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How Fitching! The Fetishisation of White Beauty and the Erosion of the Black Face – Episode 75

After semi-bingeing on Netflix documentaries set in the USA, Dara has some chewy meat to digest in the areas of race, beauty, identity, representation, status and opportunity.

The retail clothing companies Abercrombie & Fitch and And1 promoted expressions of whiteness and blackness respectively in their bids to dominate their chosen markets. They each enjoyed enormous success before pushback, politics and hubris sent their shares plummeting. Two Netflix documentaries look closely, but not closely enough in Dara’s opinion, at the rise and fall of these two very successful brands and what they represented to the owners and consumers alike.

A third Netflix show turns the camera on a brilliant young basketball team and their collective effort to become state champions under the leadership of an inspirational coach. Dara found the arc of Last Chance U: Basketball moving and thought-provoking in its depiction of black talent and aspiration struggling to overcome poverty and generational disadvantage.

The connective tissue of the stories relayed in these shows is how blackness and whiteness can be exploited in different ways in service of capitalism and the bottom line. It has so much to do with race and identity, but do CEOs and business people really care about such things when all they want to do is turn a profit and walk away with a huge payout?

SFGate.com article (Sep 2022) discussing Netflix And1 documentary: https://www.sfgate.com/streaming/article/netflix-untold-and1-documentary-17413889.php

BusinessInsider.com article (Aug 2022) discussing Netflix Abercrombie & Fitch documentary: https://www.businessinsider.com/abercrombie-and-fitch-rise-and-fall-lawsuits-controversy-comeback-2022-8?r=US&IR=T

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