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Nigerian-born model forces fashion industry to review race

​The representation of black women in popular media is woefully inadequate. While we’ve seen black women dominate pop culture in 2016, it remains true that Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade‘ is just one example of increased visibility for black women in mainstream media, and most average Americans would find themselves scratching their heads if they had to name just five black women seen on TV right now, in ads or shows. This is, of course, why all of us need to keep pushing for more diversity in media, and it’s why Deddeh Howard decided to say something with her photo series, ‘Black Mirror.’

Deddeh Howard is a 27-year-old model, medical student, and fashion blogger (peep her blog Secret of DD) who lives in Los Angeles. As if her résumé wasn’t impressive enough, Howard decided three months ago to enlist the help of her photographer boyfriend Raffael Dickreuter to create ‘Black Mirror,’ a photo series that shows Howard recreating images from major ad campaigns that feature famous white models like Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Gisele, and more.

#blackmirror Not to long ago it happened to me that I would walk into various fashion model agencies and I would immediately be compared to that one or two black model that they had on the roster. Even though I was told by those agencies that I have an amazing look and wish they could represent me, they already have a black model. Besides having an abundance of white models. It seemed as if one or two black models on the roster are enough to represent us all. When you are told that, trust me, it feels bizarre. Check out my full story now on the blog at or link in bio. I've been working on this project for a while, for the sake of our new generation. A Call For Diversity!. Photo credit: @raffaelphoto_com , Makeup by: @dgbyjd Hair by: @melissahoylehair BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL

A post shared by Deddeh Howard (@secretofdd) on

“The next generation can only get inspired and reach for the stars themselves if they believe they can do it too, Howard writes on her blog that explains her inspiration and thoughts on the project. She writes that black girls are so often only included in media as “an afterthought,” writing that while girls get to see “Gisele Bundchen, Kate Moss or Candice Swanepoel…travel the world, shoot the most amazing campaigns and live an exciting life to inspire young girls,” the next generation of black women needs to see themselves represented, too.

As Howard told Buzzfeed News, the core thesis of her project is simple: “I thought it was perfect because we are mirroring two images. When you [black women] look in the mirror you question: ‘This could be me, why is this not me?” While it’s a simple idea, it seems that the fashion world is still catching up. We can all speed the process of inclusion by appreciating women like Howard, who use their beauty not only to create beautiful work, but also to inspire young marginalized minority women to see themselves doing the same.

Copyright © 2016 The ODYNAIJA TEAM. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source

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