At first glance, all I saw was the headline “Carine Roitfeld apologizes for tone-deaf Instagram” and I made some assumptions/guesses to myself about what she said. Let me tell you something: my guesses were small potatoes. When you learn what Carine Roitfeld originally said – the thing for which she’s apologizing – it will either make you laugh or cry. I laughed. It’s too absurd. As many of you know already, Roitfeld was and is a big deal in European fashion publishing. She was the long-time editor of Vogue Paris and she’s the current editor of CR Fashion Book. She can make or break careers in Europe. She’s also hilariously out of touch. She posted a photo of herself embracing Sudanese model Anok Yai. First of all, that alone is a visual representation of “I Have A Black Friend, Who Is Also My Prop,” which is not really ideal for this moment. Then in the comments, Roitfeld added this absolute GEM: “Anok is not a black woman, she is my friend.” I CANNOT. Omg.
[From Page Six]
French fashion legend Carine Roitfeld issued a public apology on Wednesday, after an Instagram post of her with black model Anok Yai was slammed as “tone-deaf,” “deeply offensive” and “self-serving.” Earlier this week, as millions of social media users showed their support for the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of George Floyd’s death, the 65-year-old CR Fashion Book founder shared a photo of herself embracing the South Sudanese beauty.
Roitfeld captioned the image, “Miss you,” later adding a comment that read, “Anok is not a black woman, she is my friend.”
The post was later deleted, but not before Diet Prada shared it — along with a handful of comments from horrified Instagram users.
“Before the murder of George Floyd you never posted a black woman before,” one read. “Do not use her skin to make you feel better about the casual everyday racism you participate in. This is DEEPLY offensive.”
“She is most definitely A BLACK WOMAN and the fact you think you have to erase her race to make this point is part of the problem,” another captured comment read.
Roitfeld posted a lengthy apology Wednesday night. “I would like to sincerely apologize for my previous comments that were posted on social media. My intent was to express love and support for my dear friend, Anok Yai – not to deafen my message. I realize that I caused further pain and hurt to the very community that I was looking to support. I am learning from this experience and will continue to use my platform and voice to create opportunities for change. Anok you are a beautiful, strong and talented Black woman and I meant absolutely no harm. I only meant to send a message of support to you and your family.”
Calling her earlier post “a grave error,” Roitfeld concluded, “I vow to continue to focus my efforts and stand up to these injustices to support and further create opportunities that amplify the black community and their voices in the fight against systemic racism.”
It sometimes feels like one step forward, two steps back with white people in general, right? I’ve enjoyed seeing so many white folks demonstrate and protest with Black Lives Matters protesters. So many white peeps have been doing good – and sometimes imperfect, but still good – work online and in the real world. And then there are people like Carine Roitfeld. She’s not a black woman, SHE’S MY FRIEND! I mean… I guess it would never occur to Roitfeld that a woman could be both a black woman and a friend to a white woman. I imagine Anok was like “She’s not NOT white and she’s not my friend.”
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Photos courtesy of WENN, Instagram.