King Kong and the Vogue cover

When Tom Withers of the Associated Press wrote that basketball star Lebron James was to appear on theVoguecover_3
April cover of Vogue magazine, this is how he described it:

Wearing a tank top, shorts and sneakers from his own Nike clothing
line, James appears on the cover dribbling a basketball and screaming
as if in game mode while throwing one arm around supermodel Gisele
Bundchen with Tom Brady nowhere to be found. [Link]

Lebron holding Tom’s girlfriend and screaming. Innocent enough, right? Not so fast. The cover, shot by acclaimed photographer Annie Leibovitz, has caused some people to scream foul, saying that the pose reminds them too much of King Kong carrying Fay Wray.

"It conjures up this idea of a dangerous black man," said Tamara Walker, 29, of Philadelphia.

… magazine analyst Samir Husni believes the photo was deliberately
provocative, adding that it "screams King Kong." Considering Vogue’s
influential history, he said, covers are not something that the
magazine does in a rush.

"So when you have a cover that reminds people of King Kong and
brings those stereotypes to the front, black man wanting white woman,
it’s not innocent," he said. [Link]

Perhaps I didn’t watch enough of King Kong, but the cover doesn’t make me think of a giant ape holding a helpless damsel. First of all, Gisele looks hardly helpless. Secondly, Lebron looks like just another basketball player, screaming on the court, probably saying something like: "Look what I’ve got on my arm, dawg. Yeah, cost me five grand at the tattoo parlor."

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If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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