Things That Matter

She Was Cropped Out Of A Photo Featuring Her White Peers, Now This African Climate Change Activist Is Speaking Out

Racism and white privilege are front and center in the climate change battle thanks to a viral photo of five climate change activists that was cropped to remove the only woman of color. The ‘terrible mistake’ has sparked an outcry among the public and prompted soul-searching at the Associated Press – the organization responsible for erasing the only Black woman in the photo.

The incident highlights the erasure of people of color from activist circles and the silencing of their voices to elevate those of their white peers.

In a photo of five climate activists, the only Black activist was cropped out before publishing.

It all happened at the World Economic Forum in Davis, Switzerland, where the young climate activists were in attendance. A photographer with the Associated Press took a picture of the five activists, including the well-known climate superstar Greta Thunberg and Ugandan Vanessa Nakate. THe photographer cropped it Nakate and sent a photo of the four whit women with a scenic mountain backdrop to editors around the world.

The AP’s initial response to the criticism was that it was done to enable a close-up of Thunberg and to remove a possible distraction in the photo – a building behind Nakate.

Vanessa Nakate told BuzzFeed News she was heartbroken to see websites use a photo featuring four white activists but not her.

In a Twitter DM conversation with Buzzfeed News, Nakate said she was heartbroken when she realized what had been done. She went on to say “I cried because it was so sad not just that it was racist, I was sad because of the people from Africa. It showed how we are valued. It hurt me a lot. It is the worst thing I have ever seen in my life.”

The young climate activist also took to Twitter to share her reaction in an emotional 10-minute-long video discussing her experience at the summit and how it felt being cropped from the photo. She says “it was the first time in my life that I understood the definition of the word ‘racism.'” She said she felt like her story had been erased.

“I don’t feel OK right now,” she said in the video posted on Twitter. “The world is so cruel.”

Thunberg supported her on social media, saying over the weekend that the picture was “totally unacceptable in so many ways. Like Vanessa said herself: ‘You didn’t just erase a photo. You erased a continent.’”

She’s also had to face backlash from people saying if she didn’t want to be cropped out, she should of stood in the middle of the group. Like what the…?

For real. People on Twitter were trying to tell this young African activist that she should of positioned herself in the middle of the photo if she didn’t want to be cropped out. What is wrong with people? How are you going to tell a person of color to be mindful of where they stand simply out of fear of being cropped? That’s not how it should work.

The AP originally said it was done to allow a close-up shot of Greta Thunberg but has since apologized for the incident.

The initial responde from the AP was definitely tone deaf, saying that it was done with the intention to remove a distraction in the photo’s background. Even if that were true, in doing so, you’re literally erasing the only person of color (and her experience) from the photo, the summit, and the cause. That’s not OK.

Recognizing the error in their response, the AP changed course by the weekend.

“My hope is that we can learn from this and be a better news organization going forward,” Sally Buzbee, the news service’s executive editor and senior vice president, said Monday. “I realize I need to make clear from the very top, from me, that diversity and inclusion needs to be one of our highest priorities.”

“This is a very important issue for the AP, and it’s bigger than a bad mistake on one photo,” said Gary Pruitt, president and CEO of the AP, who attended the first meeting. “Our values are to cover the world — not the white world, but the whole world. And we need to do it.”

Being erased from a major moment has led Nakate to lead a mission to fight for more inclusivity in the environmental justice movement.

Speaking up catapulted Nakate into an unfamiliar territory of social activism: calling out anti-black discrimination and racism. After experiencing “the definition of the word” for the first time in her life, she received messages of support. She said she now felt a greater responsibility to “amplify their voices”.

Nakate, an activist since 2018, was inspired by Thunberg to start her own climate movement in Uganda and began a solitary strike against inaction on the climate crisis in January 2019.

She’s made it a point to highlight the climate change issues that affect minority and vulnerable populations around the world. She hopes to remind people, that climate change is affecting the world’s most vulnerable populations already. That for many communities around the world, especially in her native Uganda, there is no time to wait for action.

Fashion Institute of Technology Had An Anti-Black Fashion Show That Displayed ‘Ugly Features’

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Fashion Institute of Technology Had An Anti-Black Fashion Show That Displayed ‘Ugly Features’

dietprada/ Instagram

Anti-blackness has proven to be sorely out of style in the past few decades but the fashion world seems to be behind the times on this one. We’ve told you this story time and time again but somehow the presence of racism, anti-Blackness and cultural appropriation has endured on the runways. Even at institutes of learning where you’d think things like this would now be 101.

So here’s the story once again.

The Fashion Institute of Technology is under fire after they allowed a graduate student to send a racist body of work down the runway.

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It shouldn’t be down to the models to have to refuse wearing blatantly racist accessories on the runway, especially not in a show thrown by an institution like @fitnyc. In an alumni show celebrating their 75th anniversary, MFA graduate Junkai Huang showed a collection that was meant to highlight the “ugly features of the body”. The choice of exaggerated bright red fake lips and “monkey ears”, as well as the school’s response, are leaving us shaking our heads. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Nearing a breakdown, African-American model Amy Lefevre (@lefevrediary ) spoke up about the accessories, but was told by staff it was “ok to be uncomfortable for only 45 seconds”. It’s one thing when it’s a pair of tricky heels, but quite another when you’re made up to look like racist caricatures from the not-so-distant past. Multiple complaints had been made in the days leading up to the show as well, with several people objecting. One anonymous student who was witness backstage, said the show’s producer @richardthornn told the group to “back down and get away” when they brought up the issue again. The accessories didn’t end up making it onto Lefevre, but that didn’t stop them from going down the runway on other models. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ In a statement to the NY Post, FIT president Dr. Joyce F. Brown emphasized allowing the students the “freedom to craft their own personal and unique artistic perspectives as designers, to be even what some would consider to be provocative”, but said they would investigate further. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ In a time when luxury brands are taking swift action by pulling offensive products and implementing diversity councils in response to similar scandals, it’s a shame to see a learning institution dragging their feet. Shouldn’t they be the ones broadening insights for the ones who will lead fashion in the future and not reinforcing the same aspects that have made the industry notoriously problematic? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ • #fit #fitnyc #suny #cuny #fashionschool #college #mfa #mastersdegree #alumni #fitalumni #fashiondesigner #design #designer #runway #model #blackface #racism #monkey #grotesque #sexdoll #bodyimage #lumpsandbumps #wiwt #ootd #runwaymodel #nyfw #fashionweek #dietprada

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For the FIT’s presentation which showcased the designers from their first MFA Fashion Design class, students sent models down the runway with thier own collections. FIT alum Junkai Huang was part of the bunch but his line stood out in particular because of its blatant racism. The FIT alum sent models down the runway wearing “large prosthetic ears and lips and bushy eyebrows.” Now people are saying that the images looked quite a bit like racist caricatures.  

On Monday, Diet Prada shared images from the show on Instagram after someone who had gone to the event told the New York Post that the designer aimed to showcase and highlight “ugly features of the body” using props that had been sourced from sex toys.

Amy Lefévre was a model meant to take part in the event but decided to walk out when she saw the props.

“I stood there almost ready to break down, telling the staff that I felt incredibly uncomfortable with having to wear these pieces and that they were clearly racist,” Lefévre told the Post in an interview. According to Lefévre she made the decion to not take part when someone had told her that it was “fine to feel uncomfortable for only 45 seconds.”

“I was literally shaking. I could not control my emotions,” Lefévre said “My whole body was shaking. I have never felt like that in my life. People of color are struggling too much in 2020 for the promoters not to have vetted and cleared accessories for the shows.”

Diet Prada later took to Instagram to share the situation, sparking outrage from many in the fashion community. “Sad times we live in when designers aren’t confident enough to have the clothing sell themselves,” wrote Olivia Dope while another commenter added, “When will this stop? Designers are hung up on controversy to sell cause these pieces can’t sell themselves, clearly.”

In a statement published by the Post, the Fashion Institute of Technology’s president, Dr. Joyce F. Brown, said that it would do its best to right the situation.

“This program protects a student’s freedom to craft their own personal and unique artistic perspectives as designers, to be even what some would consider to be provocative, so that they find that voice,” Dr. Brown said. “However provocative design and fashion might be though, my commitment to ensure that people are not made to feel uncomfortable, offended, or intimidated is also of the utmost importance not only to me personally but to the college community as well,” they added. “We take this obligation very, very seriously and will investigate and take appropriate action regarding any complaint or concern that is made in this situation.”

In a separate statement to the Pst FIT also issued an apology.

“Currently it does not appear that the original intent of the design, the use of accessories or the creative direction of the show was to make a statement about race; however, it is now glaringly obvious that has been the outcome. For that, we apologize — to those who participated in the show, to students, and to anybody who has been offended by what they saw.”

Conservatives Are Furious That AOC Called Out Rush Limbaugh’s Racist Past

Things That Matter

Conservatives Are Furious That AOC Called Out Rush Limbaugh’s Racist Past

aoc / Instagram / Rush Limbaugh / Facebook

During the State of the Union address, President Donald Trump broke protocol and norms by awarding a “surprise” Presidential Medal of Freedom. Former winners of the award are Ellen DeGeneres, Rosa Parks, Toni Morrison, Isabella Allende, and Gloria and Emilio Estefan. The newest recipient is conservative and extreme radio host Rush Limbaugh.

Rush Limbaugh is the latest recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Credit: @Acosta / Twitter

Rush Limbaugh is a Conservative radio host who is known to use racist, sexist, and xenophobic language during his shows. He has used his platform to slut-shame women fighting for affordable access to birth control and once referred to a 12-year-old Chelsea Clinton to a dog. During one show, Limbaugh sang a song to perform a racist rant against then-President Barack Obama.

His racist, sexist, and xenophobic rantings are all documented because of his radio show.

“The Rush Limbaugh Show” has been nationally syndicated since 1988 and boasts 25 million listeners monthly. The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest honor that can be bestowed on a civilian. Mother Teresa and Rosa Parks are among the honorees of the award.

A lot of people don’t agree that Limbaugh deserves the honor.

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is supposed to be reserved for civilians who have made major contributions to society. The contributions can be through the arts, philanthropy, science, etc. Many are wondering what Limbaugh has done to further society in a positive way. In a clip from “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” Limbaugh is seen making fun of Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease.

Conservatives and Limbaugh fans are most upset with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s take on the medal.

It was recently revealed to the public that Limbaugh was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. Many of the AOC critics have held tight to this fact when attacked the Congresswoman.

Some have gone strong against the New York Congresswoman.

Credit: @marklevinshow / Twitter

Conservatives on Twitter are up in arms about AOC calling out a man’s racist, sexist, and xenophobic past. They aren’t mad that the man said and did those things, just that a Latina Congresswoman reminded people of those comments. Think about that.

READ: AOC Said In Any Other Country She And Joe Biden Would Not Even Be In The Same Party