Reigning Black Girl Magic, In September!
September for the Fashion industry is huge, it’s the beginning of a new season. It's that time of the year when fashion mags publish their biggest, fattest, hottest issue. And for many fashionistas this is where you get a glimpse of the new fall/winter collections and spot upcoming trends. September issues are filled with lots of chic and glitzy photo spreads and more ads than usual, at $200,000 for a full page ad in Vogue alone, these ads don't come cheap, the September book is indeed a hot commodity.
Now to sell these books filled with lots of expensive fancy ads, in an industry where you absolutely judge a book by its cover, you need a stunningly beautiful front page, obviously. And being lucky enough to land that gig as the cover model for any September Issue ain’t easy, and can be a serious cat fight. The process of choosing a supermodel or superceleb to grace the cover is highly selective and planning for this begins at least 6 to 9 months in advance. So what's extra special about this month, this year?
The fashion industry has always been lacking in terms of diversity, it is a history first, because never before have a tribe of Black Girls grace so many covers in any one month, and especially not the September issue. No secret to me, I understand that Black Girl Magic sells fashion, beauty, books, magazines, movies and more. However, for the colored girl community, this is significant. To see these gorgeous women that I can totally identify with, gracing the covers of these magazines in a never before roll-out, is like Black History Month and Christmas all rolled into one proud September.
Donyale Luna made history in 1965 as the 1st Black woman on the cover of Harper's Bazaar and in 1966 she made the cover of British Vogue. US Vogue, although founded in 1892, did not put its 1st black model on the cover, the beautiful Beverly Johnson, until 1974. Fast forward 53 years from Donyale’s legacy until today and here we are, still grinding, slowly.
Beyonce changed history this month when she was given full creative control of her Vogue September cover. Do note this is not easy and is unprecedented, as a model you show up on time, pose and look pretty, you have no direction over what happens before, during or after the shoot. Queen Bey using her creative control selected 23 year old rising star Tyler Mitchell, a black photographer out of the ATL, who also holds a BFA in film and television from New York University. How is it that for the first time ever in Vogue's 126 year history, with at least 12 publications a year, that a black photographer has never shot the cover for September, or any other month, but now that’s also history.
Global Pop Superstar, Bad Girl, Rihanna, looks gorgeous featured on the cover of British Vogue wearing Prada, a facial bouquet and pencil thin eyebrows, exuding real Hollywood Glam with a little punk twist.
It is also the first September issue for Ghanaian born, Edward Enninful, as the first black male editor-in-chief for British Vogue. Almost a year earlier, for his first cover issue with the mag, December 2017, he choose supermodel Adwoa Aboah to grace the cover, which also featured supermodels, Naomi Campbell and Jourdan Dunn, novelist, Zadie Smith, actress, Letitia Wright and rap artist, Skepta.
Speaking of 46 year old Enninful, he entered the fashion industry at age 16, as a model but at the age of 18 he became the youngest fashion director for the international fashion, art and music magazine, i-D.
Enninful previously, also worked for Vogue Italia and while a new contributing editor there, he was the driving force behind the magazines’s Black Issue. This August 2008 issue was an all black editorial, the entire book consisted solely of black models. a very big deal. This issue, was a super hit and in super demand. The Black Issue became Vogue Italia’s top-selling issue of all time and went to reprint, not one, not two, not three, but four times, printing an extra 40,000 copies. I would kill today to own a copy of this issue, which currently sells on eBay for $2,500.
Adwoa Aboah, model, activist, founder of nonprofit, Gurls Talk, who at times battled suicidal tendencies and drug addition was recently named "Model of the Year," by the British Fashion Council. Adwoa Aboah, graces the cover of Love Magazine, face to face with Naomi Campbell. This uniquely beautiful woman born to a Ghanian dad and British mom, as a teen, was so sadly insecure that for 2 years she covered her head ashamed of her natural hair texture and reddish color. Today Adwoa is not only celebrated but empowering herself and other young girls and adults. Adwoa, not only rules the cat walk she opens major runway shows, and is currently the face for Revlon’s beauty campaign. You Go Gurl!
Nikki Minaj on the cover of Vogue Arabia looks very sleek on fleek. With more than 90 million IG followers and after four years she recently dropped Queen, her fourth album and after a few hours afterwards she hit number one in more than 85 countries, including Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
The face of Fenty Beauty, none other than 22 year old crafty Instagirl social media model and very pregnant Slick Woods is on the cover of British Elle.
Yes, it:s Naomi again, not only is she on the cover for Love Magazine, but also Naomi the supermodelBOMB.COM is on the cover of Essence and French Vogue. Naomi Campbell for the cover of Essence is wearing Cushnie et Ochs, a rare major fashion brand where Carly Cushnie, a black woman is the creative director and CEO. For the inside spread she is wearing Harlem Street Fashion King Dapper Dan x Gucci. This runway veteran was also the 1st black model to grace the cover of French Vogue, Russian Vogue and Time Magazine.
Other black Cover Stars this month include Issa Rae for the cover of Ebony, Lauren Harrier for The Sunday Times, Tracee Ellis Ross for Elle Canada, Lupita Nyong’o on Porter, Tiffany Haddish on Glamour, Zendaya on Marie Claire, Not fashion mags, but okay, still showing black girls some love, Playboy magazine features Teyana Taylor and Aja Naomi King for Shape magazine.
What I like to know is where do we go from here, we will see more people of color behind the making of these publications and more black representation in the fashion industry as a whole?
Peace, Love & Happiness! Maria