Naomi Campbell Hits Back at the 'Angry Black Woman' Stereotype in Vogue: 'I'm Quite Over It'
“Is it now that we have permission to speak? Well, I have always spoken,” said the supermodel
Naomi Campbell wants to end the racist, sexist "angry Black woman" stereotype, once and for all.
As the November 2020 Vogue cover star, wearing a stunning white dress by Dior Haute Couture, the trailblazing supermodel, 50, reflected on her career, particularly the discriminatory feedback she's dealt with along the way.
“I am quite over it,” Campbell told the magazine of being criticized for speaking out, often being labeled a "angry Black woman." “Is it now that we have permission to speak? Well, I have always spoken.”
“There were a few things that I would do when I was younger that I was told were bad for my race,” she added. “Now the things I do are not just for me anymore. I think more of my culture and my race, as opposed to thinking about just me.”
Campbell particularly recalled a 2013 interview with U.K.'s Channel 4 News, when interviewer Jonathan Rugman insisted that she had an "anger she so obviously displays." At the time, she again pushed back on the "angry Black woman" label.
“I remember that very well,” the London-born model told Vogue of the interaction. “I understood exactly what angle [he] was going to come at, and that it would be combative. And I see the things newspapers go for. I see they’d rather write some trash thing that you’ve done, rather than the good that you’ve done. When I was younger it used to upset me, but it doesn’t now — I’m not looking for those validations anymore. But I am still a little skeptical about doing interviews in England.”
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Campbell opened up about tackling racial disparities in the modeling industry earlier this year. While appearing remotely on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen in July, she addressed Anna Wintour's statement to the staff at Vogue, amid the Black Lives Matter movement, about the publication's failure to elevate diverse voices.
“I want to say this especially to the Black members of our team — I can only imagine what these days have been like,” the fashion magazine editor wrote in the email sent on June 4. “But I also know that the hurt, and violence, and injustice we’re seeing and talking about have been around for a long time. Recognizing it and doing something about it is overdue.”
She continued: “I want to say plainly that I know Vogue has not found enough ways to elevate and give space to Black editors, writers, photographers, designers and other creators. We have made mistakes too, publishing images or stories that have been hurtful or intolerant. I take full responsibility for those mistakes.”
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Campbell said on WWHL that she is looking forward to the change happening in the fashion industry. "I think things are about to change, don't you?" she asked. "Things are about to change."
"Everyone used to think that you liked being the token Black person in the room," Campbell added of her own experience. "It's absolutely the opposite. I never did."
"It needs to change from the board room to the seat. It needs to go right from the top through," she added. "I've been saying this for years, and so I'm truly grateful and happy finally this is happening."
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