Michelle Williams Sparks Controversy With Native American Magazine Cover

Michelle Williams has found herself at the centre of a racism debate after appearing on the cover of AnOther magazine

Michelle Williams has found herself at the centre of controversy following her cover for AnOther magazine.

The actress, who is currently starring Oz The Great And Powerful, appears on one of the multiple covers of the latest issue dressed as an apparent Native American.

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Wearing long, dark hair in braids, beads and feathers, Michelle looks a far cry from her usual blonde, pixie-cropped self. According to the magazine, Williams was ‘transformed into eight imaginary characters’ by photographer Willy Vanderperre and stylist Olivier Rizzo for a cover shoot inspired by the issue’s theme, ‘There’s No Place Like Home.’

The cover has sparked accusations of racism with bloggers and columnists hitting out at the portrayal of Native Americans.

Ruth Hopkins, writing for Jezebel, said: ‘The cover should be pulled, and all parties involved owe the American Indian community an apology. Further, we could all save ourselves a lot of trouble from here on out if people made an effort to learn more about cultures other than their own by opening the lines of communication. Have some humanity. Regardless of race, we are equals and worthy of respect.’

For The Nation, Aura Bogado, wrote: ‘Playing Indian not only promotes stereotypes, but violates profound spiritual significances, is tantamount to wearing blackface and prolongs a violent history of genocide and colonialism. You’ve done all of that with your photo-shoot costume.’

While online magazine Refinery26, labelled the shoot offensive, saying: ‘Pretty much the only thing we can do here is balk. Why was this produced and published? Who approved this idea? On what planet is this okay or called for, by any measure?

‘Though it doesn’t usually change anything, when creative imagery is found to be offensive by the public, artists usually say something about how political correctness shouldn’t interfere with the direction of their art. But what’s particularly ridiculous about this photo is that we can’t imagine what lofty artistic goal could possibly call for this kind of offense against a people who are still marginalized in many ways today.’

What do you think? Do you find Michelle Williams’ cover offensive? Do you think it’s racist or merely an arty shoot? Are you unsure what to think? We would love to have your comments.

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