The month of September is a big month for fashion magazines. And black women are gracing the covers of seven fashion magazines and one entertainment magazine. As much as I complain about black women always getting slighted/demeaned by the media it’s a refreshing change to see these black women on the various magazine covers.
There are seven black women gracing fall magazine covers: Willow Smith, Beyoncé, Kerry Washington, Ciara, Serena Williams, Misty Copeland and Amandla Stenberg. I had to utter their names, because the weight of them all together gives me goosebumps. The editors at Vogue, Shape, Self, New York Magazine, Essence, i-D and Dazed did not plan this coincidence, making it organic and, therefore, all the more exciting.
I’m proud of my fellow black women getting the covers of the most important month of the year, because this is something that everyone needs to see. I am more than well-versed in the grandeur of our different shades of brown, the grace in our cadences, the ferocity in our words. I am of this community, and I’ve seen these layers my entire life, and I’ve lived them. Hopefully now black women’s greatness will get wider recognition.
Kerry Washington covers the September 2015 issue of Self Magazine.
Kerry Washington wakes up early. I learn this when her publicist emails to ask if I’d like to do pilates with the actress at 6:30 a.m. before we sit down for our interview. A cursory Google search of Washington suggests I’m in trouble: This is, after all, a woman who moved to India after college and became certified as a yoga instructor. But my fear of pilates-induced humiliation is outweighed by my desire to watch Olivia Pope work out.
Washington, 38, arrives in sweats, with no makeup and no entourage, looking infinitely more relaxed than the character she plays on television. She’s a new mother with a hit show, but her face betrays none of the stress that must entail. Instead, her skin glows, her smile is bright, her eyes somehow managing to convey warmth, strength and vulnerability all at once.
Amandla Stenberg covers the Autumn 2015 issue of Dazed Magazine.
After igniting fierce debate with her pop-culture polemic, The Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg has emerged as one of the most incendiary voices of her generation – but she insists that her fight has only just begun.
This spring, an LA teenager’s school project ignited the internet. A charm offensive titled “Don’t Cash Crop My Cornrows”, the five-minute video deftly unpacked the thorny issue of cultural appropriation with a nuance that few would be able to nail. Raising an eyebrow at culprits like Iggy Azalea and Katy Perry treating black culture as a pick’n’mix stand at the multiplex, the clip, uploaded by 16-year-old Amandla Stenberg, announced a whip-smart new voice that was not to be fucked with.
Three years after she shot to global prominence as Rue in The Hunger Games (2012), the actress is leading a wave of young, hyper-informed trendsetters with a fresh and fearless take on today’s defining issues. Last month, she echoed the sentiments of her school project in a comment on Kylie Jenner’s Instagram. In response to the pouty reality princess’s latest look – cornrows – Stenberg wrote, “when u appropriate black features and culture but fail to use ur position of power to help black Americans by directing attention towards ur wigs instead of police brutality or racism”. Jenner retorted, “go and hang out w Jaden.” (Stenberg attended prom with Jenner’s ex, Jaden Smith.)
Beyonce covers the September 2015 issue of Vogue Magazine.
Willow Smith covers the latest issue of I-D Magazine.
Ciara covers the September 2015 issue of Shape Magazine.
Our kickass September cover girl Ciara has come a long way from Goodies—her 2004 debut, chart-topping album. In the past year alone, 29-year-old has released her sixth studio album, starred in the NBC series I Can Do That, went on tour, and had a baby, just to name a few. (She also started a much-talked-about relationship with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, a frequent fixture on her Instagram!)
We caught up the singer in the middle of the video shoot for her single “Dance Like We’re Making Love” and found out how she stays strong and focused on success.
Misty Copeland covers the September 2015 issue of Essence Magazine.
Misty Copeland is having one amazing year, and the joy and focus of it all shows clearly on her face as she gracefully poses on the September cover of ESSENCE, her perfect arabesque accentuated by the beautiful Zimmermann dress flowing around her.
After years of training and overcoming a seemingly career-ending injury, Copeland has earned her spot in the pantheon of great dancers by becoming the first Black woman to perform the lead in Swan Lake for the American Ballet Theatre and then days later becoming the first Black woman to be promoted to principal ballerina in the ABT’s 75-year history. Add in a Broadway show run (in On the Town), a groundbreaking contract with Under Armour, and a new engagement to her longtime boyfriend and it’s a great time to be Misty Copeland.
Queen Latifah covers the latest issue of Variety Magazine.
Queen Latifah has never shied away from a battle.
She was 16 years old when she told Michael Kenneth Williams that she wanted to be a rapper. She jokes that the actor didn’t believe her, but Williams says that had more to do with his lack of faith in the industry than in his belief in Latifah.
“Female rappers were relatively taboo, so I was like, ‘OK, that’s cool. Be all you can be!’ ” Williams recalls with a laugh. “But in my wildest imagination, I didn’t think she would really become what she is today, simply because I’d never seen it before. Who makes it out of the ’hood and does that? But she proved me wrong.”
These days, the 45-year-old rapper-turned-actress-turned-mogul sits at the helm of a $100 million business, Flavor Unit Entertainment (named for the group of emcees she belonged to at the start of her career), negotiating deals for herself and others both in front of and behind the camera. She’s been nominated for seven Grammy Awards (winning one), an Oscar and a pair of Emmys, the most recent for her starring role in the HBO movie “Bessie,” about the complicated life of blues legend Bessie Smith, whose hard-driving ways and up-by-the-bootstraps backstory could describe Latifah herself.
Congrats to all the beautiful ladies for their magazine covers.