The style director of the Brazilian edition of Vogue has quit after an image taken at her 50th birthday party was condemned for depicting scenes of slavery from colonial times.
A guest at the lavish party, held in Bahia, northeastern Brazil, posted a picture showing Donata Meirelles sitting on an elaborate, throne-like chair, flanked by black women in traditional white dress.
Critics likened the women’s clothes to the uniforms worn by house slaves, and pointed out the chair’s similarity to one commonly used by slave masters.
Marie Claire columnist Stephanie Ribeiro said on Twitter: “The black women were used as objects to create an exotic scene.
“It’s reminiscent of colonialism and romanticises those times. She was recreating the image where whites are superior and blacks are dehumanised.”
Ms Meirelles insisted in an Instagram post that the chair was an artifact from the Afro-Brazilian folk religion candomblé, and the clothes were traditional Bahian party attire.
In a statement on Instagram, the magazine said: “Vogue Brasil profoundly regrets what happened and hopes that the debate that has been generated serves as a learning experience.
“We believe in affirmative and purposeful actions and also that empathy is the best alternative for the construction of a more just society, in which the historical inequalities of the country are debated and faced.
Vogue has said it will also create a panel of activists and academics to help produce content to combat inequalities.
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