Tiya Miles is a professor of American culture and history at the University of Michigan, as a member of the Program in American Culture, Center for Afro-American and African Studies and Native American Studies Program. In 2011 Miles won a five-year grant MacArthur Fellowship for her intellectual prowess -- which is to say that Tiya Miles knows that's going on in her world.
When the topic is models, Miles believes that Hollywood, fashion and beauty businesses are responding to the popular public movements demanding change. The changes are worldwide, but when the subject is fashion models, the lens centers on New York, London, Milan and Paris. Striking an ironic note, Miles sees our growing consciousness of the "importance of visibility and voclaity for people of color, particularly black people" as a positive outcome of the threatening rise of white nationalist identity across America and Europe.
“It is no coincidence that this runway model trend and movies like 'Black Panther' "have arrived at the same time," Prof. Miles told the New York Times after the Fall 2018 fashion shows. "The two are interlocked, as both have been incubating in what feels a like a growing crusade with many of the hallmarks of the Black Power movement of the 1960s and 1970s. They are part of a pushback against the dominant pressures of European and American white centrality.”