Black Actors Finally Appear on Cover of Vanity Fair's Hollywood Issue


Can we get all the-times-they-are-a-changin’ for a minute? Vanity Fair‘s 20th annual Hollywood Issue has a three-panel gatefold cover, as usual, but this year, there are actual black people on the first third, i.e. the part you see on the newsstand. Progress!

In 2010, Vanity Fair had a “Young Hollywood” cover that featured only white actresses. In 2011, the “Hollywood Issue” featured two people of color — Anthony Mackie and Rashida Jones — but they were on the right two-thirds of image. The part that’s folded up when you see the magazine.

It was the same story in 2013 and in 2012. In fact, in 2012, we detailed the magazine’s long history of pushing people of color off to the side and off of the main cover — it happened in 2008, 2005, 2004, 2002, 1997, 1996 and 1995.

But the main cover for 2014 (photographed, as usual, by Annie Leibovitz) features 12 Years A Slave star Chiwetel Ejiofor and Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom star Idris Elba alongside Julia Roberts and George Clooney. Black faces next to white faces on the same issue, on the newsstand. Integration!

Other actors of color included in the entire image: Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station), Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years A Slave) , Naomie Harris (Mandela) and Chadwick Boseman (42). Everyone looks spectacular, although a little stiff (and George Clooney’s head looks pasted onto his body). It’s fantastic. Hopefully newsstand sales will prove robust enough that the editors can’t complain about the financial risk associated with featuring people of color. If there’s any quibble to made, it’s that Lupita Nyong’o didn’t make it onto the left-hand side — she’s become the fashion darling of awards season, and surely highlighting her would have resulted in plenty of attention and fan-girling. No matter, she’s got a bright future ahead of her and someday might get a cover all her own, Kerry Washington-style.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin