Italian film star, yummy mummy, smart wife (in a marriage gone south), and former model Monica Bellucci is the newest Bond Girl and the oldest one, too. Monica Bellucci is 50, fabulous and a frequent face of Italian brand Dolce & Gabbana. (See all AOC Monica Bellucci). While feminist blogs like Jezebel love Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2015 ad campaign, the same writers have crucified the designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana over the topic of ‘cultural appropriation’.
Finding these gorgeous 2013 images of Monica Bellucci, lensed by AOC favorite photographer for multiple editions of Harper’s Bazaar worldwide, the blonde Dane Signe Vilstrup, prompted Saturday morning thoughts about ‘cultural appropriation’.
Given my firmly-held belief that all humanity has emerged out of Africa and that goddesses ruled human psyches long before the rise of monotheism, it’s difficult for me to accept the yoke of being a ‘cultural appropriator’ because my personal creativity and unconscious mind is inspired by Africa. If one is a Buddhist or believer in reincarnation, a spirit such as mine may have lived in Africa in a former life.
Any dialogue around the topic of ‘cultural appropriation’ is subjective and highly emotional. In a nutshell, the Caucasian person — considered to be ‘white’ in our mixed-race world — is charged as being a racist for co-opting or appropriating design elements from a non-white culture. Dialogue is heated, accusatory and full of passionate finger-wagging from the agrived parties themselves or their advocates who demand that I never make an Africa-inspired tile coaster ever again in my life.
Googling this issue of ‘cultural appropriation’ just now, I read that the Caucasian race is a concept that has historically been used to describe some or all of the populations of Europe, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, Western Asia, Central Asia and South Asia. The terms of first used in biological anthropology without regard to skin color, writes Wiki. This sentence stops me cold, and I will say no more on this topic until I follow this research thread.
Instead, let’s turn to This Black Scholar Thinks You Should Care More About What Happens On The Runway, written in September 2013 by Evette Dionne. Her insights on this complex topic are relevant as a launching off point in further development of this topic of ‘cultural appropriation’ in a fusion, post-colonial design world. ~ Anne