Black Diamond Media featuring Models of Color as Heroes of Destiny + News, Profiles and More!! - www.blackdiamondcomics.blogspot.com - *MODEL SEARCH - e-mail for details to: email@example.com
Lorna Simpson New York Artist + Photographer, The Edit MagazineDEVOUTFASHION
Phylicia Rashad and Debbie Allen by Moneta Sleet, Jr.Paris Chanel
Dido Elizabeth Belle
oil on canvas
Scone Palace, Perth (private collection of the Earl of Mansfield)
Although this painting falls outside the usual scope of this blog, it is one of my favorite historical European paintings. Dido Elizabeth Belle was the illegitimate daughter of Admiral Sir John Lindsay and enslaved African woman named Belle.
This painting was most likely commissioned by her father, the nephew of the Earl of Mansfield, and depicts the beautiful and vivacious Belle alongside her cousin, Elizabeth Murray.
The first time I saw this painting was in an art history classroom, accompanied by a story regarding the dehumanization of Africans in the Unites States, and the scores of visiting Americans who were scandalized by this painting. In America and several places in Europe, contemporaneous paintings always depicted people considered Black in subservient positions in relation to people considered White, if they bothered to paint them at all. To raise a bastard daughter of color alongside legitimate heirs was antithetical to American thought.
Dido Belle was raised and educated alongside the other highborn daughters of the household, and remained a favorite of the Earl and her father well into her thirties, after which an advantageous marriage was arranged.
Her position in the Earl’s household supervising the poultry yards was typical for any lady of high birth at the time, but her job overseeing the lord’s correspondence was usually a task reserved for a highly educated male clerk or scribe and is evidence of her importance and elevated rank. She received an allowance of £30 per year, more than any except the heiress herself and a sum unheard of at the time for any illegitimate daughter.
Upon Lord Mansfield’s death in 1788, Belle was furnished with a £500 lump sum in addition to a £100 annuity, as well as a suitable marriage to John Davinier, with whom she had three children. In Mansfield’s will, her status as a free person was carefully confirmed, since many would have been all too happy to divest her of her fortune.
Belle died in 1804 and was interred in St. George’s Fields, the parish to which she and her husband belonged.
My interest in this story was renewed recently when I learned that an upcoming film, Belle (currently in production), will be a dramatized biopic of Dido Elizabeth Belle’s life. The titular role will be played by South African actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
People of Color in European Art History
Elizabeth- Bioshock InfiniteMoco_latte
I’M A BLACK FEMALE COSPLAYER AND SOME PEOPLE HATE IT
Once upon a time, I inadvertently started a cosplay race war on Tumblr. Whoops.
So, here’s the deal: I’m a cosplayer. If you don’t already know one of us in person, (and you probably do) (WE’RE EVERYWHERE) you’ve probably seen people like me on the news — all dolled up in a rainbow of face paint and eye popping wigs, 50 shades of spandex and skyscraper shoes, for the sake of expressing love for and bringing our favorite characters to life at sci-fi, comic book, video game and anime conventions.
Since I started cosplaying in 2008, I’ve traveled the country, hitting up as many cons as financially possible. all the while making incredible friends, unforgettable memories and lugging hard-to-get-through-airport-security props along the way. (Have you ever tried to fly with a dress made out of plastic bubbles? Fun fact — YOU CAN’T. But you can ship it to your hotel!)
Here’s the second deal: I’m also black. Which is fine by most everyone, until I have the audacity to cosplay a character who isn’t.
After my pictures started making the rounds on deviantArt, tumblr and 4chan, it became pretty clear that my cosplay brings all the racists to the yard, and they’re like…white cosplay is better than yours.
I got a crash course in this when in 2010, I cosplayed Sailor Venus, my favorite character from my favorite anime, Sailor Moon. I found a fellow cosplayer to commission it from, as I wasn’t able to sew at the time, and worked carefully with her to bring the costume to life. I then constructed all of my accessories, agonized over choosing a shade of blonde I thought would compliment me, and wore her to A-Kon 21, a yearly anime convention in Dallas.
One of the big draws for cosplayers at cons is going to the series-specific photoshoot, where you gather with other people doing characters from the same series and pose for pictures. While at the Sailor Moon shoot, I chatted up and befriended a photographer who took the now infamous picture of me that would eventually go on to accompany numerous blog and forum posts arguing about whether or not black people should cosplay outside of their race.
"For a black cosplayer (not to be racist) she did an amazing job!" the original Tumblr post read. It was later was edited to include "I love her skin tone" after all hell broke loose.
Personally, I’ve always been stuck on those first few words: “for a black cosplayer.” As if the bar was set lower for us, as if we weren’t expected to perform on the same level as white cosplayers.
I lost track of how many times the post was liked, reblogged, linked to other websites — even now, nearly three years after the picture was taken, complete strangers will come up and reference it to me at cons, and it’s even come up in job interviews. My Venus became the unintentional face of the cosplay race debate online, an unwitting example of “Black cosplayers doing it right,” as if 9 times out of 10, black cosplayers were doing it wrong by default.
What kills me is that in person, nobody has the balls to say a word about whether or not they think darker-skinned people should cosplay lighter skinned characters — but online is a completely different animal. Online, I was “Nigger Venus,” and “Sailor Venus Williams” because I am black.
My nose was too wide, lips were too big, I had a “face like a gorilla” and wasn’t suited for such a cute character, because I am black. My wig was too blonde, my wig wasn’t blonde enough, or, my wig was ghetto because I was making it ghetto, by being black and having it on my head.
And furthermore, if I was going to insist on “ruining characters,” I could have at least picked one with black hair so it looked more “natural.” I should have worn blue contacts — but if I had, it would have looked ghetto. Because I am black.
The depths that the insults sink to are enough to scare many interested cosplayers away from even trying. I had an indian friend who refused to cosplay anything other than Indian characters after watching the way people tore into my costumes online.
Click to read more
Women of “The Best Man Holiday” (2013) - Ebony Magazine November 2013DOPE AS KEN
Model Luzia Viegas posing for Lady Ardzesz Corset.