Beyonce has announced she is working on, or should say taking control of a Vogue Issue. I assume it is for the prestigious September publication. Can Queen B sell magazines for an industry in decline? The probable answer is “Yes!” What is different about this particular project? She will have complete control of the production given to her by Fashion Editor Matrix Anna Wintour, all pictures will be chosen by Beyonce as well as captions. This is unprecedented for the fashion bible. The biggest news of this story is her choice of photographer, 23 year old Tyler Mitchell, the first person of color to shoot the cover for the 126 year old publication.Fashion is an affinity business that lacks different visions or voices but borrows heavily from the very groups it excludes.
The entertainer extraordinaire often makes social statements through music, videos, costumes, and showmanship. She used her influence to give a person a chance. Normally, this is like a snowball in Summer Florida. Now the world’s most famous singer has kicked the door open for him. I could not be happier, unless there is a 50% off sale on a Loewe mens shoulder bag. A barrier has been broken down. In the fashion world there are very few photographers of color given prestigious assignments or contracts.
I know “The Jackie Robinson Syndrome” all too well. Being the first person of color many people have met in professional settings, examined up and down like a Martian. Fortunately, I never allowed others expectations to define my identity or decisions, making up my mind at an early age to produce my own opportunities. I have been made to feel like a fish out of water. Asked about qualifications, experience, background, questioned at the door of events, the list goes on but I kept going. My worst episode; dealing with a PR team from a certain American Designer during a presentation at fashion week, but that is a story for another day.
This is 2018
Why in 2018 is this the first time a person of color has shoot a fashion magazine cover? Has Elle or Harpers Bazaar ever a cover shot by a black person? Not sure! I know the excuses; “We cannot find one”. “There are none qualified.” “When the right project comes up we’ll consider it.” “Yes!” Call me cynical! “Been there, heard them all!” As the head of a small site, I have worked with Black Photographers and female photographers, all very professional and skilled. If I can find them I am not sure why the fashion industry could not these with all of its resources. My suggestion, try a little harder., go out of the comfort zone, look beyond SoHo House.
Thank you Beyonce for going beyond the usual, not accepting the norm, using your fame to inspire. Tyler take the ball and run with it.
It’s a bit of a travel for me to buy Vogue. No worries! There is a Champagne bar near the magazine stand.