Happy MLK Day From Russia?

The original photo of Dasha Zhukova in Buro 24/7One can certainly understand that this photo of Dasha Zhukova in a Russian fashion site was a bit disturbing of a white model sitting on a black mannequin. However, to release it on Martin Luther King day caused more than a little stir across the Internet this week.

The site Buro 24/7 has now issued a statement that “Buro 24/7 is categorically opposed to the idea of racism, oppression or humiliation of people in any form. We see this chair purely in an artistic context. We apologise to all our readers who were offended by these photographs.” I can understand the need for artistic license but this is an artistic message that has obviously disturbing racial elements even outside of the MLK holiday. I was repelled by the picture, which I assume was not the artistic purpose of the shot in a fashion magazine. In fairness to Zhukova and Buro, I assume that she had no idea of the release date and MLK is not a holiday in Russia. So I do not believe that this was any intentional act, but the chair itself remains troubling.

Zhukova is a Russian socialite and gallery owner. She is the girlfriend of oligarch Roman Abramovich.

Source: Guardian

18 thoughts on “Happy MLK Day From Russia?”

  1. “In the light of King’s powerful demagogic speech…We must mark him now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this Nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro, and national security.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~ please put this on a t-shirt with an image of j edgar in drag…

  2. From the article in The Guardian:


    “In Jones’s view ‘because these 3 sculptures of women are recognisably representational it is less obvious that the sculpture is not about being naturalistic. They are not so much about representing woman but the experience of woman, not an illusion’.

    With reference to his work in general Jones considers (slightly modified statement quoted by Livingstone, op.cit.) that:

    ‘ The erotic impulse transcends cerebral barriers and demands a direct emotional response. Confronted with an abstract statement people readily defer to an expert; but confronted with an erotic statement everyone is an expert. It seems to me a democratic idea that art should be accessible to everyone on some level, and eroticism in one such level’.

    Jones considers that the three sculptures ‘Hatstand’, ‘Table’ and ‘Chair’ are the most radical statements that he has made.”


    “They are not so much about representing woman but the experience of woman, not an illusion’.” -from the “Tate” piece

    The piece is provocative, to be sure.

  3. “Gov’t used Surveillance of MLK in Bid to Destroy Him: Now they want us to just Trust Them”

    By Juan Cole | Jan. 20, 2014 |


    Among the ironies of Barack Obama trying to sell us the gargantuan NSA domestic spying program is that such techniques of telephone surveillance were used against the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. in an attempt to destroy him and stop the Civil Rights movement. Had the republic’s most notorious peeping tom, J. Edgar Hoover, succeeded in that quest, Obama might never have been president, or even been served in Virginia restaurants.

    Now that MLK is recognized by all but a tiny minority of Americans (Dick Cheney being in the minority) as a national hero, it is sometimes hard to remember that the Establishment treated him in his own lifetime like a criminal conspirator. He merely demanded the end of Jim Crow Apartheid and equal rights and opportunities for African-Americans with whites in every state of the union. As a result of this entirely reasonable demand, required by the 14th Amendment, he was placed under 24 hour a day surveillance by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. As with everything in the Cold War, the pretext was that King might have Communist associates. Just as the NSA grabbing our metadata today is justified by the pretext that all 310 million of us might have al-Qaeda associates.

    King’s powerful “I have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Capitol provoked a frothing at the mouth Hoover to swing into full action against him.

    One of Hoover’s aides wrote in a memo after that 1963 event,

    “In the light of King’s powerful demagogic speech…We must mark him now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this Nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro, and national security.”

    At Hoover’s urgent request, Bobby Kennedy permitted the FBI secretly to break into King’s premises and those of his associates and plant bugs. They also bugged meetings where he spoke and hotels he stayed in. Let me repeat that. The reaction of the head of the FBI and the attorney general of the US to King’s dream that little boys and girls of different races would play games with each other was to record his every word and action and those of his friends.

    If that speech can get you that kind of scrutiny in the USA, then why should we ever trust any high government official with our personal information? Most of us are at least as idealistic as that.

    The FBI caught MLK in a couple of extramarital encounters. Hoover, who had profound sexual hang-ups probably to the point of psychosis, hated him with a passion. Having spent his career using the information he gathered on Congressmen to blackmail them, he apparently hoped to use MLK’s “alleycat” “degenerate” (Hoover’s words) against him.

    Hoover, the supreme perv, sent him an anonymous threatening letter:

    “You are a colossal fraud and an evil, vicious one at that . . . The American public … will know you for what you are — an evil, abnormal beast . . . Satan could not do more . . . King you are done . . . King, there is only one thing left for you to do . . . You know what it is … You better take it before your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self is bared to the nation.”

    Presumably Hoover hoped to drive King to suicide under threat of having his dalliances revealed; presumably also MLK would have put together that Hoover had his private life in his files.

    When King was awarded the Nobel Peace prize, Hoover attempted to derail the ceremony by trying to leak the affairs to the press. To their credit, the editors and reporters recoiled from the squalor of the entire matter and refused to touch it.

    The point is that King’s private life is irrelevant to his public demands and his public role. He was demanding constitutional rights for all Americans. Whom he shtupped in his spare time is not germane to the rightness of that demand.

    Note that today’s NSA collection of all Americans’ smartphone records shows who they called and texted and where they were when they did it. All American dalliances are as transparent in those records as King’s were to Hoover. If the US government was willing to try to blackmail King and many other public figures (Hoover always went straight to any Congressman on whom he got dirt and let him know about it, putting the man in his back pocket), then it is willing to blackmail anyone who becomes inconvenient.

    That Barack Obama thinks we’re so naive or uninformed about American history that we will buy his assurances that the NSA information on us would never be used is a sad commentary. Indeed, we cannot know for sure that Obama himself and other high American officials are not being blackmailed into taking the positions they do on domestic surveillance. If the American people do accept such empty words, then I suppose they deserve to have Hoover’s pervy successors in their bedrooms.

    End of excerpt.

  4. “How about the idea of killing someone & then having a holiday for him….how crazy offensive is that?!?” -John

    Yep. Offensive and crazy.

  5. Lets see the Gov was sued in court by MLK’s family, for the death of MLK, and the Government LOST!
    But then this same Gov has a holiday for him….

    And then people are supposed to think a pix is offensive!?? How about the idea of killing someone & then having a holiday for him….how crazy offensive is that?!?

  6. “Zhukova is a Russian socialite and gallery owner. She is the girlfriend of oligarch Roman Abramovich.”
    I think the 2nd sentence is her main occupation. This is racist porn, no excuses.
    Shamefully, Abramovich is one of several oligarchs living in England. To make it clear this disgusting display is not acceptable in the UK, whatever goes in Russia, we should kick him out. But we won’t because he’s brought his loot here.

  7. Pete

    When some friends of mine and I were travelling from Moscow to Leningrad we stepped from platform onto the Northbound overnight train. As we were sitting down I said to my buddy “I hope we got on the right side of the platform or else were going to be on a Midnight train to Georgia.

  8. Darren Smith

    … Bondage, Discipline, Domination & Submission …
    The old politics … the new politics … same old same old.

  9. I have to agree with James Knauer on the BDSM aspect of this. The strap on the thigh, the high black colored boots with long spiked heels are consistent with that type of fashion. One flavor of the BDSM definition is Bondage, Discipline, Domination & Submission. In that light in contrast between the mannequin and the woman it can be seen in that light and as such from an artistic point of view.

    Yet, there is certainly a culture shock aspect of this for us and most other places in the West who would see this as a humiliation to black people. The shock would be significantly less if the mannequin was white but yet sometimes this type of sensitivity is a different gradient in different parts of the world. The Swarte Piet tradition in The Netherlands causes greatly less shock to the Dutch than it does for Americans. There is racism in Russia yes so I have to look at this from their perspective on how they understand how significant and outrageous this might be perceived by others.

    I agree also the timing of the issue I don’t think was intentional to post this on MLK day. We wouldn’t know their holidays either.

  10. I’d like to get 4 of those chairs please in black, white, brown & yellow….

  11. First it’s not MLK day anywhere else outside the US. So they can’t intend to offend what they aren’t aware of.

    Second, when I saw the picture, what I saw an accusation towards a white supremacist culture that uses black people as mere means and not as ends.

    When I learned this picture was from Russia I thought it was an accusation of the growing racism in a country that, as the USSR, was at the forefront accusing colonial and apartheid regimes throughout the world (hypocrite of the USSR, surely. But for countries suffering the remnants of EU colonialism, the USSR was a needed ally).

    So let’s stop pretending everything out of Russia offends us.

  12. James,

    I think there are folks that are into water sports that might agree with you…. It’s not my cup of tea….but to each its own…. Between consenting adults…..

    Reminds me of high school when a teacher asked a student if England has a July 4th…. Of course the student fell for the trap and said no…. It was an insulting to the student then as it is now….

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