The Life and Culture of Kicks

In Sneaker News: Controversy Over Vogue Cover

Cover for Vogue with Lebron and Gisele

Yes I know this news is old… in fact it mad old. But anyway, here we have a cover that shows Lebron and Gisele “posing together” for the front of the magazine. LeBron seems to be in Basketball mode while Gisele is in model mode. LeBron, who just happens to be Black, is in his aggressive “fighting warrior” stance looking like he is “taking”  Gisele, a white Brazillian model, by the waist. Some how this image as a whole brings up th stereotypes of black men wanting to steal (and eventually rape) the white woman.

If that stereotype isn’t good enough, then what about LeBron being presented as a “threat” and over aggressive? Some say he is being represented as the stereotypical black male who doesn’t smile (LOL) and is always hyper aggressive especially in sports (and I guess dancing and sex). has an article about the situation. For me, the cover looked funny for 3 reasons:

  1. They don’t really look like they are together in the shot. It just looks like 2 separate shots Photoshopped together to work.
  2. LeBron just looks off for the cover of Vogue magazine. He just looks so out of place. It doesn’t even seem to be a picture, more like a moment in the game totally divorce from it original background What is with the hyper-aggressive looks?
  3. Why does the ball look like its about to hit his foot? LMAO

What did Vogue have to say?  They were looking to, “celebrate two superstars at the top of their game” so I am guessing that the concept is 2 people at the top of their game, doing what they do for a living, “posng” wit each other while they are doing their thing.

A great concpet if that is what it is, but I think it wasn’t carried out very well. Even without the controversy, the shot looks forced. Here is Vogue’s video feature explaining the focus of the issue.

No word on how feminists feel about this. Giselle looks like she is totally in some other plane of existence.

I don’t really see all of this and only saw something when others pointed out that they looks like there is more going on here than a bad detached cover.

There are plenty of comments on this subject.  More than 100 comments. Many of them are insightful and very interesting. You should take a look.

So is this cover racist? Does it bring the steroetype of the black man being the wild ape animal wanting the beautiful white woman? Here is a picture of what people are talking about:

Vogue Comparision To King Kong

Your thoughts? I think its really not there and its is really being forced. I can say that with all the controversy, I do wonder what’s up… Oh and can anybody figure out what sneakers LeBron is wearing? Looks more like the IV ‘s than the V’s

Go to for more about this issue.

3 responses

  1. I believe what is racist, and probably sexist too, is to assume that an adult black male and an adult white female are incapable of understanding that they are being asked to pose, what for, etc. and to make their own choices in the matter.

    If he felt it was racist, why would he participate? If she felt it was sexist, why would she participate.

    It is a cover that has good contrast, shows two very different forms of beauty, and says there is more to life, and what makes people important, than just strength or just beauty. It is a very artistic piece, which is what people expect from Vogue (or should).

    When I saw it, I did not say “Oh my, how racist!” I thought it was a fun, playful cover, and that they both looked very good together, and like they were enjoying the shoot. I also wondered who they were, because I can’t say I’ve seen either of them before.

    December 30, 2008 at 11:41 pm

  2. Also, quite frankly, I think Vogue, what they said, is truthful. They both look like people at the top of their game, and it says even though they are kind of different games, they are both something you should really throw yourself into.

    And, it also points out that models actually do put in grueling physical effort, and sports stars are judged for their looks; so, even in seemingly dissimilar sports and persons, one finds many of the same aspects.

    It is, then, far from racist or sexist; it is exactly the opposite. The thing is, it is sending this message to people who wouldn’t understand the message if they put a white female tennis star and an asian male actor on the cover, for instance, because for most people it would not click without the stark contrast. Apparently, for some, even that isn’t enough!

    Or, say, if they put a black tennis pro, female, and a little pretty boy white model. That way it wouldn’t be saying “men rape women” as some people seem to think it means. But, no one would get the contrast in lifestyles and etc. that way, either.

    So, they used archetypes – pretty, pampered female; big, rough male. He doesn’t look at all like he’s threatening her – or anyone. Looks like he could whip your butt on the court, though!

    December 30, 2008 at 11:48 pm


    December 1, 2009 at 5:02 pm

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