Meet the Neo-Colonialists: Madonna and Vanity Fair

by Latoya Peterson

Latoya’s Note: If you have a good grasp of world trade, the issues on the African Continent, and media bias as it relates to first world nations, read this article as it is presented. If you are unfamiliar with any of these concepts, please scroll down to where I say “Part of the solution is asking the right questions.” That section will explain why I take offense to a lot of the seemingly innocuous parts of the text.

In the last month, I’ve spent about 8 hours of my life stuck under a hair dryer. Imprisoned under this evil little bonnet hood, my only escape and sanctuary are the magazines stocked by the salon. I’ve perused countless copies of W, Everyday with Rachel Ray, and Allure – magazines I would not pick up on my own, but quickly become interesting reading once I run out of other material.

A couple of weeks ago I had run through all those and decided to turn to Vanity Fair. It’s heft appealed to me, as did the long form articles. I skipped past a lot of the front of the book pieces, thoroughly enjoyed an investigative article on how the Monsanto corporation is locking down the global seed market, and stopped at the cover profile on Madonna.

The photos pulled me in, with their stark, bare treatment of Madonna’s form juxtaposed against steel which reminded me of Atlas Shrugged.

I read the opening paragraph:

The world is a series of rooms, which are arranged like concentric circles, or rooms within rooms, joined by courtyards and antechambers, and in the room at the center of all those rooms Madonna sits alone, in a white dress, dreaming of Africa.

Oh hell no.

Remember that old Margaret Cho joke, where she says if you’re Asian-American and you’re watching TV, and you hear that “wa-na-na-na-na-na na-na-na GONG!” sound you know you’re fucked?

I get that same feeling when an article describes a white person dreaming about Africa.

Especially if they aren’t fondly reminiscing over their childhood spent overseas.

But who knows? I could be wrong, right? I continued reading. Continue reading