In its 102 year history, British Vogue has not had a single black woman on its September issue cover. This gloriously gut-wrenching record will be broken in September because the new editor-in-chief of the magazine Edward Enninful, has chosen Rihanna for the honor of gracing the cover of their September issue— which he calls their “largest and most lavish of the year.”
In his editor’s letter, Enninful says “I always knew it had to be Rihanna.” Edward—congratulations, but also, no shit?
While it is thrilling to see Rihanna and Beyoncé pave the way for many others to come, it’s still frustrating that it took this long for black women to be featured more, and black artists to be a part of the creative process. To think that women like Diana Ross, Halle Berry, or Sade didn’t even cross the minds of prior EICs seems almost impossible, but serves as a reminder of the reality of erasure in fashion and creative fields that people of color face.
The good news is that we can expect a vibrant and exquisite set of images from this feature.“No matter how haute the styling goes, or experimental the mood, you never lose her in the imagery,” says Enninful. “She is always Rihanna. There’s a lesson for us all in that.” And there’s a lesson for Vogue in all of this, as well: Hire more people of color.