On Thursday, not long after Anna Wintour blogged about her support of Joe Biden, Condé Nast’s global content adviser/chief creative officer and editor-in-chief of Vogue/God of brands sent a note to her staff apologizing for not doing enough to “elevate and give space to Black editors, writers, photographers, designers and other creators.” That’s strange, because isn’t she the person with the most direct power to make those changes? And hasn’t this issue been brought up countless times over the last few decades instead of just, say, last week?
Here’s an excerpt from the email, as obtained by Page Six:
“I want to start by acknowledging your feelings and expressing my empathy towards what so many of you are going through: sadness, hurt, and anger too...
I want to say this especially to the Black members of our team—I can only imagine what these days have been like. But I also know that the hurt, and violence, and injustice we’re seeing and talking about have been around for a long time. Recognizing it and doing something about it is overdue.”
She continued, claiming to take “full responsibility” for “publishing images or stories that have been hurtful or intolerant.”:
I want to say plainly that I know Vogue has not found enough ways to elevate and give space to Black editors, writers, photographers, designers and other creators. We have made mistakes too, publishing images or stories that have been hurtful or intolerant. I take full responsibility for those mistakes.
It can’t be easy to be a Black employee at Vogue, and there are too few of you. I know that it is not enough to say we will do better, but we will — and please know that I value your voices and responses as we move forward. I am listening and would like to hear your feedback and your advice if you would like to share either.
I am proud of the content we have published on our site over these past few days but I also know that there is much more work to do. Please don’t hesitate to be in touch with me directly. I am arranging ways we can discuss these issues together candidly, but in the meantime, I welcome your thoughts or reactions.”
I hope this means she will finally begin to interrogate how Vogue is a place where “it can’t be easy to be a Black employee,” and her responsibility in that. As her former coworker André Leon Talley wrote in his recent memoir The Chiffon Trenches, “From a humanitarian perspective, she left me with psychological scars. I was often left blowing in the wind without any explanation, which I think perhaps she should have given me.”