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Jemele Hill makes us all feel smart again
- Updated: March 26, 2008
ESPN Page 2 writer Jemele Hill enlightened us again recently with an article about the apparently racially distasteful Vogue cover featuring LeBron James and Gisele Bundchen. Highlighted below are some of her insightful thoughts as well as some of our own, as we’ve been kind enough to help her make even more sense of them.
She looks like she’s on her way to something fashionable and exciting. He looks like he’s on his way to a pickup game for serial killers.
Funny you should mention that Jemele, because as soon as I saw that LeBron cover, I thought to myself, there’s the missing piece to my all-serial killer team. With Jeffrey Dahmer at power forward, Manson running the point, Bundy at center, Dexter Morgan at shooting guard and Rae Carruth for some support off the bench, I finally have a killer squad!
But Vogue’s quest to highlight the differences between superstar athletes and supermodels only successfully reinforces the animalistic stereotypes frequently associated with black athletes.
Is that why they called Leon Lett "the big cat"? Those bastards.
LeBron and Gisele strike poses that draw striking resemblance to the racially charged image of King Kong enveloping his very fair-skinned lady love interest.
King Kong was "racially charged"? If you know anything about anything, you’d know the King Kong character was a subtle jab at Kelly Tripucka’s body hair.
Too often, black athletes are presented as angry, overly aggressive and overly sexual. Or sometimes, they’re just plain emasculated.
The examples of this are endless. The 2002 Sports Illustrated cover that featured Charles Barkley chained like a slave. Ricky Williams wearing a wedding dress on an ESPN The Magazine cover in 1999.
Yes, that Ricky Williams in a dress cover was all of the above:
aggressive, angry and overly sexual! It totally gave women she-boners!
In fact, the shirtless black male athlete cover is pretty much a staple, reinforcing the idea that black athletes were blessed with physical characteristics, not mental ones.
But I thought we see guys like Iverson and Tupac shirtless so we can read the stories written on their chests? I hear you though, I am so sick of seeing those pictures of Tiger with his shirt off!
Vogue deserves criticism, but more blame should go to LeBron and other black athletes, who need to exercise stricter control of their images.
I’ve got it! LeBron, a lab coat and the affable Beaker on the cover of Science Weekly oughta repair his image.
And hey, what about the stereotype of Brazilian women being tall, beautiful models? Anyone ever see "City of God"? That place is crazy! Anyone see "Brazil"? Can you tell me what that movie was about?