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The Sapphires US DVD Cover Disrespects Black Stars

The Sapphires US DVD Cover Relegates Black Female Stars to Background

The Sapphires is an award-winning Australian film about four Aboriginal women who struggled against — and overcame — rampant sexism and racism in the 1960s and 70s in order to form a soul quartet. It's now being released in the United States, which is great, but its shitty new DVD cover has incited ire and criticism.

For some reason (i.e., the same systemic forces of sexism and racism that provide the central conflict of the film), The Sapphires's American cover imagery has the actresses who portray the Sapphires blurred into a pale blue background, while Chris O'Dowd — who plays their White manager — is foregrounded in full color. Perhaps even more insultingly, O'Dowd's name is the only one to appear on the U.S. DVD cover.

In the Australian cover, the actresses playing the quartet — Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens, and Miranda Tapsell — are featured prominently; Chris O'Dowd is smiling behind them. The difference between the two cover images is striking; in the American version, the women appear to be O'Dowd's backup singers.

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