A History of Racism in Fashion

Alek Wek Is Used As Espresso In Coffee Calender

Year:  1997

Alec Wek, a South Sudanese British supermodel, was featured in a calender for Lavazza coffee that she later said had blatantly racist undertones. In her 2007 book "Alek: From Sudanese Refugee to International Supermodel" she describes the images, in which she is sitting in a giant coffee cup as a stand-in for actual espresso.

"I can't help but compare them to all the images of black people that have been used in marketing over the decades. There was the big-lipped jungle-dweller on the blackamoor ceramic mugs sold in the Forties; the golliwog badges given away with jam; Little Black Sambo, who decorated the walls of an American restaurant chain in the 1960s; and Uncle Ben, whose apparently benign image still sells rice," she said.

Tags: fashion, racism
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