A story in today's Observer talks about the recent controversy over the cover of the latest issue of Vogue magazine:
When Vogue announced its April cover starring LeBron James and Gisele Bundchen, the magazine noted with some fanfare that James was the first black man to grace its cover.What do you think? Does the image peddle the same old racial stereotypes? Is it not racist -- simply a picture of two beautiful, successful people having fun? Or is it, as some have suggested, "post-racist": Vogue and photographer Annie Leibovitz obviously knowing the image's connotations, but winking at them, using them for some kind of playful, avant-garde statement? Or is Vogue's and Leibovitz's effort just a tired cliché trying to be hip? -- Kevin Siers
But the image is stirring controversy, with some commentators decrying the photo as perpetuating racial stereotypes. James strikes what some see as a gorilla-like pose, baring his teeth, with one hand around Bundchen's tiny waist.
It's an image some have likened to "King Kong" and Fay Wray.
"It conjures up this idea of a dangerous black man," said Tamara Walker, 29, of Philadelphia.
Photographer Annie Leibovitz shot the 6-foot-9-inch NBA star and the 5-foot-11-inch Brazilian model for the cover and an inside spread.
"We think Lebron James and Gisele Bundchen look beautiful together, and we are honored to have them on the cover," Vogue spokesman Patrick O'Connell said.
James told The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer he was pleased with the cover, saying he was "just showing a little emotion."