vanity fair no people of color racism

It’s a Vanity Fair magazine tale as old as time. All year long the men and women of Hollywood, many of them people of color, work hard to produce award worthy projects. Then Vanity Fair comes along to choose the cream of the crop for their annual Hollywood Issue. The list reads like a very well-known ‘who’s who,’ featuring the likes of Halle Berry, Ben Affleck and more, yet when it comes to the cover it seems only the cream of a certain color make the cut.

They try to appease the darker half with a spot on the cover’s gatefold (the part that folds into the magazine), but we all know that being seen on the actual cover, the one that will be seen on newsstands across the globe, is the only section that carries real weight. So once again, Vanity Fair dims the light that is Hollywood’s colored actors and actresses for another year and we are left to wonder, again … what the hell is the deal?

Since this isn’t the first time this has happened you would think that when Vanity Fair released the cover for its 19th annual Hollywood Issue, a circus-themed portfolio called “Bruce Weber’s Adventures in Hollywood,” we wouldn’t be left with a bad taste in our mouths. But alas, when the magazine revealed Ben Affleck, Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone as the cover stars, with youngest-ever best-actress nominee Quvenzhané Wallis and Kerry Washington regulated to the cover’s gatefold wasteland, that taste was as fresh and rank as ever.

But should we care?

vanity fair cover 2013

Clearly Vanity Fair sees nothing wrong with how they present the “best” of Hollywood to the world and I guess we can and should be proud that Vanity Fair chose to recognize the talent of people of color at all considering that there are so many media outlets that would rather pretend our talents don’t exist.

But still, it’s upsetting that the magazine makes an obviously conscious decision to keep people of color off the cover. The first time might have been an oversight, second and third, a mistake, but by the time you hit nineteen it is clearly a planned decision. Every year we get up in arms about the lack of melanin on the cover and every year we are ignored, so with the release of this latest issue one has to ask themselves if it’s worth fighting about anymore.

Vanity Fair is only one magazine; for every rebuff, there are several others out there who have no problems with putting Kerry Washington on the cover, front, center and in all her Scandalous glory. Perhaps if Vanity Fair doesn’t want to fully support talented people of color, maybe we should stop supporting them. Stop buying their issues and talking about their features. Starting with the end of this piece right here, and starting right now.

64 Comments

  1. Besides the lack of diversity on the cover…the cover itself is just terrible. Are they in bed? But dressed up? It’s just awkward. Emma Stone looks pissed, Ben Affleck looks bored and Bradley Cooper is the only one who looks excited. I can’t believe that was the best picture they took….

    The other pictures that didn’t make the cover are so stunning! Plus, Kerry Washington had a way more standout year than Emma Stone. Vanity Fair definitely got it wrong…again.

    • mikey kun

      you’re right normally they do a group pic with all the stars together, this looks like a bad scrap book

    • Ricika

      The whole cover is actually a mess. The Ben Affleck, etc. part doesn’t look like it goes with the scrapbook part. I would have actually liked the scrapbook look if it was consistent across the whole cover. It’s really weird to have all the Black people (and that guy in the top hat) in those pictures that look like a pieced together afterthought, and behind the fold to boot. It’s like some weird Jim Crow cover.

  2. ASK_ME

    Nope, I don’t care. I highly doubt the masses of black people in this country read Vanity Fair…there is nothing to fight about here. Side note: I always thought Ben Affleck was cute.

    • Thisjustin

      1. You mean people of color? You know, not just “black people.
      2.Your assumption is an ignorant generalization (kinda racisty aftertaste).
      3. You don’t know how many people of color read it, nor how many more would if there were an equitable dipiction/ reflection

      <3 ya anyhow!

  3. mikey kun

    Sigh, I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel. I mean on one end Vanity Fair has shown time and time again it’s not a magazine for people of color. Plus I don’t read it so everytime this annual hollywood issue comes out and I don’t see anyone black on the MAIN main cover I’m just go “eh”.

    But then there’s the other end, where I would be so happy to see a person (perfer a black woman) on the annual hollywood issue Main main cover. There’s Kerry, Viola, Quvenzhané, Octivia, Zoe Kravis to name a few.

    It’s rare we see a Black actress on the cover of a white magazine unless they are Halle, and it’s getting on my nerves but I have a feeling it’s just going to go on so I will to.

  4. Alaina L Lewis

    And they tired butts KNOW lil Quvenzhané Wallis should be sitting in Emma Stone’s spot. FOR REAL!

    • Alaina L Lewis

      OR Kerry Washington. ANYONE but Emma Stone!

    • Apple Pie

      Let Essence or Vibe put her on their cover. Why Vanity Fair put a little black girl in place of their own?? Emma Stone is White, and the makers of Vanity Fair are as well. They don’t owe Queshawnshawn nothing.

  5. Are white people complaining they aren’t on the cover of Essence or Jet? I doubt it. Not that there *should* be segregated publications, but thats pretty much the case. I used to, years ago be subscribed to InStyle, Glamour & the like until I realized, these people clearly aren’t marketing towards me, so why support them? If Vanity Fair has proven they couldn’t care less, why should we? We’re worrying about magazine that doesn’t represent us, instead of the ones that do.

    • Many have complained. Vanity Fair has been taken to task for leaving out POC in this issue for years.

    • SayWhat

      I’m possed, but not surprised. The best quote I read was to the effect of ‘go where you are celebrated, not tolerated’. That is what black people have to start/continue doing.

    • @J. Nicole

      Exactly! There were comments on here not too long ago with black women asking “who still even reads Essence, Ebony and Jet?” I do, and I know plenty of other black women that do as well because that’s where we’re represented. Not to say you can’t read other publications, but I will not throw the black ones under the bus because we are underrepresented elsewhere.

      I’m not going to find an article about a black doctor who is researching an aggressive breast cancer in West Africa that mostly affects black women (worldwide) in ANY other popular women’s magazine. You will however find 50 million articles spread across Marie Claire, Allure, Vanity Fair etc about Melanoma which mostly affects white women. Sometimes we just need our own ish!

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