First there was “Bow down Bitches” from Beyoncé’s song, that was the main talk around the web until it died. Now, there’s “Be My Slave”- and no this one has nothing to do with Beyoncé so you can chill! My main point here is the power of language/messaging and how those who are able to control this either don’t pay attention to it or are deliberately using it for a personal gain of some sort – perhaps a marketing strategy that we all need to be enlightened on!
I caught wind of an editorial shoot by Aamna Aqeel in Diva magazine lightly while on the web but I scrolled past it, initially, avoiding irritation. When it landed in my inbox on Facebook via a dear friend, I had to read it! Boy oh boy, when I read it was I astounded!
They say pictures say a thousand words , these pictures coupled with the repulsive and explicit message ” Be my Slave” spoke a million words and some! It will jilt you if you haven’t forgotten about slavery by now; I say forgotten because folks have made it a point of fashion and art these days to decorate a sad reality – so much so that the ugliness of it is slowly growing dim. Will the future generation think slavery was all a big joke or am I overreacting here?
See for yourself:
The message and images seems so clear right? However, no we all have been mistaken somehow ! This wasn’t Aqueel intentions, ‘ She denied any intention of racism in the story. In fact, the designer’s aim was to shed light on the issue of child labor. Aqueel said that the dark-skinned Baloch child was incidental–“He works in a garage and wanted some work.”’ ( Via Huffington Post, Julee Wilson)
Isn’t that child-labor in and of itself still? Why? Because he’s gonna be on a spread, it’s not? Are his parents aware? I have nothing more to say. Here’s a few comments from commentators on her Facebook:
- ” This is hideous and completely irresponsible advertising.” — Sarah J.K
- ” Slave is always appealing…….. “– Ann White
- ” This is suppose to be art?” –Jannah Lisa Prentiss
- ” This is stupidly ridiculous you couldn’t be more innovative and come up with a better, less exploitative, less offensive theme? This tells me how NOT creative or aware you are.” –Christina Marie
- “It’s only art mimicking a past life event. No reason to take it personal. you weren’t even there.” — Harvey Trent
- “Ah so slavery is “on trend” now is it?” –Leah Borromeo
I think it’s so easy to offend each other in the smaller scale of things but something so huge where so many people are involved – they do run it through editors and reviews ( I have interned for a print magazine and that’s the most repetitive part: editing) am not sure how it didn’t sit well with someone?! Having studied Mass Media and the dissemination of messages to the masses, it is always unsettling to me the kind of messages that are sent and even scarier how the received is chewing it, especially children!
What are your thoughts, if any?
Post idea suggested by Ada ( thanks)
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