I’m going to take a break in my regularly scheduled
programming to talk about something that warrants
discussion in my opinion: the rapid decline of the
urban modeling industry.
As anyone who follows urban modeling knows, after
Buffie the Body
hit the scene
in 2004, the quality of the market took a
serious nosedive*. These days, booty shaking
videos and thongs abound; one piece, full back
bikinis, however, are nearing extinction. Say
what you will about Melyssa Ford
, but at least
she did this with some class.
Why is class important?
For urban modeling to be taken seriously as a genre
and attract advertisers that will support the
magazines and websites featuring your favorite
models, it cannot continue in the direction it is
heading. Advertising in print magazines is already
becoming increasingly rare as media migrates to the
net, but poor content is also to blame for top
advertisers abandoning ship on urban modeling
magazines. "Advertisers refuse to advertise in
because a black woman with
curves…resembles pornography." (Westhoff,
“End Run, How a Few Black Publishers
Are Making a Play for the Maxim Man
Village Voice (May 22, 2007) The Village Voice
Online.) That’s right. To the mainstream world, a
picture of Bria Myles oiled down in a thong is
pretty much porn, and quality advertisers do not
want to be affiliated with that type of content.
No advertisers means no money, and no money means
no sustainable business model for profitability,
aka a dead industry.
The Best Models Are No Longer Willing To Do
I recently shot a model
named Sabrina Hunter
featured on this blog. She got an incredible
response and quickly started burning a trail
through the internet. But less than a month
after we had shot, she decided she didn’t want
to do it anymore. Her reason: “I HATED the
reputation urban models have earned and I don’t
want to be guilty by association.” (See Sabrina’s Blog
This is not an isolated incident. The more urban
modeling is associated with stripping and booty
shaking videos on Youtube, the less any
self-respecting woman is going to want to do this.
Fewer quality models means less respect for the genre
and fewer advertising dollars, not to mention that we
the consumers miss out on the best girls because the
market has become a cesspool. Again, a dead industry.
What’s The Problem; What’s The
The women who’ll do anything for some spotlight
aren’t really the problem; it’s the consumers who are
too shortsighted to see that their insatiable desire
for increasingly risqué content is driving this
market into the ground. For the market to be
restored, consumers have to demand quality.
To analogize with the black filmmaking movement, ten
years ago people complained that there were too many
“ghetto” films, but when a quality flick like “The
Best Man” or “Love Jones” came out, it didn’t draw
the same large numbers as “Jason’s Lyric” or “Menace
to Society.” So the studios stuck with the safe bet
and we got more ghetto movies. When they finally
realized those movies had run their course we were
left with nothing. That will soon be the case with
urban modeling. At this rate, there won’t be any
urban modeling in 5 years. It will just be porn.
We’re at a turning point with this market. I saw a
thread on a message board
other day with a picture of Bria from her recent
J’Adore pictorial and someone said: “She is a
beautiful young woman…No back shot
.” We’re going to need a lot of more
of that and a lot less “When she gonna do porn?”
if the market is going to revive.
For those of you shaking your heads and thinking
“This fool doesn’t get it. I could care less about
respecting these women, I just wanna see ass!” Don’t
worry; there will always be Cubana Lust type videos.
The internet opened a flood gate to that sort of
content that will never be closed. But there won’t
always be quality magazines and websites featuring
top-notch women if this train doesn’t get back on
Regularly scheduled programming will resume
*Buffie was not the
cause of this nosedive per se, but her entrance on
the scene marks the point when the quality really
started to slip.