I Respect Naomi Campbell

"Nobody had even considered the phrase 'blood diamond' until five years ago, because although we like to pretend we pay attention, our generation is more responsive to Kanye West sampling Shirley Bassey or Leonardo DiCaprio taking his top off and rolling around in the jungle"
Jeez, diamionds are this girl's worst enemy. It must be horrible and frightening to be caught up in a court case as dangerous and serious as this. I feel for Naomi Campbell and her concerns for her family's safety. Taylor stands accused of murder, torture, trading with illegal arms and blood diamonds, recruiting child soldiers and pushing sex slaves. No wonder Naomi is scared. This is a far cry from the warmth of Ralph Lauren campaigns.

As bitchy as the fashion industry may be, she is currently under the burning spotlight of press and international news organisations. She is being used as a prop by Charles Taylor's prosecutors to draw attention and publicity to the case. Of course she can't remember details from a dinner party decades ago - Naomi Campbell will have gone to these lavish star-studded galas almost every night of her life.

I can't even begin to imagine the huge pressure of these state dinners with world leaders, and always having to do the right thing, say the right thing, accept gifts from strange men, smile politely, thank people who you don't know or give a shit about. Naomi became one of the biggest supermodels of the 20th century in a short space of time, the first black woman on the cover of Vogue, she had colossal weight on her shoulders and big issues of her own throughout the 90s. Of course she has an ego, the world gave her one at a young age whether she liked it or not.
I also found Matthew Weavers Guardian courtroom report patronising and unfair against Naomi. Why should she be expected to know all the countries in Africa? He should go down the shops in London (where Naomi was discovered in the 80s) and try asking 100 shoppers if they've heard of Liberia, and if so, to point at Liberia on a map.

It does strike me as strange that she answered her hotel door in the night to shady characters. Maybe she did date Taylor, maybe she did sleep with Taylor? Power has allure. But I believe that if she did, she didn't know exactly who he was, who he'd become, or the extent of his political or alleged criminal activities. She was a model, at a party, who accepted some diamonds... this kind of thing happens all the time. Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, Twiggy, Julia Roberts ... I bet they've all been presented with jewellery from creepy admirers on state visits. If someone gives you a gift, you take it.
Nobody had even considered the phrase 'blood diamond' until five years ago, because although we like to pretend we pay attention, we're actually more responsive to Kanye West sampling Shirley Bassey or Leonardo DiCaprio taking his top off and rolling around in the jungle.

By the way, I can also deal with and accept the fact that Naomi Campbell has been enraged once or twice in the past and lost her temper - when luggage seemed to have been stolen from her at an airport, and when a pair of designer jeans had gone missing in the care of one of her staff. I'd be fucking pissed off if I lost a case, especially if I suspected paparazzi of intercepting it. Similarly, if Donna Karan sent me some £3000 jeans and my maid went and 'lost them' in the wash, I'd probably pick my cell phone up and chuck it too!

What happened to the days when finding diamonds was fun...

In this video below, Mr and Mrs Ramaboa, from Lesotha, discover the 7th largest diamond in the world, and are whisked around the bright lights and heights of New York. In traditional dress of coure.


This video is from the British Pathe film archive online. Does anyone know anything about this story? Like what happened to the diamond?
'I Respect Naomi Campbell' by Jack Cullen, on The Jack of Hearts blog, August 2010


  1. People are writing on Naomi's facebook page being like YOU KILLED 1000s OF INNOCENT PEOPLE. Fucking retards.

  2. not many people would testify against such a dangerous man.

  3. Well... i'm not sure respect is the right word. Sympathetic to be in such a emotionally charged and highly publicised courtcase, yes. But its not like she was making a stand for her convictions: she was subpoena'd and had to testify. I realise it's a lot of pressure but, if she did recieve an illegal diamond, then this does need to be illuminated: not to prosecute her who, as you pointed out was probably unaware at the time of the origin of such a jewel, but to ensure that others are educated.
    And for all the weight she has had to shoulder she is no stranger to questionable morals regarding the fashion industry. Aside from her 'temper' issues, let's not forget this is the woman who fronted a campaign lambasting the use of real fur in fashion and then two seasons later was seen walking it unashamadly down several catwalks - to great financial gain...

  4. Benjamin O'Brien5 August 2010 at 05:28

    Also, didn't she lie about receiving the diamonds, before much later coming out with some moronic statement to the effect of 'I didn't know what they were'?

  5. @Briony Very well put Briony, although I love the phrase "let's not forget this is the woman who". I'm so using that in future. I might add "LEST WE FORGET"

    @Ben Yes she did, she probably wasn't aware when she originally lied that Charles Taylor had done so many horrid things, and that her statement could prove whether he had or hadn't illegally exchanged weapons for blood diamonds

  6. @ jack haha... I originally had written Lest we forget, then thought I might have been getting a little melodramatic... its all this talk of court cases - Objection! Overruled!

  7. @Briony I think we should write a list of court phrases that we like, get some megaphones and then sail along the Thames barking them at people. Plan?

  8. jack - that is a brilliant idea - i'm on board! - and maybe we can incorporate a bit of punning also?!