was recently brought to our attention that the model gracing our December/January issue is not of black or mixed-race heritage,” the magazine posted on Instagram. “We were obviously not aware of this 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. We can only take their word for it, and of course, try to use our own judgment.”
“At Blackhair we continuously strive to celebrate black women in all our beautiful variation of skin hues and hair textures,” the statement continues. “We are only too aware of how black women are underrepresented in the mainstream media and the last thing we want to do is add to our erasure. Thank you to Emily Bador for bringing this to our attention. We really appreciate your honesty.”