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Teen Vogue Slammed by Black Twitter for Using Mixed-Race Models & Celebs for Senegalese Twist Feature



Teen Vogue Senegalese Twists Feature - BellaNaija - June2015

The issue of racially correct hairstyles has proven to be one that isn’t going away in recent months. From the 14-year-old who got attacked on Twitter for showing off her box braids, to the black beauty website that was harassed for displaying a Caucasian blogger with curly hair in their Natural hair segment. It seems this trending topic is still on shaky grounds.

The latest addition to this list goes to Teen Vogue. Yesterday, Black Twitter attacked the publication for using a bi-racial model named Phillipa Steele, to showcase Senegalese Twists in a beauty feature. In this particular June/July issue, its Beauty & Health Director – Elaine Welteroth described her journey to Rwanda where she got Senegalese Twists done. However, in their print version where the story was ran, they used the Phillipa& white models and mixed-race celebrities.

Members of the Black community on Twitter read this as a blunt dismissal of dark-skinned women, especially when it came to this type of hairstyle. Some saw it as a deliberate attempt to change the original direction of the feature which was Welteroth’s Rwanda story; and a few didn’t realize at the time that Welteroth is black. She has since gone on record saying “this mixed-race model is as black as I am.

Read some tweets below including a tweet and Instagram response from Welteroth;

Teen Vogue Senegalese Twists Feature - BellaNaija - June2015003

Teen Vogue Senegalese Twists Feature - BellaNaija - June2015005 Teen Vogue Senegalese Twists Feature - BellaNaija - June2015002 Teen Vogue Senegalese Twists Feature - BellaNaija - June2015001Teen Vogue Senegalese Twists Feature - BellaNaija - June2015004

What do you think BellaNaijarians?

Photo Credit: @FashionBombDaily (Instagram)

Jennifer is the Beauty Editor & Style Representative of Get in touch - Send an email to: beauty(at) or style(at) | Follow us on Instagram: @bellanaijabeauty OR @bellanaijastyle | Follow us on Twitter: @bellanaijastyle


  1. Tru

    June 25, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    Kini Big Deal?

    • CovertNigerian

      June 25, 2015 at 8:19 pm

      I could not have said it better myself. Thank you.

    • Jhennique

      June 26, 2015 at 11:19 am

      You can ask again after you have lived in the US as a black person

    • CovertNigerian

      June 26, 2015 at 4:11 pm

      @ Jhennique, Abeg make I hear word. Granted, I don’t fully understand the issues faced by African/Black Americans, but I think in this case it makes me more objective.

      Is the solution to the problem of blacks in America that people discriminate against mixed race people who do not fall neatly into any one bucket? Can you imagine how that model would feel if she self identifies as African-American and is being subjected to this petty backlash? Besides, how far will this line of thinking be taken? Should Senegalese women also protest that non-Senegalese models are used?

      Not everything is worth picking a fight over.

  2. Babym

    June 25, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    Mscheewww some black women have serious issues i swear. What is wrong with a mixed race girl wearing twists? Arent mixed race ppl considered black anyway? Even sef what is wrong with a white woman wearing her hair in twists??? Dont black women wear weaves all the time?? Who say down and made black women d judge of what any woman if any colour chooses to do with their godamn hair???? And dont speak to me about appropriation and all that jazz. Do u hear white women complaining? Abeg abeg abeg slavery is over hunnies. Yous is free! Act like it!

    • Kaeto

      June 25, 2015 at 8:05 pm

      I agree with you. I understand that slavery excelled with the help of so called black greedy people, who chose wealth over people. Please nobody owns any hairstyle. All kinds of so called dark skin black women do their interviews with Brazilian, Peruvian weaves.

    • Jo!

      June 26, 2015 at 7:02 am

      Kileleyi tun so. What’s the point of the slavery comment now?

    • polypoly

      June 25, 2015 at 8:40 pm

      @Babym – sweetie this is not a matter of how black you are or whatever. The editor was writing about by her visit to Rwanda and wanted to show readers the hairstyles. If you really wanna showcase the hair styles in your mag, a quick visit to any of the African braiding salons to interview the hairdressers and women rocking the styles woulda been perfect. actually, why not even do the frekking photoshoot in Rwanda.
      Its not only when they need the safari background or jungle that they can use actual African locations and people. smh

    • lolaChic

      June 26, 2015 at 10:07 am

      I think her point was to prove that such hairstyles look good on any one ‘Elaine Welteroth described her journey to Rwanda where she got Senegalese Twists done”

    • Almondeyes

      June 25, 2015 at 8:44 pm

      Abeg. I hate when Nigerians do this. You do not understand why these people are furious because you have not lived in their shoes. Please read the article on clutch magazine to understand why the comments were filled with angry people. America has a horrible habit of ignoring or despising something until it is done by a white person. Many black girls were bullied badly growing up for having braids (many white girls in high school teased them calling their braids “ropes” or shit), now someone went to Uganda and put the style on a white girl as if it is something brand new, when African American women have not been doing it for so long. do you know how many black girls were bullied for having full lips, afros, dreadlocks, or big butts. But all of sudden, it is a fad because the Kardashians are doing it. This magazine is very very notorious for doing it. A few months ago, they put Kylie Jenner in faux locks and called it a radical style. But black people who do it are called thugs. Even when Kendall did cornrows they called it chic and bold, but yet when black people do it, it is a jail/prison hairstyle. Please don’t comment until you know what people feel, do not belittle their feelings

    • V

      June 25, 2015 at 11:53 pm

      Don’t forget the shade: “You Can’t Swim With Us” T-shirt…they know what they are doing!

    • BC

      June 26, 2015 at 12:07 am

      Everything you’ve said is correct. I live in the US and I used to think AA women were overly sensitive about some things–I still do–but I understand their frustration here. This is a hairstyle (braids in general) some AA’s women have been fired over at worst and would certainly not wear in some work places at best for fear of a backlash. They have been ridiculed and harassed for having the same hairstyles simply because THEY were carrying it. I understand them .

    • Below average

      June 26, 2015 at 10:46 am

      Thank you jare. Ignorant Nigerians always so quick to tell people who are being disrespected in their own countries to “stop overreacting”.
      This is why tribalism exists. A lot of people don’t see the big deal in a group of people being discriminated against. Trash.
      Vogue lost its credibility since kim thotdashian was on the cover so this isn’t even remotely surprising.

    • Latifa

      June 25, 2015 at 9:56 pm

      This right here is what i call racism…….there is nothing like half black she is black period. I hate to say this but some black people are the worse racists ever. Black comes in diff shades the moment we understand this the better for us all…..hiss

  3. Ifybaby

    June 25, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    Does it really matter? Abi no be the hairstyle we de look? And by the way, if they’re mixed then they have some black in them afterall. NOT EVERYTHING IS A RACE ISSUE!

    • Yinkus

      June 25, 2015 at 11:59 pm

      Actually everything IS a race issue…if you had similar experiences in school, work, out in the community you will understand completely

  4. Kiki

    June 25, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    Bella Naija, what’s with all these racist/black American stories? If we wanted to depress our selves and get angry about being black we would be on a different site. Please cut this low self esteem negative stories

  5. bruno FIERCE

    June 25, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    bellanaija u said black twitter, is black twitter only 2 black girls? LOOOOOOL

    no case here at all. It’s just two ugly black g3irl who are angry and jealous that they got the least desired skin colour and least desired hair colour, so they are taking out their anger on light skin girls and white people.

    black people if u like don’t tackle more important issues plaguing ur community, like drugs and gang violence and povert continue fighting about which people should be allowed to carry braids.

    • polypoly

      June 25, 2015 at 8:51 pm

      @Bruno did you really say this??? – “…who are angry and jealous that they got the least desired skin colour and least desired hair colour..”. you are quite a disgrace to utter such mess. you obviously hate the skin you are in. SMH!!

      you accuse black people of not tackling more important issues, yet you are forming Baale of BellaNaija. E ku ishe oh, eyin NFA of the Internet people.

    • kelly

      June 25, 2015 at 8:54 pm

      why would you say ” It’s just two ugly black g3irl who are angry and jealous that they got the least desired skin colour and least desired hair colour, so they are taking out their anger on light skin girls and white people” like are you a veryyy stupid child.. I pity for you.. sometimes you comment smart things but today this your comment is just plain daft.. In fact let me just tell you straight up. You are very stupid person. I am very sure you bleach . bye Felicia..

    • polypoly

      June 25, 2015 at 10:10 pm

      @Kelly – thanks for mentioning clutchMag. didn’t know they wrote an article on this already. let me go join my sistahz in the conversation.

    • Egbami

      June 26, 2015 at 1:53 am

      You seriously need help. Like I said a lot of BN commenters will be willing to contribute towards your time in a psychiatric hospital. This self inflected hatred is at maximim level already.

    • bruno FIERCE

      June 26, 2015 at 6:51 am

      when an intelligent fierce person speaks the painful truth, they always try to demonise the person.

      maya angelou
      lauryn hill
      sinead O’connor
      to name a few

      they usually say the person need mental help. when sinead O’connor spoke up about the child molestion cases in the catholic Church, what did the media do, they potrayed her as a mad woman who is depressed and needs help., just so peolple would ignore the truth she was speaking. smh

      u can say I’m mad, na u sabi. I don’t know u but u know plenty about me.
      but I will speak the truth always. even if its bitter. I don’t care if u agree with me. I’m not trying to impress anybody. I am commenting for myself.

  6. Pretty girl

    June 25, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    What is wrong with all these women self. But when u put on human air nobody they complain oh abeg make Una shift go one place

    • Below average

      June 26, 2015 at 10:56 am

      Don’t be stupid. Were white girls mocked as children for having long hair? Black girls were called every offensive word you can think of for rocking braids, twists etc which is why they are furious now. The same thing they insulted us for doing, is exactly what they’re doing now for publicity and sales… And not only that, teen vogue could not even use a black woman to “advertise” the hair. That’s foul. The fact I have to spell it out for you is embarrassing.. When all you people know is designer bag and Dubai trips. Get educated.

  7. ceefodz

    June 25, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    Black people are the real racists! Tufia

    • polypoly

      June 25, 2015 at 10:09 pm

      please shut up!!! they did not beg you to sympathize with them…..hiss

    • bruno FIERCE

      June 26, 2015 at 6:22 am

      black people are so racist, they hate other minorities. they hate asians, Latinos, arabs etc

      black people are the most sexist, racist, homophobic, intolerant group of people in america.

      the only thing they know how to do is carry guns, committing crimes and be complaining when they get arrested by the law.

      almost every black man in america has been to prison.

    • Below average

      June 26, 2015 at 12:54 pm

      You must give us the sources of your absurd statements. Surely a sane individual would not make these things up so where are your “facts” from?
      I bet you have not even been to an airport before talk less of America Lmaoo

      BN you keep posting this idiot’s comments but when I call him out for being an extremely foolish *rhymes with maggot*, you suddenly have standards?

    • polypoly

      June 26, 2015 at 4:50 pm

      hahhahaha…….you know soo much about America but u never get their visa before oh….choi!!!! gurl, u wish you was here tho…

      “almost every black man in america has been to prison.” – LOL!!!! gurl bye!!!! only 30% of black men are have been/ or are in prison. over sabi.

      Nigerians are soo great, that their country cant get it together but wanna diss African-americans. gurl bye!

  8. Diddy

    June 25, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    noting wey no be news,black skinned activist no go allow person hear word,i dont know why all these light skinned/black skinned tussle does not occur among guyz,only women,can somebody tell me why? cos this madness is getting out of control

  9. chi-e-z

    June 25, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    umm those twists ain’t done right that’s all I’ll say on that. Butreally who reads Teen vogue anyways Ms.Y used to be the ish. I used to get my subscription religiously but it left and I was left with teen vogue so of course moved on to only romance novels awww teen years those were the days.

  10. AlmondEyes

    June 25, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    Here’s the link for the article that thoroughly explains their reaction: If the article is too long, you can skip to the comments. Honestly we need to educate ourselves and not judge from our own limited perspective. Oya, I’m done ranting. This story stemmed from the mixed girl’s visit to Rwanda. Just ask yourselves if they wanted to showcase Rwandan braiding styles, why didn’t they take pictures of Rwandan women wearing those styles? Why must they travel back to America to put it on the hair of a white woman? Btw, from my experience, Nigerian women wouldn’t allow someone to put those uneven braids on their hair.


    June 25, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    People of color need to take several sits biko. Warrist sef!

  12. AlmondEyes

    June 25, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    Yes! So true!

  13. dwebwalker dwebartist

    June 25, 2015 at 10:51 pm

    Hmm so whats the big deal

  14. Tunmi

    June 25, 2015 at 11:33 pm

    It is offensive. The girl is not black, she is mixed. Calling her black is ignoring whatever she is mixed with. Look, BN include some context with these posts. Black Americans won’t understand tribalism in the same way Nigerians in Nigeria won’t understand racism or its hidden aspect.

    Braids are something black Americans get. They made it popular. And by Black, that means the ancestors must show. For example, Brandy, Tika Sumpter, Teyonah Parris, Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson, Solange, etc. There is a distinct definition for black in America. Being mixed is just that. Your parents are half-this, half-that. Even if the model had stayed in the US and wanted to portray that hairstyle it would still be insulting. But to carry your two legs to Uganda and you could not find a Ugandan with those twists (and the twists the woman has on are Marley twists)…that is just the height of offensiveness.

    And folks had to approve this ish…that blatant disregard, that is what upsets folks. Because before you know it, the representative for things that are common amongst black Americans will be a light skinned-white passing person. This is exactly how Rachel Dolezal was able to claim black

    • Tunmi

      June 25, 2015 at 11:34 pm

      Got the wrong country, Rwanda not Uganda

  15. Shut up

    June 25, 2015 at 11:33 pm

    You should not be commenting on this if you don’t live in a country with predominately white people.
    You stay in Naija so pls hold your mouth. I don’t want to hear pim from you.
    You don’t know unless you are surrounded by white people whether in the USA or Europe.
    Honestly though I don’t care these magazines will continue to be ignorant. I just want to be rich happy healthy and go to heaven to meet my heavenly father. Shikena

  16. ao

    June 25, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    The Senegalese twist featured on the model looks a HOT MESS. Please do not associate that hot messy thing with the real Senegalese twists. If they are going to feature the hairstyle, PLEASE get it right. There’s one young woman on Instagram that does the twists beautifully. I think her handle is @tupo. She is very pretty. Now, she should have been featured instead of this hot mess of a hairstyle on the model’s head.

    As for the debate…I don’t mind if whites and other races wear traditional African hairstyles. My only gripe is don’t give Black women and men grief over the hairstyles when they wear it.

  17. Amh

    June 26, 2015 at 12:59 am

    Bruno you are pathetic and silly. Anyway you have a fish brain. Silly child.

  18. hmmm

    June 26, 2015 at 1:35 am

    This is more of a Black American issue, as a result many readers who are not truly familiar with the complexities of American society may not understand the uproar, nevertheless, there some Black Americans who don’t understand the uproar per say as well. Kind of like there may be an issue that many Nigerians are familiar with but when brought to the attention of a non Nigerian they would understand what the wahala was.

    Anywho, the issue that may have with the feature is that, out of all the Blacks in America the magazine went with all mixed chics. They could have at least diversified the blacks featured in the magazine with the hairstyles, but they didn’t per usual. As a result darker skin Blacks in America feel slighted, per usual. So what is inconsequential to a person a group of people, is very consequential to some others.

    BellaNaija, I guess is still trying to figure out what to feature on their site since they cater to many continents sha. I guess this feature was more trivial to Nigerian readers this time.

  19. Egbami

    June 26, 2015 at 1:48 am

    I used to think that their anger is stupid till I understood it. White has a habit of mocking indigenous stuff but when white people use what they mock, it suddenly becomes cool. And they become the face that thing like they started it. Imagine someone making fun of iro,buba and gele, but when they wear it. It is suddenly acceptable to them. When rap started, AAs were mocked for it , after years of hard work white started ridding on the work of others and they got more recognition for it. I inderstand their pain and I know sometimes they take it too far. This anger is appropriate. A majority Senegalese and Rwandans are not mixed, they are black. Their many thing that AAs. Inverted like fire extinguisher, the thing that make light bulbs last for a while, street light and so on. But they don’t get recognition and they are always told they contribute nothing to human advancement. You are not from a country where you are told everybody that you are nothing, so don’t judge them.

    • Egbami

      June 26, 2015 at 5:15 am

      Typos everywhere, but you get my point.

    • bruno FIERCE

      June 26, 2015 at 6:29 am


      u suffer from low self esteem. and u crave validation from the white man. this is a very common behaviour of black people. they always want the white man to recognise and validate them example the oscar awards they didn’t nominate any black person and black people started complaining. is so shameful. asuans qere not nominated also but did u see them complaining, NO. cause they are not seeking validation from the white man.

      if someone makes fun of my iru and buba, does it look like I give a f**k. im wearing the outfit for myself I dont care if a white man lokes it or not.

      black people need to get their shit together. afterall how many blonde wigs does beyonce and rihanna and nicki minaj have combined.

    • Egbami

      June 26, 2015 at 1:50 pm

      Like I said, you need help. I don’t need validation from anybody and I agree that AA’s have a lot of issues but I will not defend White people for what they get wrong. You are a very bitter person. A wise man once said “it is very hard to win an argument with a reasonable person but it is impossible to win an argument with a stupid person” .Bye

    • hmmm

      June 27, 2015 at 1:51 am

      Just the way you like to generalize and hold prejudices toward African Americans, the same hand will be dealt to you as a Nigerian (419, cheater, thief, backward unorganized, money hungry, ostentatious, blah blah blah), *insert your ethnicity/tribe*, “insert your gender*. Wherever you go, whether while on vacations, for employment, just life in general. Say Amen! Number one internet troll!

    • Jo!

      June 26, 2015 at 7:04 am

      This comment read so unintelligently (sic)

  20. Ebony

    June 26, 2015 at 8:24 am

    Ugh!!! Una no dey tire? Always playing the victim looking for fight everywhere

  21. luvbogg

    June 26, 2015 at 8:25 am

    Like some one said earlier Nigerians or other Africans may not fully understand this because we are not African Americans. Infact I used to be irritated by their sensitivity to practically everything untill i spent a few months in the US and then I understood their frustrations a little. My friend who lives in the UK was trying to get a property in a certain location and the moment some of the property owners realised she was black they’say the properties were no longer available yet days later she’d find out that the properties were actually still in the market. But as akpurukah naija peeps things like this dont make us feel too bad, we are tough, we know who we are and where we come from are and we know we are just in that country for certain things; sound education, work, better quality of life etc but these AA are sought of caught in the middle: neither here nor there, It can not be easy for them.

  22. Paloma

    June 26, 2015 at 8:53 am

    I’m just indifferent…. make dem hold themselves make i hold myself and there will be peace.

  23. precy

    June 26, 2015 at 9:13 am

    For those who live in Nigeria your country is dominated by black pple u will never understand this issue of racism the same way we will never understand issues of tribalism, They say knowledge is power, some of u must educate yourselves about these things. Let me tell u something for those who think this is a small matter, I personally moved to SA years ago and am a Zimbabwean I went to some college which I wont mention the name, in our class we were few black students we used to seat on our own side of the class and white kids also sat on their own side because they didn’t want to mix with us. What used to irritate them was every time I was always in top 3 and I was the only black person who used to be in top 3, I will neva forget wen I was doing my 2nd year I was suppose to get a Bursary for being one of e top students but they nev gave it to me they only gave e bursary to white fellas only and they kept telling me stories till I finish my programme. So many Private xuls in SA are predominated by white kids wen you go there looking for a place as a black person u wont get a place they will tell u its full.. But I must say SA is way much better in terms of racism than States cos in states I read stories all the time about black pple being killed by Police officers all the time from teenagers to adults cos they label black pple as criminal. Goggle stories of racism in USA and SA read about these stories and u will understand why those pple are angry.

  24. Andrea

    June 26, 2015 at 9:43 am

    Nigerians sha!!!

  25. Babym

    June 26, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Omooo, im still not getting what u guys are saying o. Black ppl! Esp AA when r we going to move on from these things. Ahnn ahnn, all this talk about it is our struggle and what not is getting so old abeg. I have worked in America for a couple of years and i rocked braids, afrokinky and weaves. All i got was admiration and fascination with my forever chainging hair. I used to enjoy taking the time to explain the intricate details of my braids and be amused by their reaction when i tell them how long it takes lol. So for those of u saying ppl were fired from work for their briads and what not abeg fear God now, how many years ago was that????what was considered ugly is now being accepted and we r still complaining??? What do we really want as a ppl??? Why shld i be annoyed that oyibo ppl r copying my hairstyle???? It sounds ridiculous abeg. Meanwhile its is d same black ppl that wanted to sacrifice madam blue ivy and her lovely fro that it was ugly and she shld relax it to look like oyibo hair mscheewww. Conclusion is we dont know what we want.

  26. Betta

    June 26, 2015 at 10:39 am

    I’m not in a white dominated country, but I have read a lot to equip me with a little knowledge though not adequate enough. This might sound stupid but race, tribalism, sexual inequality are social issues that may NEVER be solved. I guess because of emotions that arise with this. The delicate nature of race may have been solved with having equal number of models representing both race. But would it have been enough? I’m sure there would still be comments like there should have been more black over white. Things might get better, but people are just to angry to put it in a good direction. Tweets on this topic show that these people aren’t even angry about this but a build up of things.

  27. Becky

    June 26, 2015 at 10:50 am

    The braiding is sooooo ugly – yohhh !!!

  28. natu

    June 26, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    I get the outrage and anger but vogue magazine is marketed towards white women and these women want to see models that resemble them. It is harder to market darker skin tones. It is sad but it is the truth. That is why bleaching, weaves and relaxers are rampant in our culture.

  29. Anoni Moss

    June 26, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    African people, we are born great, we have the Blackman blood in us, oyibo never expererit… lol

    But seriously the whiteman has always been opsessed with power and superiority no be today, they very well know the potential in the blackman therefore they will never empower a race that could possibly over power them. They made sure Africa was damaged from its foundations, the best thing for African Americans indeed all black ppl is to stop seeking their approval/acceptance rather let’s come together, capacitate each other and develop our various countries like our counterparts the Chinese.

    • bruno FIERCE

      June 26, 2015 at 2:00 pm

      ” they will never empower a
      race that could possibly over power them.”

      why are u waiting for the white man to empower you? why can’t you empower urself and ur own race.

    • Anoni Moss

      June 26, 2015 at 2:09 pm

      Erm… Bruno did you read the whole comment?!?


    June 26, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    Are you being forced to live in America……Accept what you get…

    • hmmm

      June 27, 2015 at 1:48 am

      umm yes many African Americans know nothing else than America why? because of SLAVERY duhhh. What the hell?!!! That’s the only home they know and they have to deal with issues of history and present in the way they are treated in a country that is “home” to them.

  31. AmericaandBeyond

    June 30, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    As a Black American I think these young ladies energy and efforts are completely displaced. There are more pressing issues in the Black community and those issues should be fought vigorously. Who cares how someone else wears their hair, when in every major city in American there are police officers killing our sons and men. When will we wake up?

    We have so many opportunities in America, yet we still do not fulfill our ancestors dreams. We have free Education, free food, Free Housing, and anti-discrimination laws yet we complain. Please let them go to a third world country and then come back and complain about mixed people and hair braids.
    My people are acting like spoiled children.
    This sense of entitlement. We have our own magazines( ebony, essence, jet, black hair)
    Leave whites and their magazines alone. You don’t like it, don’t read it!!!

    • Cajunbaby

      February 26, 2016 at 4:21 am

      And you, my sister , wins the Internet ???

  32. Lana

    December 4, 2021 at 3:11 pm

    I think the problem for most people is not that they used mixed models but that they used mixed models ONLY. The argument that most people have is that mixed models are black too and that black comes in different shades but by neglecting to use dark-skinned models as well as mixed models, they are ignoring black people who are not mixed. I don’t think they are being hyper-sensitive. I think they want to be acknowledged and represented.

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