Essence is one of the flagship magazines that caters to black women. Accordingly, the fact that Reggie Bush-who seems to have a clear preference for white women-covers its “Black Men, Love & Relationships Issue,” has angered many black women.
Many black women tout Essence’s decision to use Reggie Bush on the cover of its relationship issue as a smack in the face. The football superstar is currently involved in a very public relationship with Armenian reality star Kim Kardashian, who is clearly not black, though she does consider herself somewhat ethnically exempt from the Caucasian classification. As Essence has branded itself as an editorial “where black women come first,” the gripe relates directly to the fact that its cover star’s first choice is actually not a black woman.
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There is some valid argument in this perspective, though it is mostly exclusionary in nature and therefore flawed.
But why are black women really upset? Is it the fact that Bush chose a white girlfriend? At what point does his personal preference in women cross over into territory that is really none of our business? And while it is understandable that his choice in a partner is irrelevant so long as it is not broadcast on an avenue designated for black women, does this discount the fact that he is still a black man? Must we exclude the opinions of black men that don’t date black women? On some level, this seems unfair. Reggie Bush represents one clear perspective; although it is not approved of by everyone, why should his perspective be excluded from discussion in a black women’s magazine?
It is obvious that the Essence team chose their cover because it is clearly provocative. Rather than coming down on those who made the decision, however, it seems much more prudent for black women who are angry, or disapproving of Bush’s relationship choices to use this opportunity to voice their opinions and engage in conversation about the touchy subject.
There is no benefit in banning certain men from the covers of our magazines, unless of course their actions are personally and directly offensive, derogatory and defaming to black women. Otherwise, this seems like an opportunity to get into the psyche of this particular black man, and see his particular views on life, love and relationships as the magazine suggests.
Essence is not calling Reggie Bush the authority on black love. It is simply honoring an attractive black man, and seeking his individual perspective. In 2010 are interracial relationships still a problem in our community? While he may not exactly be the poster child for black love, nor the most deserving of the cover, it just seems wrong to completely write off the controversial baller.
Apparently the fact that Essence chose to dig up an old pic of Bush for its cover is also a source of disapproval from readers. Get it together Essence.
Are you mad that Reggie Bush covers this issue of Essence?