Although it has happened that magazines, blogs and online sites have misidentified one Black celebrity for another, they usually do share a racial background For Blackhair magazine, though an even more embarrassing situation happened recently. They accidentally used a white cover model. To be fair, the white cover model looked as though, with her hair curly and the cover lighting as though she was mixed.

But the model herself, Emily Bador, pointed out the error and apologized on Instagram for being an inadvertent part of cultural appropriation.

Buzzfeed reports:

A beauty magazine targeted at black women has come under fire for accidentally using a white model on the cover of its most recent issue.

The announcement came after a young woman noticed that an old modelling photo of herself was used for cover of the December/January issue of Blackhair magazine, which describes itself as a style magazine “packed with hair inspiration for black and mixed race women”.

In a post on Instagram Emily Bador said she was “upset and angry” after discovering she had unwittingly become the face of the publication.


If I had known it was going to be published, I would never have condoned it. … I was never asked by the photographer/hair salon/anyone if this image could be used for the cover of Blackhair,” she said.

Bador, who appears to look mixed-race in the image, said the photo was taken roughly three or four years ago, when she was 15 years old. Since then, she said, she had learned about cultural appropriation and the struggles black women experience with their portrayal in the media.

“Growing up in a very very white city,” she wrote in the Instagram post, “I had no idea the struggles black women face and how often they were persecuted for their hair. I didn’t understand how black women are constantly told their natural hair [is] inappropriate/unprofessional for the work place, or how young girls are told they can’t go to school with natural hair.”

“I didn’t understand that shoots like this support the very Eurocentric beauty standard that the mainstream media focus on which reinforce the idea that black features are only ok on white women.

Black Hair editor Keysha Davis, who likely used an available stock image to illustrate what looked like a mixed race hair texture, said she didn’t know Bador was white and appreciated her pointing it out. 

“We often ask PR companies/salons to submit images for the magazine, specifically stating that models must be Black or mixed race,” she said. “We can only take their word for it, and of course, try to use our own judgment.”

“We are only too aware of how black women are underrepresented in the mainstream media and the last thing we want to do is add to our erasure,” she added.

Naturally some readers took issue with the magazine’s mistake.


Do you think the magazine just made an honest mistake or is there something deeper that can be read into it? 

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13 thoughts on “White Cover Model On ‘Black Hair’ Magazine Apologizes For Cultural Appropriation

  1. Unknown on said:

    To my surprise I am not offended. I believe it was a truly mistake. As the model stated she was 15 or so in the picture. She wasn’t trying to betray her self to be a black woman she had taken the picture during a photo shoot. I would have mistaken her for a mix woman as well. Truly mistake and I applaud her for stepping up correcting them about their mistake

  2. specialt757 on said:

    This magazine has offended me and although I’ve never purchased it in the past, I see no reason in the future purchase with my black earned money. I’ll by some skittles instead.

  3. specialt757 on said:

    So let me get this straight. a magazine called “black hair” uses a white model with a wig to show exactly what? Just what is it that is being portrayed here. There are enough black models with real or a wig or weave that could have been chosen to cover a magazine that caters to black women’s hair. Don’t get me wrong, I think models no matter the color can grace covers of any magazine, but if the magazine specifically targets black women and black hair, why is a white model chosen to show black hair? I’m I missing something?

  4. right now she stating she white. let her get with a black man that she will say she biracial or even black. and she can relate to the black women issue(rachel dolezal) but at least rachel dolzal sticking with her trueness of being black. and really don’t care what race she is but for the magazine cover to use her as a black women. that’s a slap in black women faces. just use a white woman who will pass. so glad i don’t waste my money buying that magazine.

  5. Just giving a quick 2 cents on said:

    MacBen – I agree with the contacts and hair point but the rest, nah. U think ONLY whites are to be the ones to afford that, so if blacks go out and buy those, we’re trying to be white?? Superiority complex much? Smh.

    As for the model, hard to tell me she is NOT mixed with black based on her features and she may be in denial but I digress. If she actually “full white”, all good and if she does not want to identify with her ethnicity, all good, all the same. She can do as she pleases with all that.

    • Mac Ben on said:

      You missed the point entirely. Its not that we cant afford them, its that the white man (as the owner of those corporations) make them! What if they only sold or intended them for white people??

  6. Mac Ben on said:

    fuckouttahere!!! green contacts, long, flowing and blonde weaves/wigs are cultural appropriation. Driving Cadillacs, Benzes and Lexuxes are cultural appropriation. Wearing Gucci, Fendi and Prada ate cultural appropriation!!!

    • RENO2AC on said:

      You getdafuqouttahere! A lot white women AND MEN wear colored contacts. There is not a white woman on TV, whether it is an actress or a news personality that does not have extensions in her hair. And, really, we are appropriating cultural when we drive high end cars or carry high end purses? PLEASE go back to the cave from which your uneducated, uncultured, ignorant behind came from.

      • Mac Ben on said:

        The difference is the weaves wigs and contacts they wear are culturally theirs…blonde, long, straight and flowing; blue, green contacts….and the high-end merch theybiwn and/or make. WakeUp– you are just a consumer. Aside from FUBU, Karl Kani, Cross Colors, Phat Pharm and Baby Phat and certain hair care chemicals and Dark nLovely…NOTHING is made for black folk. Not even the weaves and wigs black women risk their lives for.

    • Wait, only white folks can drive cadillacs benzes and lexuses? Only white people can buy Gucci, fendi and prada? Damn all this time I thought they sold those items to anyone who could afford them, I had no idea they weren’t meant for folks outside the white race. Did you tell that to the manufacturers? I don’t think they know either.

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