Vogue Brazil’s fashion director was forced to resign after criticism of 50th birthday party photos she posted in which she appears to be evoking the image of a slave master. The photos, which Donata Meirelles put on Instagram but later removed, show her sitting on a cadeira de sinhá style slave-master chair, flanked by black women in white uniforms similar to those worn in colonial times. Several of her guests also posed in the ornate chair with the women at the party, which was held in Bahia, which has Brazil’s largest population of black people. “The black women were used as objects to create an exotic scene,” Stephanie Ribeiro, author of the #BlackGirlMagic column in the Brazilian edition of Marie Claire, told The Guardian. “It’s reminiscent of colonialism and romanticizes those times. She was recreating the image where whites are superior and blacks are dehumanized.”
Meirelles posted an apology on her Instagram account, explaining that the chairs and costumes were not meant to offend: “Even so, if I caused any different impressions, I am sorry.” Vogue Brazil issued a statement saying it would hire consultants and activists to work on campaigns to combat inequality. “Vogue Brasil profoundly regrets what happened and hopes that the debate that has been generated serves as a learning experience.”
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