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Is this all we are about? Naomi Campbell’s ‘Africa Inspired’ Harper’s Bazaar Spread

BellaNaija.com

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The September issue of US Harper’s Bazaar features Supermodel Naomi Campbell in a fashion spread shot by world renowned photographer Jean-Paul Goude.
Harper’s Bazaar is a fantastic publication
Jean-Paul Goude is an outstanding photographer
Naomi Campbell is a stunning model
BUT
This depiction on Africa is incredibly TIRED, PLAYED OUT & NOT PROGRESSIVE.
Thoughts?
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57 Comments

  1. plastiQ

    August 14, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    You said it already Bella: Tired and Played Out. Naomi is a fantastic model and Harper’s Bazaar has enough creative heads that could have turned out much more inspiring concepts than this.

    So sad

  2. Nabila idris ibrahim

    August 14, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    I disagree! I think it is empowering. It shows domination, progress and power! A sort of Queen of the Jungle vibe. I feel this is where women are headed at this point in time, and this just feels like an interpretation of how African/Colored women are finding their inner drive to go for what they are passionate about and rule it. Besides if you think about it colored models aren’t really used in shoots like this (African safari) … at first glance it might not say much but it says a lot! There is so much more to be said using this medium … Africa and all thats in it can never be gotten tired of or played out, it being the inspiration behind multiple shoots should be celebrated, our natural beauty hasn’t and hopefully wnt become irrelevant. In addition if they cant see all the other marvelous things/themes/settings we have to offer, then maybe its time we show them help them see. This is my thought on this. Gosh I love the photographs! Naomi is just stunning!!!!! And Bella Naija we love you!

  3. THE AMAKA

    August 14, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    the last shot reminds me of America’s Next Top Model Cycle 6 where the girls were having a photo shoot on an elephant in Thailand.
    what the hell is this? animals, jungle, poor people. im tired of this thing on africa and all you will see if they do choose to shoot in africa or about africa, it involves lions and tigers and cheetahs and animals period.
    this is dry.
    i dont blame people in the west for not being educated about the good things in africa.
    most people assume it’s: AIDS, poor people (Feed The Children), wild animals, bushes, forest, and voo doo.
    i dont blame them oo!!
    but she still is an amazing model… lol

  4. nneoma

    August 14, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    At a time when Boston police officers find the term “banana-eating jungle monkey” to be an appropriate term for Blacks, this spread is a bit annoying…

  5. na me

    August 14, 2009 at 8:20 pm

    i think the pics are hot! and lets be honest, its not a misrepresentation of our continent. neither is it discriminating or insulting. therefore im fine with it and will simply sit back and be amazed at how stunning the pictures are.

  6. Nneka

    August 14, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    I beg to differ. I like the pictures. I do not think they paint a regressive portrait of Africa at all. Africa STILL remain the ‘rawest’ epitome of nature. If they had shot pics with blink blink now, you will say they are oversubcribing to western ways. Abeg jere….
    ….On another note, whoever thought monkeys could skip so well *crossed eyed stare*

  7. THE AMAKA

    August 14, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    yawn….
    most people think of africa as a wild area with bushes everywhere filled with animals and poor people.
    this theme is getting really dry. time for them to show other sides of africa.
    this is getting ridiculous.
    our continent is more than just animals.

  8. africhika

    August 15, 2009 at 12:23 am

    wow. really? yeah, we’re jumping rope with monkeys and running with cheetahs everyday after we’re done contracting AIDS.

  9. BiggestBossThusFar

    August 15, 2009 at 12:34 am

    Everyone that thinks this spread is 100% okay is friggin’ ignorant.
    How are you going to continue to accept the SAME depiction of your continent that perpetuates REDUNDANT and MISLEADING stereotypes…

    Yes, we are proud to have nature in abundance but how about depicting the fact that we have other things going on for us like business, technology (cellphone craze, hello?!), rich culture, education, political drama/progress, etc.

    These people just see us as their objects of fantasy and it is beautiful in a poetic context, however when it comes to intellectual premises, it is highly degrading…

  10. John III

    August 15, 2009 at 2:15 am

    These photos are rather amazing; quite amazing and Naomi very ceases to be amazing. The most amazing photos are the photos of her on the elephant and her running next to the wild cat. She is in great form and its refreshing to see her take her flawless Africa beauty and blend it in with the settings of Africa. The strength of the photos are not just the background of Africa’s landscape but her homage to the soil she was created and fashioned from; it is a blend of natural beauty in total.

  11. Xos

    August 15, 2009 at 2:32 am

    I like the first picture but u all are right they could’ve done something different instead of putting her with animals and if they were going to use animals they could have had better pictures than this. They should’ve stepped out of the box and done something memorable and stunning. This is very dry.
    Some even said this was racist. I don’t thinks so, what do u all think?

  12. Peju

    August 15, 2009 at 3:30 am

    i tell you i tire…they always mis represent Africa in d media…and i dont think they are going to stop it anytime soon.They dont give a shit about us, they never have..sometimes we are so obsessed with them portraying us well..why should we even care…..we should use all that energy to build Africa and stop caring how the western world views us!!

  13. findus

    August 15, 2009 at 3:33 am

    I find the spread insulting and offensive…..any other theme could have been chosen to depict an African inspiration..This is pure garbage but Naomi is still at the top of her game..

  14. Aisha

    August 15, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Seriously, she isnt even ‘african’………….. gosh ! They could have used real 100% ‘african models’ with inspirational stories. such as Iman, Alek,Liya Kebede and the list could go on….
    I am a subscriber of Bazar magazines here in Australia and in the US. I can’t wait to get my september issue to read the article. For now, i am kinda diappointed.
    Seriously, she isnt even ‘african’………….. gosh ! They could have used real 100% ‘african models’ with inspirational stories. such as Iman, Alek,Liya Kebede and the list could go on…. the pics look great though,Jean-Paul Goude is one of my best ever photographers…….
    I am a subscriber of Bazar magazines here in Australia and in the US. I can’t wait to get my september issue to read the article. For now, i am kinda diappointed. xoxo

  15. Aisha

    August 15, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Seriously, she isnt even ‘african’………….. gosh ! They could have used real 100% ‘african models’ with inspirational stories. such as Iman, Alek,Liya Kebede and the list could go on…. the pics look great though,Jean-Paul Goude is one of my best ever photographers…….
    I am a subscriber of Bazar magazines here in Australia and in the US. I can’t wait to get my september issue to read the article. For now, i am kinda diappointed. lots of luv………… xoxo

  16. Me

    August 15, 2009 at 11:59 am

    At least they pay attention to Africa
    No one says this is all Africa is about – it’s just one side of the story
    You can’t expect them to capture the all different faces of Africa in just one fashion spread.

  17. KK

    August 15, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    which other sides?
    these pics are depiction of nature at its most natural form.
    could someone bring me up to speed?
    what are we splitting our heads about?

  18. Ola

    August 15, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Thank you jare!
    Much ado about nothing. The pictures are beautiful. Let those complaining go and learn about photography and make a change in the depictions of “Africa” SMH. All this drama for a fashion spread – key word being FASHION to those yarning some hot dust about education and technology – if they were doing a LIFESTYLE spread then you can begin complaining.

  19. kemchi

    August 15, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    So all we do then is run with cheetahs and leopards, jump rope with monkeys and ride about on elephants really????????????????? Abi when was d last time u did any of the above?
    I agree with Bella it’s tired and played out!

  20. Ray

    August 15, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    I was once asked, by an African-American, where i was from, to which i answered Nigeria. She then asked me whether I saw Lions running around often, while there, to which I answered No. That in fact, I had never seen one. She then proceeded to tell me that I was not African. Pictures like the ones above only re -enforces the stereotypical views held by many of Africans. Honestly, is this the best they could come up with?

  21. Me

    August 15, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    I know right!!!
    And it’s not even the first of it’s kind – so I’m not sure what the noise is all about. Anyone that wants to ‘depict’ Africa better should start their own magazine & circulate it worldwide for the world to see.

  22. Kenneth Tamara

    August 15, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    The whole thrill about Africa is about its natural environment. If you want skycrapers and bridges and cosmopolitan madness, there are other places in the world that have that to the 10th degree. But no where in the world rivals Africa in its NATURE. Thats not something to be ashamed of. Thats something to be proud of! And i think its always western culture starved Africans who are always whinning about the display of Africa’s nature. Wildlife roaming free is a resource that should be preserved and celebrated, and not something to be pushed aside in an effort to portray another bland sophisticated westernized world.

  23. THE AMAKA

    August 15, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    oh please! why cant outsiders show more to africa than just this?
    thats why i dont blame the western world when they think africa is only bush with animals, poor people, and people living with AIDS.
    all the fashion magazines do is glorify the bush and the wild.
    is that all africa is about?
    abeg, who cares if they pay attention to africa if its going to be the same cliche thing all over again.

  24. Corrina

    August 15, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    The pictures were OK. They could have captured the same images in any zoo in the world. She made her Millions for the spread. Anything black originated from Africa. That said, take it or leave it

  25. AzzedineAliaFan

    August 15, 2009 at 10:05 pm

    I look at it as a black model (or a model of african descent) getting work, whereas we don’t see them too often in U.S. fashion magazines or runway shows. So regardless of what these pics are “perceived” to be, they are beaufiul. She does a good job @39 when the fashion world wants to deny older and/or minority models their place in the industry, BRAVO to you Naomi!!!

  26. AzzedineAliaFan

    August 15, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    I look at it as a british black model getting work, whereas we don’t see them too often in U.S. fashion magazines or runway shows. So regardless of what these pics are “perceived” to be, they are beaufiul. Bravo to you Namoi, @39, you still prove that you’re a pro!! We know how fickle/racist the industry can be, so let’s just be glad that a model of AFRICAN descent got a spread in the much anticipated Sept. Fall Issue of a popular U.S. fashion magazine!

  27. AzzedineAliaFan

    August 15, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    Ooops, sorry for the double post, i didn’t realize it would post at the top 🙂

  28. Gosh!

    August 16, 2009 at 1:38 am

    Why look at the negative aspect? why don’t we just appreciate it as celebrating africa’s diverse beauty! We complain too much jo. If we don’t like it, lets keep bringing our own stuff out too.

  29. THE AMAKA

    August 16, 2009 at 2:03 am

    i take this quote from Ray.
    “I was once asked, by an African-American, where i was from, to which i answered Nigeria. She then asked me whether I saw Lions running around often, while there, to which I answered No. That in fact, I had never seen one. She then proceeded to tell me that I was not African. Pictures like the ones above only re -enforces the stereotypical views held by many of Africans. Honestly, is this the best they could come up with?”

    its very true.
    all i see about africa here in the US is people dying of hunger, AIDS, Feed the Children, and animals such as lions and tigers and hyenas.
    can they at least show something DIFFERENT.
    its good they are showing africa but its always about the SAME THING. its time to think of something else.

  30. Robert

    August 16, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    Trying to figure out how they would make a fashion spread of Ms. Campbell romping around a bunch of people holding cell phones. While I understand concerns about a one-sided depiction of a very large, rich and diverse continent, it seems like much ado about nothing.
    Had it been set in a mansion would we be complaining about not representing the poor or stereotyping rich people?
    I *am* surprised no one’s complaining about the “animal” skins (I know they’re fake) she’s wearing, or the lousy Photoshop job on the first image.

  31. mj

    August 16, 2009 at 10:39 pm

    i dont think they would have wanted to feature other people in the shoot cuz it has to focus on just the model. but yea i too am tired of seeing africa=wild animals. seems the only time people are interested in african humans is when they want to talk about wars and hungry children

  32. J

    August 17, 2009 at 3:31 am

    Think about South Africa for example. Doesn’t this spread represent some of the pride of South Africa?

  33. ujay

    August 17, 2009 at 4:10 am

    these pics r beautiful, its still africa inspired whether u like it or not!! it is however just one aspect of africa and everyone knows that!! we Africans need to put out the images we want of Africa and stop complaining when someone else does it!! Naomi is incredible and still relevant !!..

  34. Kpakpando Nwanyi

    August 17, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    Biko does anyone else see where she is playing jump rope with baboons? Are you fugging with me thinking that these pictures are just “nature” shots?

  35. Lulu

    August 18, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    wateva!!!its just a photoshoot!!!she gettin payed baybee!!!

  36. jbaby

    August 18, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    wild life and animals is our identity, every country/place/ has their own identity. africans we can complain. african inspired do u know wat inspired means. pics are amazin i dont know wat the fuss is about. it is african inspired, pls tell give an alternative.
    porverty, AIDS are very serious issues in african compared to any other part in the world. the minute we start acceptin it as a problem thats when a solution wil be found.

  37. jbaby

    August 18, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    its an african inspired photoshoot. not a photoshoot about africa. it has nothin to do with if the model is black white or asian.

  38. jbaby

    August 18, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    seriously do u people know the meaning of the word ‘inspired’, coz if u do u wont be havin this arguement. seriously all these complains r gettin really annoyin on bella over nothin. naomi campbell one of the biggest supermodels in the world, Jean-Paul Goude one of the world’s renowned photographer in an african inspired photoshoot. seriously ppl u need to shut it. all this hatin is gettin too much.

  39. Blessing Ihedioha

    August 18, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    thank you…..i couldn’t put it any better. you all need to shut up! it is “inspired”….get it “inspired”. i really don’t know wat all this stupid argument and comment are coming from!

  40. jbaby

    August 18, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    BELLA it is an african safari inspired photoshoot. wat is wrong with that. it is written on the first photo. so wat do u suggest should be done for an AFRICAN SAFARI INSPIRED PHOTOSHOOT since u started this whole thing elaborate on ur point.

  41. Hmm

    August 20, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    As a rule, I never comment, but these comments here are…wow. Moving swiftly on to those Africans here who applaud this “African safari inspired” photo shoot featuring “a model of AFRICAN descent”: Have you paused to ask yourselves (1) if you really did read the Bella caption properly, and (2) why the only images Africa inspires are those related to the wild? I believe Bella’s referring to the Western collective consciousness regarding “that big country” Africa. Yes, yes, someone’s going to come back and say that Africa hasn’t produced much to be proud of than the safari image, so let’s skip that. The myriad cultures and modern lifestyles across the continent should be more than enough source material for fashion photo shoots. That’s the case, after all, with non-African cultures. And Naomi’s just another beautiful but aging model and not a spokesperson for “models of AFRICAN descent”.

    So anyway, I hope that those of you who support the propagation of this view of Africa–and I can’t help but wonder whether this mindset is “inspired” by modern colonization–don’t mind when someone remarks, “Wow, you’re African? But you speak English good,” and you have to correct their grammar.

  42. jbaby

    August 20, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    @ hmm. firstly naomi campbell is of caribbean descent just to clear that up. secondly what the hell is wrong with an african safari inspired shoot, i’m not saying thats all africa has to offer photoshoot wise, but for this particular shoot this is what they wanted to do and i dont see wat the problem is. i think people are taking these photos too personally and overthinking the whole thing. all i’m saying is that it shouldn’t be a big deal. its just a photoshoot and this whole thing has gone too far.

  43. Lola

    August 20, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    THANK YOU O KPAKPANDO

    Please pray do tell–WHAT are they trying to INSPIRE??
    She is frigging playing jump-rope with SIMIAN animals–abegiii—
    WHAT are they trying to say o??
    That the baboons are playing with their long lost sister??
    OR WHAT??

    PLEASE SOMEONE SCHOOL ME CUZ I CHOOSE TO BE DUMB ON THIS “INSPIRATIONAL” SHOOT–

    I wonder why AFRICA must always depict animals(read wild).poverty,disease etc..

    SERIOUSLY..there is NOTHING else that can INSPIRE the team here?

    oga o..

    okay then Naomi no vex,continue to dey play hopscotch with the monkeys while whitey watches through his binoculars—

  44. THE AMAKA

    August 20, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    if you see how the western world is so ignorant about africa and what they think africa is all about, then you will know this photo shoot is BLOODY annoying!
    most people think of africa as having wild animals, diseases, and hungry dying people.
    do they really think we play jump rope with monkeys?!?!
    abeg, this photo shoot and concept has been LONG played out. its time they start showing other things about africa. there is so much to show besides the same old thing.

  45. jbaby

    August 21, 2009 at 12:29 am

    its a photoshoot. there r more bizzare photos from photoshoots than the whole monkey thing so dont even go there. and for ur info i live in the western world. i get asked silly qst bout africa instead of complainin or gettin angry i educate and tell them exactly wat it is. this photos hav nothin to do with AIDS, hunger etc that is a whole diff issue and this is exactly wat i mean by people like u overthinkin this whole thing. AIDS and hunger r real problems in africa so dont act like it isnt an issue for pple to bring up bout africa. it is big PROBLEM. not bcoz u probably live a privileged life doesnt mean that AIDS and hunger isnt spreading widely in africa coz it is. but thats not the issue here. so dont bring that up.

  46. jbaby

    August 21, 2009 at 12:38 am

    why bring up the monkey one. there are four photos posted. eg wat bout the one that she’s running with the tiger cause pple do that too in africa. it is a concept. u guys should get over urself. since u r all the experts in photoshoot concept, why dont u suggest an african safari inspired concept that doesnt involve animals in the wild. lol.

  47. THE AMAKA

    August 21, 2009 at 12:46 am

    excuse me? did you not here when i said a LOT of people think the ONLY thing in africa is poor hungry people, AIDS, and animals.
    yes there are more bizzare photo shoots, so? we are talking about THIS ONE.
    i didnt say they werent real issues that didnt exist.
    but its my opinion and i think this concept is PLAYED OUT! been played out its time to get a coffin and bury it!
    and when i brought up the other two i was making a reference to the sterotypes about africa and how this only plays into that same sterotype. so in a way its related.
    whatever you may like it, but the majority dont.
    there is more to africa than playing with animals.

  48. THE AMAKA

    August 21, 2009 at 1:13 am

    i think you should learn your animals because that’s a cheetah not a tiger.
    its obvious this is an african safari inspired photo shoot, but is this all africa is about? safaris and wild animals? its not about the safari but about what photographers ALWAYS choose to shoot about africa.
    its getting annoying and played out, dry, dead, ect…

  49. jbaby

    August 21, 2009 at 2:04 pm

    thats not all africa is bout, but this is the concept the mag wanted to use whether it is done so many times or not. these photos are amazing why cant we just appreciate that. there is nothing wrong with using this concept over and over as far the photos look amazin at the end of d day.

  50. food for your sole

    August 24, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    THESE A TRULY SPECTACULAR IMAGES. SHOWS THE STRENGTH AND BEAUTY IN AFRICA! BEST I HAVE SEEN HER LOOK IN A LONG TIME!

  51. AK

    August 30, 2009 at 7:08 am

    Oh, for god sakes! How amazing are these images! Have you stopped to think about the incredible skill involved in achieving them? Geeez, chill-ax.

  52. Tee

    September 8, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    We Nigerians are so blinded and sensitive these days that we can no longer see beauty in anything. I’m not a fan of Naomi Campbell but those are beautiful pictures. I do not see anything wrong with the theme.

  53. jojo henry

    October 1, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    We are 14 year old students who have just deconstructed this photo shoot. Overall we think that these photos are highly racist to Africans and highly sexualized. The connection between Africans and animals is appauling. You should know better….we’re disgusted. Bye Bye.

  54. biola

    October 6, 2009 at 1:16 am

    its about time Naomi found something else to do – take a hint from Heidi, Tyra etc. Until then, she needs to earn a living and will remain stuck with lame photoshoots and catwalk…

  55. Ed

    October 6, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    i think its amazing…yes i do agree the image of animals in africa is played out but this shoot is amazing all the while..i like it

  56. Ed

    October 6, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    amazing shoot..i love it

  57. chuck n.

    February 6, 2011 at 4:01 am

    i honestly don’t understand how these images are racist. there are not a misrepresentation of africa but an accurate depiction of african fauna.

    in my opinion, these shots are about the beauty of nature and how it (sometimes ridiculously) influences fashion.

    oh yeah, also power. i mean look at that first picture.

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