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?
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.