As we reported earlier this week, America’s Next Top Model fans won’t want to miss today’s episode of The Tyra Show on the CW. Tyra will bring out all the contestants from this cycle of shorties, and discuss the media “controversy” over one of the more recent photoshoots on the show: the biracial ‘hapa’ shoot in Hawaii, which asked each model to physically take on characteristics of two different races, including traditional clothing, headdresses, and altered skin tones.
The day after the ‘hapa’ episode aired (episode 9, “Let’s Go Surfing”) I published an article titled “Biracial Photoshoot: Ravishing or Racist?” that laid out the issue and asked what you, Tyra’s America’s Next Top Model viewers, thought of the concept, if you believed it constituted ‘blackface,’ and whether it was offensive.
Watch the promo for today’s “ANTM Controversy” Tyra Show episode.
Today Tyra will take to the airwaves to “set the record straight” on what she believes is the “salacious” coverage that the story received, and BuddyTV’s headline is one of the few she decided to show as evidence of the “false accusation” against her and the ANTM producers.
I admit it: I’m a little proud that my own headline will be on daytime television today. But I’m even more proud that the article itself is more interested in inciting intelligent discussion of the photoshoot and its effects on viewers than in making any claims about Tyra and the producers’ intent.
Clearly, the ‘hapa’ photoshoot meant different things to different people. In the poll at the end of my article, with almost 650 votes cast thus far, 41 percent of you thought that “everyone just needs to lighten up,” 33 percent found the photo shoot “beautiful and celebratory,” and 15 percent called the photo shoot a publicity stunt. While just 11 percent of you found the photo shoot offensive, this opinion is no less valid than any of the others. It would be irresponsible of me, Tyra, or anyone else, to tell you that you should not be offended simply because the producers had benign intentions in the way they chose to depict several racial identities via a crowd of mostly white models. But that is what Tyra looks poised to do today.
Instead of shirking ‘blackface’ blame, Tyra should be concerned with how representations of race on her program affect women of all, and across all, races. We don’t need a poll to tell us that biracial identity is more complex than wearing a sari and a Native American headdress at the same time. But that is what we saw during the America’s Next Top Model episode, with little to no explanation for why the concept was chosen, or what it was intended to mean.
During the episode was the right time for Tyra to “set the record straight” on her photo shoot concept. And that time has passed. Now, it is the right time for her listen to the viewers she has outraged with its results and apologize, whether she thinks the “details” excuse the exercise or not.
Of course, don’t hold your breath on that apology. But we can always hope, right?
The Tyra Show usually airs from 3 to 5 PM on the CW. Check your local listings for up to date airing information.
And be sure to tune in tonight for the finale of America’s Next Top Model at 8 PM on the CW.
-Meghan Carlson, BuddyTV Staff Writer
Image courtesy of the CW