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Taking Issue With Black Swimsuit Calendar Coverage

October 23, 1994

Iam writing in response to the Oct. 10 article "Banking on a Recipe of Class and Cheesecake." I am shocked and angered at the opinion of the writer with regard to black women swimsuit models.

In writing about "The Darker Image" calendar, Howard Morehead's "Bronze Beauty Calendar" was mentioned as perennially popular, but the writer opined that it was "decidedly risque."

What is appalling is the implication that women who modeled for "Bronze Beauty" exemplified the stereotyped images of black women as "bitches and ho's" and that is why Bill Castello of Barnes & Noble "steered clear" of Morehead's calendar.

The many models in "Bronze Beauty" are college graduates and young professionals. It is appalling that this article tried to pit positive black calendars against one another and announce that only one was finally done right.

MONIQUE M. GONZAQUE

Los Angeles

Editor's note: Gonzaque is the October, 1995, model for the "Bronze Beauty Calendar."

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As a black photographer and producer of the "Bronze Beauty Calendar," I welcome another black calendar to the market and applaud photographer Ken Townsend for his efforts. I know how difficult it is to break down stereotypes. My objection was the imbalance of the article and the many errors.

The "Bronze Beauty Calendar," which has been on the market nine years, is the only calendar marketed internationally that glamorizes many beautiful ethnic women. If a thong bathing suit is risque, why not apply the same rules to the "Sports Illustrated Calendar" and the many other glamour calendars on the market?

While this is the first time a major book distributor has handled a black calendar, "Bronze Beauty" calendars have been in many bookstores not serviced by Barnes & Noble.

During Operation Desert Storm, the "Bronze Beauty Calendar" was the only swimsuit calendar to pass strict censorship from the Saudi Arabian government to be enjoyed by our servicemen there.

The 1993 and 1994 calendars won awards from the Calendar Marketing Assn. for Best Glamour Photography.

HOWARD MOREHEAD

Los Angeles

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Re "Banking on a Recipe of Class and Cheesecake," an apparent celebration of black women featured in a swimsuit calendar: I will forgo the argument that such photographs demean all women by reducing them to mere vehicles for male eroticism. Let us assume that the new calendar is, in fact, a tasteful portrayal of beautiful black women.

Where, if you don't mind me asking, are the black women? The article had two photos, one of Angelle Brooks, the other of Tracie Tyler, both of whom have light skin. Tyler appears to be as light as I am. I am white.

Perhaps dark-skinned women appear in the rest of Townsend's calendar. However, they were glaringly absent from The Times article. Were I a dark-skinned black woman, I would have been hurt and insulted by an endeavor that purported to celebrate my beauty, but rendered me yet again invisible.

LAURA DiTIRRO

Pacific Palisades

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