Former Vogue staffers are still angry over a writer’s treatment of this old photo of Kendall Jenner showing off a gold tooth at a London Fashion Week party hosted by Burberry in February 2017.
Vogue magazine’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour apologized after former Vogue staffers complained about racism and discrimination.
In a recent NY Times article, former staffers, who are Black, complained that Wintour didn’t “keep pace with the public’s changing issues with racism” and cultural misappropriation.
They point to the image of Kendall Jenner wearing a gold tooth — a dental accessory that is commonly associated with Black people.
A Vogue contributor wrote in an article at the time: “The flashing teeth felt like a playful wink to the city’s free-spirited aesthetic – or perhaps a proverbial kiss to her rumored boyfriend A$AP Rocky.”
Black staff members complained about the article. One Black staffer contacted magazine executives saying “the story insensitively endorsed an instance of cultural appropriation.”
According to the Times, one former employee contacted Wintour by email to explain why some Black staffers were offended by the story: “If Kendall wants to do something stupid, fine, but our writers (especially white ones) don’t need to [weigh] in and glorify it or ascribe reasons to it that read culturally insensitive.”
But Wintour was not receptive of their complaints. After several email exchanges, she wrote, “Well I honestly don’t think that’s a big deal.”
Condé Nast, which owns Vogue, said in a statement: “The coverage itself is not cultural appropriation.”
The implication is that Kendall herself misappropriated Black culture by wearing the gold tooth.