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Michele Obama's 'Black-geoisie' Fashion? France's Elle Magazine Accused Of Racism

A blog post on the French site of Elle magazine declared that black fashion has finally become "chic" thanks to the high style of Michele and Barack Obama. The article has come under sharp criticism from several prominent black leaders a

It's rare that black women feature on the cover of French magazine Elle.
It's rare that black women feature on the cover of French magazine Elle.

*NEWSBITES

PARIS - The French online edition of Elle magazine is facing accusations of bad taste, if not outright racism, after a blog post cited Michele Obama's fashion flair as having finally helped move black style from "street" to "chic."

French blogger Nathalie Dolvio's piece, entitled "Black Fashion Power," was clearly attempting to be complimentary toward both the Obamas and American black fashion generally, but stumbled with patronizing language and out-of-date information, including the declaration that a "black-geoisie" was only now emerging.

The article, which has since been removed from French Elle's website, implied that President Obama and his wife had given the American black community a "chic" alternative to the "streetwear codes' it has long been used to.

The piece has led a group of French celebrities to write an open letter published in the Le Monde daily, which sarcastically urged Elle journalists to get out more and see that "black fashion" was not about sporting hoodies and bling-bling jewelry.

The signatories included some of France's most famous black stars of cinema and fashion, like model Noémie Lenoir, as well as music and journalism celebrities --among them Audrey Pulvar, a television commentator who led the charge against Elle's "white-geoisie" views.

Nathalie Dolivo, the author, and Valerie Toranian, her editor, expressed regrets -- saying the article was "full of good intentions' that might have been badly expressed. Still, the damage is largely done and the spotlight has now been turned to the legendary women's magazine. Some, for example, are asking why the magazine, which was founded nearly 70 years ago, has only had a handful of black women on the cover?

Read more from Le Monde in French

Photo – Elle

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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Did Climate Change Cause The Fall Of The Ming Dynasty?

In the mid-17th century, the weather in China got colder. The frequency of droughts and floods increased while some regions were wiped out by tragic famines. And the once-unstoppable Ming dynasty began to lose power.

Ming dynasty painted ceremonial warriors

Gabriel Grésillon

The accounts are chilling. In the summary of his course on modern Chinese history at the Collège de France, Pierre-Etienne Will examined journals held by various individuals, often part of the Chinese administration, during the final years of the Ming dynasty. These autobiographical writings were almost always kept secret, but they allow us to immerse ourselves in the everyday life of the first half of 17th-century China.

In the Jiangnan region, close to Shanghai and generally considered as a land of plenty, the 1640s did not bode well. The decade that had just ended was characterized by an abnormally cold and dry climate and poor harvests. The price of agricultural goods kept rising, pushing social tension to bursting points.

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