We all know the story. A white Howard University student released a campaign entitled, #BlackWomenAreGorgeous and everyone loved it. We shared it, we praised it, and we put it on a pedestal.
This morning, that all changed.
Tweets written by Schiller were leaked to the internet, where he frequently threw the word n***** around (see more here). Students were no longer praising Russell. The campaign was deleted off of the Facebook pages of students who had shared it, un-retweeted from the Twitter platforms, and people quickly turned their backs on Schiller with no remorse.
But there are students who are still standing with Russell; Black women, in fact – his friends, his companions, his classmates; and they are claiming that the rest of the student body is wrong, and that Russell is a good person, and absolutely not a racist.
I’ve worked with Russell professionally and never felt that his interest in black life/culture was ever a cause for concern. His use of the n-word is disappointing but we must take context into consideration as the tweets were in no way malicious. People are trying to portray him as some kind of white supremacist which is obviously false. I love his campaign and think he did an excellent job showcasing the beauty on Howard’s campus.
Alisha Bruce, Howard University c/o 2018
Team Russell is not only unhappy about the war against them and the internet, but it makes them sad to see their friend tossed through a social media mud bath. Many feel that students, internet trolls, and outside news sources (such as Bet.com) are simply jumping to conclusions, especially because Schiller is white. Bruce goes on to say that Schiller has “already apologized, so people should really just let it go”.
As originally quoted by Ebony magazine, Schiller stated that, he “really love[s] Black women, [and that] they are the standard for beauty”. After seeing Russell’s tweets, however, many questioned his love for Black women, and Black people, and even stated that he simply has a fetish.
But the Black women who know and love Russell are stating otherwise.
“I find it confusing why people are so quick to talk about how white people are our “oppressors” but as soon as they do something that reflects us in a positive light it’s not well received”
Morinne Osborne, Howard University c/o 2018
Osborne went on to explain that she comes from a family with a long history of interracial couples, and never [has she] considered [her] aunts or uncles to have “fetishes”. “They are just expressing their preference of who they choose to love. Claiming that interracial relationships are nothing more than fetishes essentially dehumanizes people”, Osborne expressed. It “makes them seem like nothing more than play things, not someone who you profoundly love and care for”.