Kamala Harris’ Vogue cover sparks calls for further Black representation in the media

Ellie Abraham@ellieabraham
Monday 11 January 2021 10:54
news
(Vogue)

As Trump’s presidency comes to an end, vice-president-elect Kamala Harris will make history when sworn in as the first female vice-president, but also as the first mixed-race Black and Asian vice-president.

Her landmark appointment has been celebrated by many and, as a result, it’s hardly unsurprising that prominent magazines want to feature her.

But when the image for Vogue’s February edition with Harris as the cover star was leaked online, people were less than impressed with how she had been photographed.

In the image, Harris can be seen standing in front of a pink and green silk backdrop, styled in a black suit and wearing a pair of Converse trainers.

The wording on the cover reads: “Madam Vice President! Kamala Harris and the new America” as well as a smaller coverline, saying “By the people, for the people, the United States of Fashion.”

However, the cover quickly began to draw criticism for the way in which it depicted Harris, with some dubious about the styling choice while others even questioning if it was real.

However, it was later confirmed by journalist Yashar Ali that the cover was in fact real. Though, he added, it was not the cover that Harris’ team had expected.

The confirmation that the cover image was real led some to call out Vogue’s editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, who has previously come under scrutiny for racial insensitivity and for not doing enough to hire or promote Black and PoC staff.

One Twitter user wrote: “Anna Wintour needs to go. If the only time her team can properly style a black women is when she’s covered in couture then her tenure has ran it course.”

Many also noted how Vogue has a history of poor cover shots of Black women, famously including that of Olympic gold-medallist gymnast Simone Biles.

Some saw the cover as representative of the need to hire more Black photographers and creatives in the media.

It’s time Vogue started doing better.

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