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11 February 2008


Alan T

BRAVO! Work it out, Rod. Work it out! I love it!


This is a beautiful post. The men are gorgeous, the fashions are gorgeous, it's beautiful to see these black male models.


That new kid Salieu Jalloh is HAWT. What country is he from?

By the way, thanks for the pics. It's great that you're a modelizer and know who these guys are!



One of the top bookers at the agency says he is happy the "beautiful black boys were given a shot to strut their stuff. ...

Boys?!?!? This is 2008, muthufuckuh! Weren't no "boys" anywhere on that runway.

THIS is why it is hard for us to get work in the industry. We're faced with such fashion backward thinking.


hey rod!

great post...the boys are hot (but i dont think the second one is Will LeMay...or is it? hmmmm)

as for diversity in fashion: London will pretty much be the place where you see diversity..or at least, you see more faces of color on the runway. I mean, with designers like Vivienne Westwood, Kenzo, Issey Miyake, Ozwald Boateng, etc. you tend to see more variety on the runways.

New York: it almost lives designers have successfully whitewashed the runway...save for Sean John, and past designers like John Bartlett (*sigh* where is HE these days?), Diane von Furstenburg, etc. you would maybe see ONE black model in the show, and even then you weren't sure....

So kudos to Sean Combs....I hope other designers get a clue and follow suit....

Rod McCullom

Bernie, that's an interesting observation but I never took offense. That's a common term in the industry, and, white male models are often referred to as "the boys" and the women are certainly often referred as "girls" as evident in the AP article.

Ryan, as far as I know that was Will Lemay.


Hey Rod:

It is him...he just looks kinda washed out and pale if you ask me..he still fine though! lol! :)

and you are right, the terms "boys" and "girls" have always been used in fashion....i didnt realize that it would be taken offensively....????


When the people doing the hiring referred to the people they hire with patronizing terminology, one should always be concerned, regardless (or perhaps especially) if it is "just how things are done."

Clearly it is indicative of a particular mindset, thus the need for Diddy to do what he did.

Derrick from Philly

"...high-waist trousers."

They should gotten Omarion to model some of those trousers...shoulda' begged him if necessary.

Tony R

Bernie, it seems that you are parsing one word and taking a quantum leap. I doubt anyone is reading socio historical implications into the very casual use of "boy." Unless they are already obsessed with this topic.

I'm reading the blog post by the booker at Red and he seems happy that his models are working. He should be happy, he's making much more money. I'm also scrolling down the page and see that he refers to many of the models, who are very white, as boys or girls, just like we do in "the life." If they started referring to models in casual conversations as men or women, I doubt this would translate into more immediate bookings.

Sorry to vent, but I'm really becoming tired of the trend in comments at this blog. There seems to be several people who attack every post and find fault with everything, and, I really am not seeing a better blog for black men or gay men. Of all the leading gay blogs, Rod's has often reported the lack of color in fashion and the runway, and, correct me if I'm wrong, are the other gay black blogs even bothering to report the Sean John show? Maybe they will now.

Robert Jones, Jr.

Define black.


Tony, you took the words right out of my mouth. The comments are becoming argumentative and reductionist, possibly because Keith Boykin no longer is blogging on black gay issues and many readers have nowhere to go, or, they just feel like arguing over minute issues. Something tells me it always was like that here, though, its just becoming more pronounced with the election.

Unfortunately, the posts on models tend to attract more conversation around race and sexuality. A week or two ago, there was a huge comment thread on Brazilian models that sounded like a primer on racial theory.

WHEW! Back on toipc. "Boy" doesn't really bother me so much when it is used by a model booker or casting agent. I think some people are reading more into this. If these were porn casting agents, it may make me think twice. But these are top models and high fashion, not Coco"boyz".


Rob, not sure are the comments becoming "argumentative or reductionist", the truth is that some of us find Rod rather bourgeois and wish he were more activist. Rod 2.0 is more like a black version of Towleroad than a firebrand of activism. The blog is very stylish and fashion and trends. True, the writing is very good, but, he is more to report and analyze the election, as opposed to sayiung what the candidates should be talking about.

Maybe it's frustration that you are finding. The two leading commenters on black gay culture and life are more "mainstream" than the community would like. For instance, Rod is very popular at the Huffington Post but I don't think he ever mentions he is gay, his sexuality, or, how that impacts his anlysis.


Of course, someone "anonymous" would hurl the biggest stones. It really sounds like you need to start your own blog especially if this is too "bourgeois."

For what it's worth, I'm reading Rod's bio at HuffPo and it says, "Rod McCullom is a writer, television news producer, and political columnist and frequent contributor to The Advocate, the award-winning LGBT news magazine. His work can also be seen at the magazine's corporate cousin Out.com. On the mainstream side, he has written or produced news at ABC News, Fox, and NBC, as well as at local television stations in New York City and Chicago and several tabloid and talk shows."

Sounds pretty gay to me. Some of us are successful integrating our sexuality into our lives and even careers, others are more accomplished at writing bitchy comments.


ATL Kid, those are called trolls, and that is basically all they do. Don't even try to argue with them.


I don't like the word "boy" but I am sure the person was saying it in a playful way. Plus we were not there for how the way he said it. I am sure it was more so the youngness of the men! Plus they are boys! My meaning..TRADE! So the meaning could get crossed....so miss me with that mess Bernie!


I forgot....ROD keep up the good posts!


well, it's official: anon--you are a TROLL. :)

as for your comments, rod is NOT bourgeois at all. i respect the fact that he has always taken an objective standpoint with ALL issues. THAT is the sign of a true activist in my eyes..someone who can look at ALL sides, make a decision and stick with it.

I really don't think it's fair to say Rod isn't an activist, when his blog has ALWAYS covered HIV/AIDS, politics (where was Keith Boykin when Obama first started becoming a public name? RIIIGHT), and entertainment..anyone who claims to be on the cusp of any and ALL things pop culture HAS to be and remain objective at all times...

if you don't like his blog, anon, go somewhere else.

Rod is a journalist and tv producer, and a damn good one at that. As for his not annoucing he is gay, why should he?

I mean, if you REALLY had your thinking cap on, you could figure that out by MANY of his posts (i mean, rod has made it clear that tyson beckford is his future husband, etc.) Yet, somehow, YOU and thinking don't go hand in hand, anon....just a thought.

and calling rod the black towleroad..andy towle WISHES he had a 1/10 of the knowledge and intelligence Rod has and the kind of objectivity and pop culture fierceness that Rod has displayed on his site for YEARS....

*i think i may have thrown up in my mouth at someone actually calling rod the black towleroad*

at the end of the day, the reality is that black models are NEVER used on the New York runways during fashion week...most black models have to make a name for themselves OVERSEAS in London, Paris, Milan, and various other markets (Toronto, LA, Germany, etc.) before they can even expect to make it big in New York. Think Alek Wek, Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, Richard Elms, Will LeMay, etc. all of these models had to spend considerable time in Europe just to get enough exposure to even be considered to walk the runways for New York Fashion week (which is the hardest market to break as a model)...

and, i don't think it will change until more designers start using models of color, more agency bookers make more of an effort to send models of color on bookings, more fashion writers start profiling these models, etc.

Langston Baldwin

Elated to see black "guys" on the runway. Should we appluad Diddy? 3 Hard claps but I hope he is not doing it just for buzz. He could have done this long time ago. UGH! I swear I try to like Diddy but ooooo boy something so damn not genuine. Tyson, has fallen from grace for me, he has nerve to comment yet he is attached to His own show that does not reflect nor promote any change in public perception of "ethnic/black" models. How many black folks on Tyson's show again?

ROD's BLOG is flawless in my eyes.

I have been saying this for years. I do not wear high end designer wear of ANY company that does not use or promote diversity in their marketing. They take our dollars we even give them props in our songs yet we still are not good to walk for them or pose in their campaigns. SAVE your MONEY!


Anon: As someone previously commented, you should start your own blog. YOU can be the black gay activist that you want/need.

Keep in mind that Rod has to earn a living and being someone's else's idea of an black gay activist doesn't pay his bills.


Great article Rod. And I wouldn't get offended by the term boy, especially since it was used by someone who hires Black male models, even though he knows there's not a lot of work for them.


I forgot to add that the use of the term boy can't be thought of as racially motivated in this case because it's used to describe all male models, regardless of race.


This is my last comment, I promise. I'm also disgusted that more Black designers aren't willing to hire Black models. I remember when Alek Wek first came on the scene, she was trashed by most Black designers because of the color of her skin. They said that White designers just wanted her as a freak show, and that she wouldn't last long. Some even said she shouldn't be allowed to model. That was over ten years ago, and Wek is still one of the biggest names in the business.

Most Black desingers won't hire a Black model until a White designer has given the model his or her seal of approval. They are too afraid of being labeled if they use Black models.

Rod McCullom

Cadence and Ryan bring up some very good points. Paris and Milan are bigger markets for black models, especially Milan, and stateside some of the black designers shy away from black models. Perhaps they don't want to be typecast, not sure.

As far as the blog is concerned, there are always some critics, but it is just an extension of my work in television and magazines, and, hopefully reads well for a large, general audience. Feel free to agree or disagree, if anyone has better links or articles, please send them my way.


my original post didnt load up because my browser crashed.

but, basically i wanted to add some more to this post:

Yes, it is a catch-22 for black designers. I think if they do showcase black models in their lines, then the buyers (whoa re most certainly white) for the Macy's, Bloomingdales, etc. wont take them because of that very weird and longstanding belief that black models can't sell, etc.

on the other hand, if they do use black models, then they seen as "urban" or not mainstream. and, if you are a black designer who is showing a high couture line and you want to be picked up by a Macy's or even one of the many buyers from high end boutiques and stores overseas, those buyers wont take you seriously...I don't know. this is all my speculation since I'm not in fashion...

as for black models, they have to go overseas to build up their books so that they can, in theory, come back to NYC and GET the big name bookings and campaigns (which black models dont get enough of). Tyra had to go to Paris in her early career; Naomi Campbell was a fierce runway and campaign darling in London, Paris, and Milan and literally became an overnight sensation in New York with ALL designers and campaigns wanting to work with her..I think Naomi has appeared in Vogue more than most black models to date I think...Phina Oruche--british born and raised. was turned down by EVERY british modeling agency in london. then finally signed with one. She launched her career in London and Paris and then came to New York City and spent five years working exclusively as a model for The Gap (phinaoruche.com) She's an actress, writer and director and has her own production company...

The men are pretty much the same way...im sure many black male models (I believe Will LeMay started in Toronto, came to NYC, and really got his career started when john bartlett used him for his runway show..then of course, came that infamous betsey johnson show where he only wore a SEVERELY tight ass pair of draws {and tot his day, EVERY gay man of color is THANKFUL for betsey being inspired like that! :)}..his career went into overdrive. specifically, he landed a Versace campaign and was one of donatella's many muses...Gap, Sean John, and various other work came for him. and he had to head overseas to get work also.

It's pretty much the name of the game for black models..if they want to get the big time campaigns or steady work in general, they have to go overseas to and build their books/portfolios..many will spend a period of time there. London and Paris are the MOST welcoming to Black models...milan not as much--if you are a black male model. black women tend to be celebrated more in europe than they are here in america...

it's an interesting paradox...one that should be examined and addressed. Legendary model/agency owner/booker Bethann Hardison (who was/still is tyson beckford's manager?), Iman, and other famous and aspiring black models have been having some town hall type meetings which have addressed this issue and how to change it.

Having Diane von Furstenburg, the head of the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) be supportive of diversity and demand that designers be more inclusive is a big start...and puffy doing his show is also a start in the right direction.

But, we live in Amerikkka, home of the Aryan standard. We all know that anyone who doesn't fit that problematic and divisive standard of beauty has an extremely difficult time of "making it" in fashion....

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