Lebron King Kong

Mar 25 2008 | 9 comments |

When I first saw the new cover of Vogue with Lebron James and Gisele Bunndchen, it took me about 1.5 seconds to think it was offensive, then I realized that I thought it was offensive and tried to figure out why. Then when I couldn't put my finger on it (other than theres a big scary looking black man, mouth agape, grabbing a fragile looking bloned white woman reinforcing centuries-old fears of black men) I tried to convince myself that it really wasn't offensive. 

Then I saw this on the satire page on Huffington Post:



And I felt it was offensive again.


1) Why is his mouth open like he is about to swallow her? That alone would have changed the tone of the pic

2) Why is she in appearing to be just landing on the ground, perhaps she has just been tossed from over his shoulder. 

3) Its just bad composition.

update:  *sigh* here's another one -



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  • Posted by Kamagra on January 17, 2011

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  • Posted by j_82_ads on May 20, 2008

    I have to disagree. I find this such a weak parallel. Does a black male with such expression always need be the mad brute? Note her expression and posture too; I do not denote any fear or distress. Why are we not appreciating his intensity, power, and potency? Why are we not appreciating her beauty and exuberance? Are we still afraid to see a black male and white female engage each-other?

  • Posted by generic propecia on April 27, 2010

    Is it possible to have king kong jumping around and surviving his
    various crash landings? Why not? Please explain this in terms of
    atomic physics using natural units (planck units). An answer might
    discuss the force of the impact of King Kong (use approximate
    equations) and the chemical bonds in his bones. Ignore factors of 2,
    pi, and such pesty constants.

  • Posted by don on October 05, 2010

    America, mane. There is an audience for this type of mess, as proven on this particular blog.

  • Posted by Brendan on April 04, 2008

    Another thought I have had, upon further reflection, is that the designer of the cover had in mind exactly the “King Kong” image and all the associated fears it would provoke.
    The cynical thing to say was that this is yet another attempt by an organ of the media to be “edgy” and failing to consider viewer sensibilities.
    A more charitable interpretation would be to say that the designer threw up an image of an obvious stereotype, to dare viewers to get past their old hangups. In support of this hypothesis, I point out that Giselle does not look at all afraid, and note that the pose makes the two of them appear nearly the same height.

  • Posted by Beve on April 04, 2008

    Good analysis Brendan, but I fear that designers are not that socially conscious. I really do thik they were trying to be “edgy” all you have to do is watch America’s Next Top Model or other shows with photoshoots to see that photographers/stylists/designers for these big mainstream media, usually try to appeal to “instinct”. “Give me natural!” Give me Wild!" “Give me forlorn maiden!” is what they are usually likely to shout at the model.
    Upon further reflection, I actually wasn’t that offended at the cover all, just surprised.

  • Posted by Brendan on April 01, 2008

    I see your point, and now that you’ve made it, I can’t really dispute it.
    I will say that I looked at the picture before I read your comments upon it, and my reaction was not at all like yours. Maybe it’s from “knowing” LeBron and what a good guy he is, or maybe it’s from seeing so many pictures of athletes with mouths agape, but I didn’t get a vibe of threat. Such images make me think “exhuberant!” with maybe a dose of triumphant crowing, “I’m at the top of this game!”
    Maybe I’m insensitive. Or maybe, given that we have a long and sorry history of white males fearing black males in the sense that you describe, I can be happy that I am free from such phobias.

  • Posted by pia on April 03, 2008

    unfortunately it is good composition beve – this is exactly the role of advertisers to create these stereotypes and keep them in print, otherwise consumerism is coming to an end and that means advertisers are out of a job. I don’t think the models would have been explained the true nature of the shot, they never are explained the truth, but nor do they seek it.
    great post, and well done for picking up on the image content – this is exactly what needs to happen – consumers questioning such advertisement! But now for the rest of the millions who have not thought about this and are brainwashed with this stuff. sigh.

  • Posted by guerreiranigeriana on March 27, 2008

    for some strange reason, my first reaction is to laugh…not because its funny though…because its not…what was the creative director or whoever came up with the brilliant idea for the shoot thinking?…personally, regardless of its offensive nature, i think it sucks as a cover, especially for what the article is supposed to be about-secrets of the best bodies…that doesn’t really come through with that pose…i’m sure lil mr or ms that came up with the idea will apologize and state they had no intention and never made the connection-an oversight on their part…
    …how much flexibilty do the models have?…could gisele or lebron said, ‘hey, you know…i’m not really feeling this pose or this print?‘…oh well…thank God he’s not also dating her…then folks would really be bothered…

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