No, All Black Girls Do NOT Look The Same, & This Model Isn't Having Any Of That

Model Ebonee Davis tackles diversity issues in the fashion industry head on in a new TED Talk filmed at the University of Nevada and released to the public this week.
Davis, a multi-hyphenate model-writer-activist that you may recognize from Adidas Originals "We The Future" campaign, a little publication called Sports Illustrated, or those Calvin Klein ads that appeared everywhere last year, spoke candidly about her experiences as a black woman in fashion and offered suggestions for how to make the industry more inclusive.

Forever grateful 🙏🏾👙#SportsIllustrated @si_swimsuit

A post shared by ebonee davis (@eboneedavis) on

Union Square 🗽 @calvinklein I am like no one else in #mycalvins

A post shared by ebonee davis (@eboneedavis) on

"I figured that once I got a contract, the industry would open up for me," Davis explained. "But at every turn, I was met with resistance. I had white agents with no knowledge of black hair care run their fingers through my hair and tell me things like, 'We already have a girl with your look.' Translation: All black girls look the same."
Advertisement
According to Davis, being told by her agency that "we just don't know what to do with you" hit her as the most excruciatingly painful thing of all. But while that hurt, she cited the death of Alton Sterling, a black man shot by police on July 5, 2016 — the very same day her Calvin Klein campaign launched — as her personal turning point. Upon hearing the news that very day, David went home and penned an impassioned open letter to the fashion industry as a whole, telling them and the world that "it is no longer acceptable for us to revel in black culture with no regard for the struggles facing the black community ... The time for change is now."
Almost one year later, and David has not weakened in her positioned, nor does she believe that the fashion industry's obligation to do something about racial inclusivity has lessened.
"Inclusion doesn't just mean one token black model," she argued in her inspiring TED Talk. "I don't want to be hired so I can fill an HR box. I want to be hired for my unique contribution to the industry. Instead of forcing my beauty into your pre-existing box and asking me to change, expand your definition of beauty to be inclusive."
Watch her complete TED Talk below.
Advertisement