For The First Time in 126 Years, Vogue Has A Black Photographer

And it wasn’t on their own merit.

It was recently announced that Vogue, one of the most prestigious fashion magazines, handed Beyonce all creative direction and input on their shoot. I know you may be thinking that it’s just Beyonce and we see her on magazine covers often the time, but what makes this specific issue so vile is that Queen Bee hired a black photographer.

According to The Daily Beast, the photographer is 23-year-old Tyler Mitchell. Reports also read that Vogue is accustomed to

For years, Vogue has been under the creative direction of Anna Wintour, whom will put out her last issue of Vogue this September. Vogue has been around for years, so the question looms: why did it take them 126 years to hire a black photographer, and it technically wasn’t their choice. For the specific shoot, Beyonce acquired all creative direction and captioning, with not a peep from Wintour.

vogue-beyonce
Tyler Mitchell | Photo: Vogue

As a journalist and writer, Vogue was always one of the top magazines on my list that I wanted to write for. Back in 2012, Vogue was ranked the number one in-fashion magazine and it’s reputation has yet to disappoint. With standards like these, anyone vying for a career in the industry, whether it be journalism, fashion or entertainment, would want to apply for Vogue. 

However, I had to re-evaluate Vogue in terms of diversity. Vogue has not had a person of color as the cover since 2002, which trademarks 16 years of Causcasian models and covers. Also, in late 2017, British Vogue hired their first black editor, Edward Enninful, which made waves for the remainder of that year.

“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,” CNN reports. “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 a woman of color, I advocate to see more diversity in the industry. Models such as Winnie Harlow and Amy Deanna have paraded the industry, opening new doors and fighting stereotypes against black women and those who suffer from vitiligo. Ebony Magazine is now in it’s 71st year of producing publication, and reaches almost 11 million readers. Essence also announced a new collaboration with Queen Latifah and Richelieu Dennis to support black creatives. Not to mention, black women have been stamping their presence on social media, reminding everyone that we are not just for your ad purposes or to be your token black girl, but we are here to stay.

Bottom line: Black creatives and black women are amazing on their own, and it should not have taken Beyonce to be a reason for Vogue to hire a black photographer.

Read Beyonce’s September Vogue issue now.

Feature Photo: Vox

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