The April issue of the popular Vogue magazine has caused controversy in the country. The cover is graced by Gisele Bundchen, one of the world’s top supermodels, and Lebron James, one of the world’s top basketball players. The photo depicts LeBron James dribbling a basketball and holding Gisele Bundchen by the waist, with an angry game face pose. The reason for the controversy is that some black leaders and journalists think that this is photo is reminiscent of the stereotypes that feed into the public’s perception of the black male. LeBron James in the photo is compared to King Kong, and Gisele Bundchen is compared to the white woman in distress.
Upon looking at the photo, you can see certain similarities to that analogy. You can see LeBron as the “Mad Black Man” wanting the white woman to him self. You can see what is described as the “gorilla” like pose of the face as a stereotype of black men being like animals. You can see this as a black man asserting his desire over a white woman, which is something that has been talked about in the black community for some time now. You can also see it as a basketball player dribbling the basketball that made him famous and a provider for his family.
You can see a beautiful woman on the arm of one of the most talented and respectable basketball players in the world. You can see the future of the NBA trying to reach a new genre of life and fashion with someone who has navigated that course already. You can see LeBron James and Gisele Bundchen as two individuals on the top of their game, posing in a fashion that is natural to them. When you look at the picture, you see whatever you want to see or whatever you are looking for. That turns the question back to your self to ask,” Do I look for racism in places it is not?”
LeBron James was quoted in the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer that he was “just showing a little emotion” and “who cares what anyone says?” LeBron James himself didn’t think that the photos were racist. The bigger picture is that LeBron James is the first black man to grace the cover. This should be the outrage seeing that many a black man has been at the forefront of fashion and style. You have entrepreneurs like Sean “Diddy” Combs, who owns a clothing label and has one numerous awards, and Russell Simmons, who has inspired change with his jewelry and clothing line to benefit Africa and also help start Baby Phat clothing with his ex-wife Kimora Lee Simmons. It is this fact that should be talked about.