Let’s get into this Black Girl Magic real quick.
Black women grace the September 2018 covers of over a dozen major magazines in the U.S., Canada and Britain, in their all-important fall fashion issues, which is a record, fashion industry observers say.
This is historically significant because it dispels the myth that Black women should not be the face of media. “There was a time as recently as the ’90s when the unconventional wisdom was that African-American women didn’t sell on covers,” Charles F. Whitaker, acting dean of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, told the Chicago Sun-Times.
“But Beyonce and Rihanna, in particular, and Lupita Nyong’o, have just obliterated that notion,” says Whitaker, who was a longtime writer and exec at Johnson Publishing Company. “You put them on the covers and your newsstand sales do very well. So I think it’s a moment, right? A time when we are finally recognizing and acknowledging that Black women are amazing trendsetters; that they are arbiters of taste not just for Black women, but internationally. This flurry of covers is indication that magazines have finally come around to that; come around in a big way.”
Iconic magazines like Ebony and Essence have always provided that inclusiveness, and for too long were the only outlets where we could see ourselves reflected on newsstands. They continue to do so in September. New “it” girl, actress/writer Issa Rae, owns the cover of Ebony; model Naomi Campbell, this time by herself, graces Essence; and Oprah, as always, owns the cover of her O, The Oprah Magazine.
Representation is a big deal. Black girls worldwide will be able to see themselves as they flip through the pages of magazines on newsstands everywhere. Here are Black female superstars gracing covers this month.
Beyonce and Rihanna simultaneously blessing both Vogue US and Vogue UK covers is major. Vogue is serving all this Black girl magic and it’s magical, indeed!
In her Vogue US issue, Queen Bey had a lot to say. “If people in powerful positions continue to hire and cast only people who look like them, sound like them, come from the same neighborhoods they grew up in, they will never have a greater understanding of experiences different from their own. They will hire the same models, curate the same art, cast the same actors over and over again, and we will all lose,” Bey writes.
“As the mother of two girls, it’s important to me that they see themselves too — in books, films, and on runways. It’s important to me that they see themselves as CEOs, as bosses, and that they know they can write the script for their own lives.
“When I first started, 21 years ago, I was told that it was hard for me to get onto covers of magazines because Black people did not sell,” Beyonce told writer Clover Hope. “Clearly that has been proven a myth. Not only is an African-American on the cover of the most important month for Vogue, this is the first ever Vogue cover shot by an African-American photographer.”
As we pass the anniversary of the violent Aug. 12, 2017, rally by White nationalists, neo-Nazis and alt-right supporters in Charlottesville, it’s clear that we as a nation still have far to go before diversity and inclusiveness are truly valued. But I’ll take this beautiful, multi-hued and multi-textured wave of #BlackGirlMagic as an inspiring step in the journey.
What a time to be alive.
By Sullivan Anderson, Junior, Jones College Prep