A History of Racism in Fashion

Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks Are Forced Into A Rivalry

Year: 1991-2006

When two black models rise into prominence, that's something to be celebrated right? That's not exactly how it went down between Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks. In a January 2006 episode of The Tyra Banks Show, Banks resolved to set the story straight on their supposed 14-year fashion beef. As Banks put it: “Back then there were 10 top models... but there was an unwritten rule that only one of them could be black... And Naomi was that one black girl.” Adding insult to injury, according to an article in Bitch Magazine, there were numerous comparisons to Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell, with some declaring her the "new Naomi Campbell," despite the fact there was little physical resemblance between them—save the color of their skin. Banks' point-of-view painted the media and industry as the villains, saying "the press had cast Naomi and [me] as rivals before we ever met each other.” Even the petulant Campbell, who has had a history of being prone to anger, took responsibility for her past animosity, ending the show by telling Banks: “However I’ve affected you or you’ve felt that I’ve affected you, I take my responsibility. I must say I’m very proud of you. You’ve been a powerful black woman.... Please continue.”

Tags: fashion, racism
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