This, from New York magazine online, with nods to The Black Snob:
Madison Avenue is scrambling to adjust to a new era, when the most admired people in America are a black family. To reflect this reality, talent scouts are on the hunt for models who look like the Obama children, Sasha, 7, and Malia, 10. “People are looking for girls who resemble them,” says Charlie Winfield, the head booker at FunnyFace Today. Tali Lev, an agent with the Gilla Roos agency, keeps links to her “Sasha” and “Malia” model lists on her desktop for easy access. “Photographers even want them for their portfolios.” Marlene Wallach, president of Wilhelmina Kids & Teens, says the First Daughters are tough subjects to match. “It’s a very specific age and a very specific ethnicity, so there aren’t that many girls that would necessarily fit the bill.”
See, this mess right here?
I mean, I’m giddy that President Obama’s deliciously beautiful daughters, Sasha and Malia, are the new standard of American little girl beauty—that the fashion industry, in its infinite wisdom (*sticks finger down throat and gags a little*) is jumping on the “black is beautiful” bandwagon now that the Obamas are America’s bellwether for all things cool, fly, and in style. But why, why, WHY must Madison Avenue’s embracing of these pretty brown girls come with a backhanded pimp slap to the faces of African American children? I mean, really? What, exactly, is so hard about finding pretty 7- and 10-year-olds with brown skin? And why are we acting as if those little girls are some kind of exotic breed of black child just because they have a white grandmother? And damn, did we really have to wait for Barack Obama to become the first black president in order for talent scouts to realize that maybe, just maybe, they should consider adding black children to their roster of models?
Having trouble finding them, Ms. Wallach? Check Brooklyn and Harlem, Atlanta and Decatur, Detroit and the South Side of Chicago, Compton and Newark and Dallas and Memphis. And every doggone city in-between. Check the playgrounds and the school yards—the malls and Sunday schools and the choir pews. You know—the same places you’d find ANY child pretty enough to “fit the bill” for your precious ad houses.
If you dare.
But just in case you “talent scouts” just can’t see yourself sitting through church service in The SWATS, MyBrownBaby is going to hip you to some game: The Black Snob, the blogger who put MyBrownBaby on to the Madison Avenue shenanigans in her poignant, must-read post about black children and beauty, is collecting pictures of scores of beautiful brown little girls and shipping them directly to Ms. Wallach and her colleagues over at Wilhelmina Kids & Teens so that they can see firsthand that pretty black girls aren’t really all that hard to find. Here’s Snob’s poignant casting call:
We at The Black Snob aren't just about complaining! We're here to help the clueless who seem to think black Americans (the kind with African, European and other mixed ancestry) are, you know, hard to find. Even if there are 40 million blacks in America (according to a 2006 US Census study) and almost all of us fit that make-up in some way, shape or form and there are millions of little girls, each cuter than the last.
So, if you know a cute little black/brown girl, working professionally as a model or is an undiscovered diamond in your family, school or neighborhood (with the parents' or guardian's permission), please submit her adorable picture to The Black Snob's "Cute Black Girls Are Everywhere, You Idiots" campaign, via email where we will happily put together a lovely post and release a press packet to the dunderheads at Wilhelmina to say, "Um ... looking for cute, little black girls? Ur doin' it wrong!"
MyBrownBaby readers: I implore you to send your pictures to Snob—help her prove the point that black IS beautiful—and quite easy to find if you bother to open your eyes and LOOK for it. Her deadline for submissions is February 8, 2009.
Say it loud!