Popular model and influencer Ebonee Davis recently said she lost out on a five-figure brand deal because she posed a sexy photo and included the n-word in its caption.
The “America’s Next Top Model” alum, known for advocating for diversity in the fashion industry, spoke about the incident in a video she posted to Instagram on Friday, Aug. 12.
Though Davis did not name the brand, she said her agent called her and told her the company decided to withdraw her five-figure deal because they deemed photos she posted on July 12 “inappropriate.”
The photos in question show Davis wearing clothing and accessories from the Jamaican-based Theophilio brand, Essence reported. The outfit is made of see-through net material and the caption says, “My nigga took these,” followed by a smiling heart emoji.
In the 5-photo collection, Davis poses in several ways, including two with her butt facing the camera.
Despite this, Davis said she sees nothing wrong with her photo. In her opinion, the brand deciding to part ways with her is an example of “the harsh reality that Black content creators face.” She added there were no “stipulations” in the contract over what she could and could not post personally.
“When I read that caption, I read a playful articulation of the love I have for my man. It’s been generally agreed upon by the Black community for decades that the N-word isn’t derogatory; it’s a term of endearment,” Davis said in her Instagram video.
“That brings us to the photo. Yet again, when I look at this picture, I see playfulness. I see a Black girl living her best life having fun. There’s nothing inappropriate about it to me – especially not in the world we live in today.”
Davis also discussed the “hyper-sexualization of the Black female body” and the shaming Black women have endured in mainstream culture about their natural bodies for centuries.
“You want access to my audience – which is mostly Black women – without actually having a full appreciation for Black culture,” Davis continued in her video. “Why is it that what’s considered appropriate or professional is always adjacent to whiteness?”
“We don’t have to separate who we are in order to please these companies. We don’t have to erase or hide any aspect of our personalities in order to get these bags,” Davis said “If you can’t handle me at my’ Back That A**Up, you don’t deserve me at my ‘I Have A Dream.’”
Black America had plenty to say about Davis’ video. Some criticized her advocacy as misdirected, while others defended her.
“Your ancestors in they graves watching you fight for your right to say nigga,” @kenn_kamau tweeted.
“Ebonee Davis is an example of wanting to do whatever you want to do, but not wanting to embrace the full agency of that. Rejecting accountability,” @MorgBGreat wrote. “There are consequences, favorable and unfavorable, to every action. Maturity is accepting that and moving in grace.”
“It’s not your body or the photo (you’re half naked in most photos, you’re a model!) It’s the caption,” @__JaneDough__ wrote. “Regardless of how we speak amongst ourselves ‘n!gga’ is a racial slur and brands may not want to be associated with ppl who use racist language.”
“But u can’t even report the word on Instagram and the same brand will allow h to use a song with it in it. I try 24/7 to report it so I would know. Be serious,” @goingTEWfar chimed in.
Twitter user @BijouxFleurette responded “’ if you can’t handle me at my back dat azz up ….you don’t deserve me at my ‘I have a dream’??? girl, that’s corny and these pics are wild af.”
“I agree with her that she should do her, but because we live in the system of Babylon Global White Supremacy and they are in control and have the companies that hire, unfortunately we have to comply to make a living wage,” @MaryMcD03845037 wrote. “Nowadays our hair is not an issue.”
“RIGHT !!!!!!!!! You don’t see Beyoncé saying nigga , you don’t see Lebron saying nigga , Rick Ross & Reebok w/“Molly”, Funny Mike stopped doing & saying certain stuff we can go on & on with this !! Professionalism & Etiquette . y u have a PR team,” @thebenfrankguru tweeted.
“It’s crazy cause beyonce does say nigga,” @WheelOfFurtune responded. “It’s also crazy cause Lebron has Defly said nigga multiple times on public mediums lol,” @_olde_ responded.
“Your puddy hole was literally inside the camera lens. Do what you do but don’t expect IBM to be down with that,” @gerardgerard wrote.
Here are some other reactions from Twitter:
PHOTO: Model Ebonee Davis laments losing a five-figure brand deal in an Instagram video. (Photo: Instagram / @eboneedavis)