Latest: Why Kamala Harris’s Vogue Cover Has Sparked A Controversy
Kamala Harris will appear on the cover of Vogue’s February issue, but when the magazine tweeted photographs of the cover recently, they instantly sparked a controversy. Two images of the US vice president-elect were released by Vogue. One shows Kamala Harris, 56, wearing her trademark Converse sneakers, standing in front of a pink and green drape. The other shows her in a powder blue suit, her arms crossed in front of a gold background.
Vice President-elect @KamalaHarris is our February cover star!
Making history was the first step. Now Harris has an even more monumental task: to help heal a fractured America—and lead it out of crisis. Read the full profile: https://t.co/W5BQPTH7AUpic.twitter.com/OCFvVqTlOk
— Vogue Magazine (@voguemagazine) January 10, 2021
The photographs – especially the first one – faced backlash from social media users who accused Vogue of “whitewashing” and falling short of its normally high standard for photographs.
“What a mess up,” wrote New York Times contributor Wajahat Ali. “Anna Wintour must really not have Black friends and colleagues. I’ll shoot shots of VP Kamala Harris for free using my Samsung and I’m 100% confident it’ll turn out better than this Vogue cover.”
“Kamala Harris is about as light skinned as women of color come and Vogue still f****d up her lighting. WTF is this washed out mess of a cover?” another Twitter user asked.
“The pic itself isn’t terrible as a pic. It’s just far, far below the standards of Vogue. They didn’t put thought into it. Like homework finished the morning it’s due,” LGBTQ activist Charlotte Clymer tweeted.
The editing is also not up to par. I can’t speak to whether the skin lightening issue is from the shoot or post, but the HSL values were not properly adjusted for her skin tone during edits. Every photo editor at Vogue should know the basics of editing photos of people of color
— Eliza (@ghosts_hmu) January 10, 2021
Both the photographs were taken by 26-year-old photographer Tyler Mitchell.
A source familiar with the photo shoot told CBS News that the image of Kamala Harris in the blue suit was the one that both sides had agreed would appear on the cover. “Aides to Harris and Vogue had the understanding that the blue suit/gold background would be the cover photo. Without telling Harris’ team, Vogue changed it to the pink/green photo which the Vice President-elect’s team did not agree to,” the source said.
Another source said that pink drape image was supposed to have been used inside the magazine, and that Kamala Harris’s team was “blindsided” when the cover was released.
However, a source at Vogue denied this to the New York Post. “Both looks were selected by the VP-elect and her team,” the source said, adding that Ms Harris herself picked the green and pink background because those were the colours of her college sorority.
“Vogue selected the image for the print cover that we felt captured her personality and authenticity,” another source at Vogue said. “Obviously, we love both images and are celebrating both covers digitally.”
Kamala Harris’s niece, Meena Harris, also shared an excerpt from Vogue’s cover story on the vice president-elect on Instagram.
“I was thinking of my baby nieces, who will only know one world where a woman is vice president of the United States, a woman of color, a Black woman, a woman with parents who were born outside of the United States,” Kamala Harris told Vogue while speaking about the night she and Joe Biden gave their victory speeches.
Kamala Harris has scripted history as the first woman to become vice president of the United States. She will be the first Black woman and the first woman of Indian heritage to occupy the office.
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