Model Confronts the Lack of Diversity in Fashion Ads in the Best Way

December 8th 2016

Laura Donovan

A Liberian-born model is pointing out the lack of diversity in media by recreating a series of ad campaigns that featured white women.


A photo posted by Deddeh Howard (@secretofdd) on

Black Mirror was started by model Deddeh Howard to show that the only difference between her image and the original is the color of her skin, Mic writer Rachel Lubitz reported. Howard told Lubitz that she chose to recreate campaigns of brands that don't typically include black people.


A photo posted by Deddeh Howard (@secretofdd) on

The idea came to Howard when she scanned a magazine at the grocery store and noticed the lack of diversity in the pages, she told Mic:

"Then it hit when looking through various magazines, there were simply no black models in there. Then it struck me how often this is the case not only in magazines, but also billboards and TV shows. That gave birth to the Black Mirror project and shoot these pictures."


A photo posted by Deddeh Howard (@secretofdd) on

Howard wrote on her blog Tuesday that it's important for her to draw attention to this issue because it's "a time where black people too often are in the media for being underrepresented at important events such as the Oscars or make headlines for being targeted by the police." Howard appears to be alluding to the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag that went viral earlier this year after zero people of color received Academy Award nominations in acting categories. She added that the increased national attention to tension between the black community and police officers has created negative media presence for the black community.

"I felt it was time to do something positive and inspiring about my race. For too long the negativity seemed to take over in the public eye," Howard wrote on her blog. "More equal visibility of all races, being it white, black, Asian, Latino etc would help all of us believing in our potential. I hope this project can help to bring awareness back to the positive side of black people. Unfortunately we are rarely shown in a positive light in the media, but can see countless times when yet another black person gets shot or arrested. Seeing Jasmine Tookes wearing the most expensive bra at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show was so inspiring, we need more of those moments."

Others have confronted the magazine industry for its lack of diversity, too.

Only 14 percent of big fashion magazines included women of color on its covers, according to an investigation by Fusion writer Marjon Carlos in March 2015. Carlos wrote that even though it was refreshing to see several black women on magazine covers for March 2015 issues that "the reason we’re so excited about these magazine covers is because they are rare."

In August 2015, writer Janet Mock made a similar point by tweeting that at least four black women made fashion magazine covers for September 2015:

"The black girl takeover of fashion's September issues is beyond anything I've seen as a journalist," Mock wrote. These stunning images by Howard shows that diversity in the fashion industry and beyond is incredibly important so that others can hopefully be inspired by seeing representation of themselves.

"In conclusion, I’m personally fighting for more diversity especially more black race to be seen on billboards, movies, TV commercials, advertisements etc as much as the white race," Howard wrote on her blog. "We need a diverse amount of inspirations for all of us."

[H/T Mic]