Why Bella Hadid Leading An All-White Model Cast To Beyoncé’s “Formation” Is A Huge Problem

Fashion is political. There’s no catwalk-twirl around it. Models will always be the “wrong” weight, coats will not be “fur” enough. But file this under things white people should stop fucking doing: exploiting and appropriating black culture in some offensive attempt to seem “worldly” or “down”.

Take American supermodel Bella Hadid, who rightfully pissed off a lot of people at Australia Fashion Week. She opened and closed the Melbourne fashion line Misha’s show, but her last hurrah featured an army of white women in tow, oddly evocative of the monochromatic #GirlSquad popularized by white girl ambassador T-Swift.

Marching to the beat of black female empowerment anthem “Formation,” the gross display of insensitivity overshadowed any kind of feminist statement the fashion line was trying to make. Certain themes in the song have no place narrating a predominantly white endeavor. Bey chants about Creole and black Southern heritage, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and support for social justice movements like #BlackLivesMatter.

When IMG Models posted the clip to their Instagram, they garnered hundreds of comments of backlash pointing to the agency’s lack of self-awareness. Dressed in black and pale, white-ish clothes, the show boasts no real effort to champion black culture (it’s not their damn place, anyways), but instead, illustrates an eerily euphemistic way to segregate the two.


Hadid isn’t the only offender, with white people consistently latching onto hip-hop culture like it’s a free-for-all. I’m not preaching from the most innocent of pedestals, either. I felt kind of weird posting this Instagram, because what do I really know about Beyoncé’s plight of subverting oppressive white-centric paradigms, and who am I to use it to rack up a few meager likes? Yeah, we worship Queen Bey because she is so unapologetically feminist and sexually empowered, but unless your “daddy Alabama, Momma Louisiana,” sit the fuck downPoint is: we can all do better in the collective effort to avoid profiting off something that has virtually nothing to do with us. Or more specifically, something that is because of us.


Beyond a call for more than just diversity in fashion (The Fashion Spot reports less than a quarter of models are people of color), this fashion faux pas is proof the wallflower aesthetic is a good look once in a while. Not everything is for or about white people. All Lives Don’t Always Have To Matter, and in cases like “Formation,” we should mostly be content to sit around quietly and be thankful that we get to hear this great song, which we are totally allowed to listen to and love and appreciate for what it is. But definitely fucking DO NOT take it and use it or create situations where you are effectively inserting yourself into the themes or narratives it explores, because then you’re the worst and you’re kind of an idiot who doesn’t get it at all.