Monday, 28 October 2013

Social Media Shaming and the City - The 'Disco Africa' Hallowood Party

Disco Africa Hallowood Party

In an age where we document and share every second of our day via social media for public validation, we are essentially playing a game of Russian roulette. People are quick to draw conclusions from an instagram, tweet, or like on a Facebook photo. The benefits of social media from a PR point of view are astounding, but with it comes a dark side as well.

Disco Africa Hallowood Party

Social media shaming is nothing new and it evolves with the mediums we use daily to share our lives with people. This past weekend, as I'm sure everyone is now aware, was the #DiscoAfrica party in Milan and most of my friends and I were lucky enough to find ourselves on that much coveted guestlist.

Disco Africa Hallowood PartyDisco Africa Hallowood Party

The annual Hallowood party thrown by photographer Giampaolo Sgura, Hercules Editor Miguel Arnau and Art Director Marco Braga is the best private party of the year, with all the colorful personalities of Milan and beyond in attendance. The theme every year borders on the scandalous and opens itself up to various interpretations ranging up and down the scale of good taste.

This year, the blackface was in bad taste, the slaves in chains were in bad taste, and also the minstrel act led by a certain designer.  But the thing one has to keep in mind is context. Yes it's no big secret that there is a huge problem with racism in Italy, I've been a victim of it numerous times.  Here in Italy or specifically the bubble of Milan, people aren't exposed to other cultures as much as they are in say, America.  The validation to think dressing as a black woman for a Halloween party comes largely from a lack of education about what is considered politically correct and incorrect outside the bubble. 

This is not to make a blanket excuse because most of these people are highly educated individuals that travel the world on a more than often frequency.  Both Stefano Gabbana and Anna Dello Russo kept it classy, and yet people are bombarding them with accusations ill intention - just for attending.

Disco Africa Hallowood Party

My instagram has seen a steady stream of people telling me what a sellout I am for going to a party where everyone was "mocking" me as well as trivializing history.  I'm just as bad as everyone else, and those are just the "nice" comments.  I can't speak for what people may think in their mind but as far as I know most of the persons in attendance at Hallowood do not have a racist bone in their body.

Disco Africa Hallowood Party Disco Africa Hallowood Party

I have known many of these people for a few years, and have had dinners, sleepovers, and vacations with them.  Yes, occasionally I have to educate them during lapses of common sense, but at the end of the day most of them are good people and maybe now their eyes are opening to how the world perceives their actions. Hallowood Disco Africa was a beautiful party and I had fun. The end.

Words by Louis Pisano
Photos by Zhanna Romashka

1 comment :

  1. Hi, bravo to you for responding to your social media critics. What was most disturbing is that many attendees including that lawyer bloke you were duelling it out with over IG, kept blindly defending their actions calling them ironic and funny instead googling what a blackface is, reading, learning and being educated to not do this again and definitely not defend it. Sure this is Italy and American history isn't top billing on school curriculums here but it's a global world in 2013, and really with the internet there is no excuse. I think the fact that Elle and the Huffington Post wrote about this party and some of the designers in question immediately took down their images means that they now understand. I love my Bad Belle No. 21 bag but now ever time I look at it I think of Alessandro Dell'Acqua's costume.


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