Harmful stereotypes tackled in runway show


The corrupt pop culture imagery of Black men was upended in the collection shown by Haberdashery by Lue at Atlantic City Fashion Week on Feb. 20.

The show began with white models dressed as cowboys. The models stepped out in archetypal heroic poses. The heroism was undermined when one “cowboy” was indiscriminately “gunned down” at the runway’s edge. The move demonstrated the hypocrisy that White men armed with guns, used to settle vague beefs, were admired in pop culture. Unspoken in the demonstration is that American pop culture teaches that a Black man with a gun is to be feared… not admired.

Then a group of predominantly Black models stepped out on to the runway in attire that evoked the story book mythos of Rich White Men at the country club. The irony in the move was that Black men would have been barred from these country clubs even though the clothes they wore would have been more than welcome.

The runway show neared its end with several faceless and shadowy specters stepping out onto the stage in funeral procession fashion. These same specters than accompanied the models for the finale as if to hold a funeral for these hurtful stereotypes, Black and white.

The show ended with two young Black girls stepping forth, as the specters moved forward behind them. The move could have indicated the designer’s hope that a better day for America will be built by the young. The designer also may have been offering a commentary that the stereotypes need to be buried to keep young Black America, like the two girls, safe.