9 December 2016 / Berenice Mulubah
|Deddeh Howard "Black Mirror"|
Liberian native, Deddeh Howard is taking actions and shining light on the diversity issue within the modeling industry, through her campaign called, "Black Mirror." Tired of hearing “we already have a black model” from modeling agencies that refused to represent her, Howard teamed up with photographer Raffael Dickreuter to recreate high end fashion ads featuring white models like Gigi Hadid, Kendell Jenner, Gisele Bundchen and Kate Moss, giving the project the titled “Black Mirror.”
In every single ad her hair, accessories, clothes, makeup and pose is meticulously identical to the original. Her dedication cut no corners as she even found the same props used in the high fashion ads.
“For this project I decided to re-shoot several of the inspiring and famous campaigns out there and try to show what they could look like with a black model,” she wrote on her site. “Teaming up with Photographer Raffael Dickreuter it was a big challenge to reverse engineer and re-shoot these images and get as close as possible to the original. Even though it was a big challenge it was important and necessary to do it.”
Howard told the Daily News the biggest challenge was tracking down a 1939 Indian Chief motorcycle. “The most challenging photo to recreate was the Gigi Hadid Guess campaign,” she told the Daily News. “To figure out the motorcycle and then actually track down one was a real challenge.”
The photos are stunning to look at but Howard is very clear on her message to the fashion industry: diversify now.
“The visibility on these commercials and billboards matter as much as having elected a first black President,” she wrote. “The next generation can only get inspired and reach for the stars themselves if they believe they can do it too. For that reason diversity in ad campaigns is in my opinion much more important than you might think. The same goes for representation in movies and politics as well, but that’s a different discussion. There are Tyra Banks, Naomi Campbell and maybe Iman, but they are the exception to the rule.”She concludes that she is fighting for more representation for all minorities (but especially blacks) in ads, billboards, movies and commercials. Her hope is to inspire young girls who rarely get to see anyone who looks like them in media. Sadly, these criticisms are not new. Iman and Naomi and Bethann Hardison have been fighting this fight for decades with the industry being very slow to progress.