White Model Apologizes for Her Photo Appearing on ‘Blackhair’ Magazine Cover

Emily Bador
Emily Bador Emily Bador/Instagram

Clearing the air. Many people were surprised — and understandably upset — to see a white model on the cover of U.K. magazine Blackhair's December/January 2017 issue, including the model herself, Emily Bador

"This image is about three or four years old," Bador, who models an auburn, Afro-esque hairstyle in the cover shot, wrote via Instagram on Sunday, November 20. "It was never intended to be on the cover of this magazine. If I had known it was going to be published, I would never have condoned it. I'm upset and angry I was never asked by the photographer/hair salon/anyone if this image could be used for the cover of Black Hair."

While the image is old, Bador still wishes it never made the mag — or existed in the first place. "I would deeply and sincerely like to apologise to every one for this, and black women especially," she said. "I would like to clarify, I believe this shoot is from when I was around 15 and didn't understand cultural appropriation or the impact it has on POC. I was uneducated, which obviously is no excuse, ignorant and immature."

She continued: "Growing up in a very very white city, 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. I didn't understand that as a white passing woman I'd be praised for this hair, but if I was a black woman I'd be persecuted. I didn't understand cultural appropriation."

I would deeply and sincerely like to apologise to every one for this, and black women especially. I would like to clarify, I believe this shoot is from when I was around 15 and didn't understand cultural appropriation or the impact it has on POC. I was uneducated, which obviously is no excuse, ignorant and immature. Growing up in a very very white city, 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. I didn't understand that as a white passing woman I'd be praised for this hair, but if I was a black woman I'd be persecuted. I didn't understand cultural appropriation. ✨ I do regret doing this. I hold up my hands, I'm so so so sorry and I'm very sorry this cover was taken away from a black woman. This image is (I think, although I'm not 100% sure) about 3/4 years old, it was never intended to be on the cover of this magazine. If I had known it was going to be published, I would never have condoned it. I'm upset and angry I was never asked by the photographer/hair salon/anyone if this image could be used for the cover Black Hair. ✨ I'm so glad I've educated myself and surrounded my self with people to teach me what is right and wrong. I constantly am learning and becoming more and more informed. It's important to come forward and be honest with ourselves about our past mistakes, otherwise we will never learn. Again, I'm truly, deeply sorry to anyone I've offended and I hope if nothing else this post can educated others so they don't make similar mistakes. (also please let me know if I've said anything wrong or offensive in this post!!! or anything i can add!!!! i love u all sm and the last thing i want to do is offend or hurt any one, i really hope you don't all think im a massive twat ?)

A post shared by e m i l y bador (@darth_bador) on

"I do regret doing this," Bador finished. "I hold up my hands, I'm so so so sorry and I'm very sorry this cover was taken away from a black woman."

Of course, she hasn't been the only one to apologize. Shortly after the issue was revealed, Blackhair issued its own statement, admitting that the staff didn't realize that Bador was white.

"This morning it was brought to our attention that the model gracing our December/January issue is not of black or mixed-race heritage," wrote Keysha Davis, Blackhair's editor, via the mag's Facebook. "We were obviously not aware of this prior to selecting the image. We often ask PR companies/salons to submit images for the magazine, specifically stating that models must be Black or mixed race. We can only take their word for it, and of course, try to use our own judgment."

Davis thanked Bador for speaking out and added, "We are keenly aware of how black women are underrepresented in the mainstream media and the last thing we want to do is add to our erasure."

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