Friday, April 11, 2008

LeBron, the "Mad Brute"?

I grew up in Cleveland and like Cleveland sports teams. Of course, currently, the Caveliers have the greatest player in pro basketball on their team, LeBron James. Recently, James caused a stir when he appeared on the cover of Vogue Magazine. Decide for yourself:

Exhibit A: 1917 U.S. Army propaganda poster...

Exhibit B: Recent cover of Vogue by Annie Leibowitz featuring LeBron James and supermodel Gisele Bundchen...

Now, your turn. Is this a "racist" cover by Vogue? Is LeBron the "Mad Brute" that needs to be "destroyed" as he steals the beautiful (white), Teutonic "lady Liberty"? Given the U.S.'s tragic history of lynching "black brutes" who have relationships with white women, is this problematic? Is it relevant that in its long history, Vogue has apparently only had 4 black people on its cover? Or, is this some sort of knowing, or subversive, twist on those age-old images/stereotypes? Is Leibowitz having "fun" by parodying that old poster? Is it just the fashion industry doing what it always does to sell magazines... push right up to the line to cause controversy and attract attention? What do you think?


  1. ur just jealous that lebron is good enough to get on that cover just b/c he is aminzing and strong doesnt make him a mad brute

    ur fav person noel ;)

  2. Hi Noel, my favorite Baltimore nephew:

    I agree that LeBron isn't a "mad brute," but it seems like that photo might be suggesting that he is. That was my question for folks to consider, particularly given the 1917 poster it is patterned off of...

    Anyway, thanks for chiming in. Keep coming back to check it out!

    Your favorite Uncle.