After endless criticism of photo that drew comparisons to slavery, ‘Vogue Brasil’ director Donata Meirelles resigns

Vogue slavery
Vogue slavery
For many, the photo and party of Vogue Brasil editor’s party was reminiscent of Brazil’s slavery era

Note from BW of Brazil: Well, something had to give. Over the past week, black Brazilians have been blasting the director of Vogue Brasil’s photos and the whole theme in which she chose to have black women dressed in traditional baiana clothing to greet guests for her 50th birthday party and pose for photos. As I wrote in a previous article, the race issue can dramatically change the way in which a setting and a photo is interpreted. After all of the hoopla, I think the magazine’s director knows this by now, even though she still tried to justify her choice and position. This turn of events that has now led to resignation of the now former director of Vogue Brasil, Donata Meirelles, shows that black Brazilians are no longer willing to accept being put and maintained in the ‘place’ Brazilian society seeks to keep them. 

Festa de 50 anos de diretora da Vogue gera polêmica
Many black Brazilians were expressed outrage over the director’s party theme and photos.

‘She should put black women on the cover of Vogue’, says Olivia Santana about controversy

Courtesy of Mídia Bahia

The first black woman state deputy from Bahia, Congresswoman Olivia Santana (PCdoB) commented on the controversial party that the director of Vogue Brasil, Donata Meirelles, did last Friday (8), in the Palácio da Aclamação, in Salvador. The baiana (Bahian woman) said that the socialite should honor black women in another way, placing them in the magazine where she works.

“She should have black women on the cover of Vogue (see note one)She she put thousands of these women there. That would be a tribute,” said Olívia.

Donata Meirelles, (center) director of Vogue Brasil recently caused a stir with the photos from a recent party that many associated with the slavery era

Olívia also said that the controversial photo, which reverberated on social networks at the end of the week, refers to the period of slavery. “As a woman and a black, I felt extremely uncomfortable with that image, because a photo speaks and that photograph of the party conveys the message of white ladies in a cordial relationship with black women placed in colonial subalternity. Just look at this in a book. The point is that we are in the 21st century […] It was a party of rich white people,” said the congresswoman.

Olivia Santana - Vogue
Congresswoman Olívia Santana spoke on the controversy via her Instagram profile

“Slavery has become a fetish for our elites. Instead of freeing themselves from this imagery of senzalas (slave quarters) and maids, there are still those who re-create such stereotypes as party decorations.  Such a practice is recurrent, because the degree of consciousness of a large part of our society is still in the 19th century. The reactions on the social networks about the Vogue director’s party certainly caused extreme discomfort to her and amazed those who could not see what should be obvious in the situation. But the saying goes, whoever does not learn by love learns by pain. The image that remained of the photographs of the party conveys the old message of white ladies in a cordial relation with black women placed in colonial subalternity.  There is no rhetoric of appreciation that solves this asymmetry. Of course, baianas are part of our cultural universe and are even hired for events.  But, let’s face it, at a party where almost all the guests are white and rich, black women in ‘typical costumes’ hired as ornaments to compose a folkloric setting that romanticizes the relationship between ladies and maids should not be embarrassing only for us blacks, but for all people of common sense. The situation is regrettable, but the repercussion is pedagogical.” #DownloadingDevices #EducationTo Release

Several others weighed in on the controversy, including writer and activist Djamila Ribeiro:

Philosopher Djamila Ribeiro also weighed in on the issue

“This party treated black people in a very disrespectful way, referring to a colonial heritage. What bothers me in all this is the connivance. The people who were there act as if nothing had happened,” she said. She also added: “Besides the owner of the party, I think that the people who were there should also be held responsible, especially those who say they are anti-racist. It’s past time for whiteness to think and rethink. You can’t compose with the narcissistic pact of whiteness. It is very violent. What happened was not merely a party. It is the reinforcement of a colonial structure.”

Legendary singer Elza Soares also spoke to the sentiments of many in her recent post on the issue.

After controversy surrounding controversial party and photo, Vogue Brasil editor Donata Meirelles announced her resignation

After the controversial party, Donata Meirelles resigns from Vogue

Courtesy of Catraca Livre

Donata Meirelles announced tonight her resignation from the board of Vogue Brasil.

“With sadness in my heart, but with the courage and head held high that have always guided my life, I start a new cycle and resign from Vogue Brasil, a publication that I helped to build.

I love you Vogue, I have loved you since I was young. Count on me so that you can continue to make a difference in the publishing and fashion market, defending and promoting all human beauties, as I will continue to defend.”

She didn’t explain why.

But it’s known.

Donata Meirelles celebrated her 50th birthday last Friday, February 8, at the Palácio da Aclamação de Salvador, with a party that became a national controversy.

Source: Catraca Livre, Mídia Bahia


  1. As we’ve seen in numerous articles, Brazil’s print media has a history of representing Brazilian women as mostly white on women’s magazine covers. See herehere and here, for examples.
About Marques Travae 3747 Articles
Marques Travae. For more on the creator and editor of BLACK WOMEN OF BRAZIL, see the interview here.


  1. Fantastic result. In these times this party is not acceptable. This racist backwardness where black women have no status in roles as featured models writers and leaders there is no excuse for such behaviour. The current editor of British Vogue is a black man Edward Ennimful and black women although too few play a part in the fsshiom world more and more. Naomi Champbell being our most welll known model takes a stand in the fashìon world to change attitudes and fights for rights of black models

    • That why blacks in the diaspora need encourage more afro brazilan to emigrate to uk and usa have opportunity and prosper like Nigerians Africans and afro Caribbean in the usa and the uk

  2. I saw it on the news here in the United States. That’s good she is stepping down, that was totally wrong and distasteful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.