Le Bazhaar


Lupita Nyong’o, Rihanna, Beyonce, Tracee E. Ross on
this September covers (image from Fashion Sizzle)

I apologize in advance because I feel I’m about to enter the zone of the eternal debate about lack of diversity especially in fashion and entertainment industries but unless you have been hidden under a rock or completely out of the loop regarding fashion and what’s trending, you are probably aware of all the fuss around these year’s September covers.

It has been everywhere like « Wow all those mainstream magazines covers featuring women of colour on their most important issue ! » because yes, for those of you who don’t know why is the September issue such a big deal, EVERY fashion brand, and therefore big advertisers want to be in it. To make it short, this issue unveils everything you must know and wear for the next season. So yes of course I love to see all these gorgeous famous ladies that I admire grace well known glossy titles*, but I can’t help thinking that it feels like a trend, and a trend is ephemeral right ? Because let me tell you, in a couple of months we will be back to the good old-fashioned circuit where only afro oriented magazines like Essence for instance will feature black women, and this is just the North American territory, don’t even get me started on the European one, especially France which is by far THE worst in terms of diversity.

Some game changers like Edward Enninful (mostly known for his contributing fashion editor position at Vogue US) lately named Editor In Chief of Vogue UK, are shaking things around. Since his appointment he has put model Adwoa Aboah, Oprah Winfrey and Rihanna on the cover of the prestigious British magazine, but again, Mr Enninful is African, precisely from Ghana, would have been the same thing with a white editor ?? All I want to say is it’s nice to celebrate black people but wouldn’t it be nicer to celebrate once for a full year of mature markets (US, Europe) issues we suddenly realize « Hey, we actually noticed that this year 50% of the worldwide fashion magazines had women or men of colour on their cover ». This would be a reason to talk about it but I guess you must start somewhere…

As a black African woman myself I can attest that we are not ephemeral, we have always been around but ignored,until recently with the advent of powerful female artists (Beyonce, Rihanna, Nicky Minaj) who managed to seduce a worldwide global audience, when we should have been a norm among others, not an exception. I read mostly Vogue (US) or ELLE (French edition) but most of the time I’m not represented, and if time to time I do, it’s always THE exception. I have never seen enthusiastic articles in the press because of blond models or actresses being on the cover of five different magazines for the same issue. What about, other minorities, Asian, Indians ? We are facing the same issue over and over again. Anyway, that being said we will see what the magazines have in store for us for the rest of the year, hopefully fashion is entering a new journey of opened mindedness.

*Vogue US, Vogue UK, Porter Magazine, Elle Canada, Glamour US, ELLE Canada, Shape, Marie Claire US