Anok Yai has responded to an insensitive social media post recently shared by Carine Roitfeld.
In light of the shocking death of unarmed African-American man George Floyd at the hands of police officers on 25 May, the former Vogue Paris editor-in-chief took to Instagram to show her support for the Black Lives Matter movement by posting a picture of herself and black model Yai, and accompanied it with the words, “Anok is not a black woman, she is my friend, I missing (sic)!”
Roitfeld later apologised for the timing and wording of her post, and after reflecting on the controversy for several days, Yai has now spoken out on the topic.
“A lot of people have asked what my reaction was to an insensitive post from a friend of mine on Instagram last week,” she wrote in an op-ed for OprahMag.com. “Of course, it was jarring-and it was just one of many similar microaggressions I’ve experienced during my time in fashion. But the bigger point I’d like to focus on is that the fashion industry needs to become educated…and fast.”
Yai went on to share that she has experienced racism and microaggressions on various occasions backstage at shows, as well as witnessed the same happening to her friends. She was disappointed to see a lack of support when models stood up for themselves, and accordingly, is now calling for industry leaders to do better in educating themselves and promoting inclusivity and diversity.
“Black models should not have to teach working professionals how to deal with our hair and skin day in and day out. Educate yourself and come prepared. It’s your job. The world is changing right before our very eyes, and we won’t be tolerant of intolerance any longer,” the 22-year-old added.
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