I have a love/hate relationship with Sean “Puffy” Combs. I love his drive, style, and his unwillingness to take s**t from anyone. But I can’t stand his arrogance or his destruction of his Bad Boy artists. Recently, I’ve been feeling a bit of love for Puffy after reading his top 10 forms of bitchassness and that he hired only black models for his Fall 2009 Sean John fashion show. But I have to call Puffy out for some bitchassness of his own. A promotion casting call for Ciroc Vodka, which Sean endorses, requires models to be “white, Hispanic, or LIGHT SKINNED African American;” 5 feet 6 inches or taller; and size 7 or smaller. If Beyonce’s L’Oreal Feria ad is any indication, marketing folks play up the archaic assumption that only whites and people who resemble whites can sell products. And I’m not all that surprised Puffy is helping to foster this idea. I’ve always thought he has a color complex, a phenomenon that exists in just about every race in which people are deemed beautiful or better because they have light skin. All the women he’s been involved with from his first son’s mother Misa Hylton-Brim to ex Jennifer Lopez to jumpoff Cassie have been light skin, with the exception of model Kim Porter.
Puffy was in full damage control mode when news of this casting call hit the web. He wrote on his Twitter that he loved women of all shades and posted photos of Ciroc ads that featured dark skinned women. One blogger, though, did some investigating and thinks the Ciroc ads were really Sean John ads that were Photoshopped with the Ciroc logo.
In response to the uproar, Ciroc Vodka released this statement:
CIROC Vodka has nothing whatsoever to do with this inappropriate and offensive casting call, which was done without the brand’s knowledge or consent. We are currently investigating how this occurred. CIROC Vodka has created a brand that defines sophisticated celebration for all consumers, and in no way condones this practice.
These requirements go way beyond what is considered marketable and sells. Asking for models is one thing, but ruling out an entire group just because they don’t have light skin is ridiculous. And whoever posted the casting call ad needs a reality check. Also, it’s rather hypocritical of Puffy to commit to changing the beauty standards in the fashion industry, but then be involved in this controversy. [Fashion Indie]