This week we celebrate some of Cherrydeck’s most talented black model members and highlight great beauty from all corners of the world. We give voice to their testimonials about the importance of Black Lives Matter and working as a model in a challenging industry.

In a special day such as the 19th of June and in the light of the recent episodes and movements seen all over the world, we asked some of our members to share their experiences with racism.

We believe that diversity is imperative and what allows for the beauty we see in the world; that the creative crafts, visual arts, music, and more, are only alive because of our differences; and mostly, that everyone deserves to live in a safe and happy place.

Below you find several testimonials from talented black model members at Cherrydeck. Thank you for sharing a piece of you with us!

Keli Kisiasia

Personally, this is something we already know when we are born. We are from very early confronted with racism and we have to forge a shell to be able to protect ourselves and understand that some people are very bad in their heart. Can you imagine that one of the first things a kid should know is racism?

I would say that for most blacks, we will not say there is a surprise. The difference TODAY is that almost everyone realises the seriousness of things. It’s sad that lives have to be taken for people to wake up. This should not happen. A black should be able to live without feeling judged, humiliated or in danger. We deserve to expose our talents without having to be sorted out because we are black.

Today in the fashion world, they have started to realise this, which is good. But there’s still a lot of work and I hope that it won’t take another 10 years.

I could talk about hundreds of personal experiences that I had. When I take the train to travel, I am the only person who gets checked or other black people. When I was younger, someone yelled at me in front of everyone “go back to your country”. The shell you made for yourself is of service to you in this kind of moments.

You’re watched by the security guards in stores because they think you are a potential thief. Sometimes you have a model job and they tell you to take skin colour underwear and then at the job they give you new underwear for white skin. Frankly, it is hurtful.

For me, there are two forms of racism: the “ignorant” racism — for example “can I touch your hair?” — and “hate” racism, like I experienced. Mentalities must change and this change should have already taken place in schools and History classes. Each time the history of black people is mentioned, the only thing we learn is that we were slaves. We are more than that.

Black Models
Keli Kisiasia | Milan, Italy

Idriss Badmus

I think this should and it is (in my opinion) the start of a big revolution. The society we live in has always oppressed and systematically exploited the people from Africa — or as we say now “black people”. The oppression hasn’t been just physically, as we can all recall by the multiple videos and stories we’ve heard lately, but has been also a psychological oppression in terms of the history of black people and what they’ve gone through to adapt in a system that till now is rejecting us.

In other words, I’m saying that our true history has been hidden from us and it’s time that we start learning the true history, not just by self-research and self-studies, but also in schools and in the community in order to make people aware of the problem so it can be addressed and solved (hopefully without violence, civil war or world war).

These issues touch the whole world. For example, the fact that African people have to go true different struggles and situations just to get a temporary paper to see their families overseas, without talking about the amount of money they have to borrow just for that, and at the same time a person born in Europe or in the Western (white) countries can book a plane to Africa just to go on holiday. That’s just one example of white privilege that has been radically put in the system and people won’t even realise because of the amount of distraction and problems that allows the system to oppress without a comeback from part of the population. 

I’m glad more people are interested to learn and hear more from us so we can truly make a change and make it right.

Idriss Badmus | London, UK

Mak Mill

I was born in Kinshasa (RDC), in Congo. As a young boy coming to Germany at the age of 10 for a better life and more opportunities, still having to fight about racism in 2020 is really sad.

We are human beings, we are blinding the same, we breathe the same air, and live on the same Earth. For me, this Black Lives Matter movement is very important because enough is enough. We are sick of working twice so we can be where we wanna be or get what we need. We are sick of getting judged because of our skin colour. We are sick of being silent! We don’t want to see our brothers and sisters getting killed because of their skin colour anymore.

Black Lives Matter is not political, it’s human rights. For homophobia, fascism, sexism, racism, hate… there is no place for it in this world. A little message from me would be: support black people and love black people like you love black culture.

We need to change this world and this will only happen at the moment everyone starts seeing each other as a brother, as a sister, and as a human being. 

Black Models
Mak Mill | Stuttgart, Germany

Jason Harderwijk

I wake up every morning smiling and laughing because I’m happy that I’ve past another day, but inside of me I’m crying of sadness and insecurity because I’m a black man and because my skin colour doesn’t allow me to be me and express myself.

Think about it, walking into a store and having someone walking behind you because you’re black and you might be there to steal something. Think about walking into a police office or administration and asking for help and no one paying attention to you. It hurts because our society doesn’t care about our existence, it’s almost like you are a ghost. It hurts badly.

People don’t want to be friends with you because you’re black. You’re a bad influence, you’re dirty, you’re not cool enough, you’re not beautiful enough, you’re not intelligent enough. Our lives are constantly in judgment or danger. Because I’m black I have a certain profile, because I’m black I’m a criminal.

Anger, brutality and violence haven’t come from us. It’s sad and hurtful that we have to use something such as Black Lives Matter to still fight for our rights and existence in 2020. This ain’t 1780, we are in 2020 and black people are still suffering from police brutality and suffering because the people that govern us don’t pay attention or don’t help enough. I’m done crying, I deserve more respect and sympathy. I’m done suffering because of my skin colour.

As Mandela said:

“I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

Black Models
Jason Harderwijk | Paris, France

Maddison Gregory

Black Lives Matter is hands down the largest and most powerful civil rights movement in history. The support of it should not be a question. 

The injustice within this world is so clear, and as humans — regardless of race — we need to recognise problems and acknowledge our ability to change them.

It pains me to realize that not so many people understand the extent of the problem, especially considering how evident it is. But for the people who do, every single one of you have power. Your voice has value. We need you. So I ask you all, make a stand when you see something unjust, share what is going on and most importantly, make your voice heard. 

Black Models
Maddison Gregory | Birmingham, UK

Farell Fogwe Tanah

Being raised as a black child in a white country is hard, no doubt. We face racism in many kind of forms during school and in all day life. But what has given me strength and hope is my faith in God.

Don’t get me wrong, I am black and the pain and suffering that blacks went and are still going through is difficult to express in words. I am not minimising the importance of the BLM movement but what is disturbing, is the fact that many, especially in the US, are trying to fight hate with hate, racism with racism, which I think will not bring us any further as human race.

I believe that while all the protests are going on and awareness is being raised, we should not forget that our motive is love, because that’s the point where we want to all be as humans, isn’t it? It’s love we should embrace and I believe as a result of that, our future has the potential of being better than our past.

Farell Fogwe Tanah | Düsseldorf, Germany

Audrey Foh

As a black person, it’s important for me to claim through the Black Lives Matter movement that we count too. Equally as a white person.

We, black people, have the same right as everyone to have a job, to find an apartment, to walk down the streets, and more, without being seen only as black instead of a human being.

Having lived in Spain during my teenage years, I’ve experienced a lot of systemic racism. At school, my classmates used to put stickers behind my back on my school bag with words like “Monkey, go back to your country” or “Negra de mierda”. Even once, a guy spitted on me from his car and called me a cockroach.

As a model, I’ve been refused so many times because of my skin colour. 
I’m living in Switzerland for a year now and it’s still the same or even more vicious. The list is way too long. 

Black Models
Audrey Foh | Neuchâtel, Switzerland

Yannick Geudens

It gives me joy to see so many people from so many different cultures united for a single cause. I believe that the only way to end racism is by having people united as one human race and by showing support and spreading awareness to the issues that we are facing today.

Right now it’s Black Lives Matter because the house of the black community is of fire, but in reality it’s way bigger than this. What Black Lives Matter is fighting for is for the end of all racism, period. 

I grew up in Belgium and went to a very diverse High School. There was not a single time in which I have experienced racist encounters. This to me, is a sign that nobody is born a racist. This to me, is a sign that if we keep opposing racism, one day we will live in a world without it.

Yannick Geudens | London, UK

More incredible talent from the Cherrydeck community:

Jade De Brito | Paris, France
Moostapha Saidi | Johannesburg, South Africa
Andrew Bunting | London, UK
Black Models
Yvanna Ntonga | Lyon, France
Del Dumashie | London, UK
Charlene Gerald | London, UK
Black Models
Kermit Oduro | Accra, Ghana
Yvonne Captan | Bremen, Germany
Lee McLaughlin | London, UK
Jessie Nadu | Paris, France
Picture by Forest Bru
Black Models
Shanaelle Boa | Paris, France
Black Models
Lucrezia Lekeune Sokeng | Milano, Italy
Black Models
Sarah Hope | Toulon, France
Black Models
Paul Mendy | Paris, France

To see more inspiring talent, have a look at Silvia Rocchino’s photographic project “Strange Fruit”, which beautifully brings awareness to the same cause.

If you are a brand and would like to cooperate with our diverse creative community, create an account here. ?

Posted by:Cherrydeck Editorial

Our mission is to enable brands to source custom visual content at scale through our global creative community. Follow us on Instagram for the latest updates @cherrydeck

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