English model Jourdan Dunn has revealed that her young son Riley once urged her not to go to America because he feared she would be killed in the country because she is black.
Jourdan Dunn’s son urged her not to go to America because he feared she’d be killed because she’s black.
The 30-year-old English model admitted it is “upsetting” that she has to have such frank conversations about race with 11-year-old Riley because it isn’t a subject that white parents have to tackle with their kids.
She said: “It’s hard for him. They talk about things at school and he hears things on the radio, so he’s very aware of what’s going on in the world, but he doesn’t quite understand it. He’s, like, ‘But why is this happening to black people?
“One time, when he was about seven, he was, like, ‘Mummy, I don’t want you to go to America any more. They just kill black people. It’s not safe for you.’
“I thought, ‘Oh, wow.’ It’s upsetting that we need to have these conversations when someone who is not black or brown doesn’t need to have them.”
In the summer, Jourdan shared an open letter which she’d written to Riley on the subject, and she was initially unsure whether he’d understand the outpouring of her thoughts.
But when she did, they shared a “nice” emotional moment together.
In an interview with The Times Weekend magazine, she said: “I was thinking, ‘Do I read it to Riley now? Is he going to understand it?’ In the end, a couple of days before it was published, I read it to him at dinner. He got really teary-eyed and just came around the table and gave me a big hug and said, ‘Thank you,’ and, ‘I appreciate you.’ He got emotional and I got emotional — it was really nice. He’s a smart kid and he got the gist of it.”
Jourdan thinks the fashion industry is getting “better” at becoming more diverse, but still feels there’s a lot of work to do.
She said: “With social media you can speak about things, so there’s more awareness.
“ I am seeing a lot more black faces and brown faces on sets; not just models, but people doing all the other jobs, which is very important. Like, last month I worked with three black photographers back to back — that’s unheard of. So things are definitely getting better. But I’ve been saying for the past 10 years there’s a lot more to be done.”
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