According to sources, this was not the cover she agreed to
The February 2021 cover of American Vogue features none other than Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. While many who read that may think, “Duh. Of course she is. She’s badass, gorgeous, powerful and the first female Vice President in the history of this country,” the cover is getting all sorts of bad press. Not because it’s Harris, but because the cover feels to many like a second-rate, shoddy attempt at what a Vogue cover should look like.
The main imagine features Harris standing, hands clasped and looking somewhat confused, next to the headline, “By the People, For the People: The United States of Fashion.” She is donning a black blazer, skinny jeans and white tee, and her now-trademark Converse low-tops. The backdrop looks like a one of those prom picture set-ups in the high school gym.
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/W5BQPTH7AU pic.twitter.com/OCFvVqTlOk
— Vogue Magazine (@voguemagazine) January 10, 2021
This, coming from one of the most powerful fashion magazine in the world, and directed by Anna Wintour herself, seems to be pissing quite a few people off. In fact, according to New York Magazine and HuffPost contributor Ali Yashar, this isn’t the cover Harris thought it would be at all.
Vogue confirmed the cover this morning, showing the image above and another of Harris, along with a lengthy interview with the Vice President-Elect about her hopes for the future.
“I always say this: I may be the first to do many things — make sure I’m not the last,” Harris told the magazine. “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.”
But back to that cover for a sec.
“In the cover that they expected, Vice President-elect Harris was wearing a powder blue suit,” Yashar explained. “That was the cover that the Vice President-elect’s team and the Vogue team, including Anna Wintour, mutually agreed upon.” Though the picture in the powder blue suit was featured, the cover left her team feeling “blindsided.”
Though there are clearly much bigger fish to fry right now in our country, a few explained the outrage:
It looks accidental and cheap, and does not at all reflect the significance of her accomplishment or the beautiful charisma she exudes.— Halennnn (@savvy5114) January 10, 2021
Have you ever seen another VP or President look like this on a cover? She looks uncomfortable esp w her hands in that comforting position...crossed in front of her and the damn pink.— LeRose (@LLeRose17) January 10, 2021
Give her a damn desk or something. This is our VP. She’s not just a regular person.
Anna Wintour needs to go. If the only time her team can properly style a black women is when she’s covered in couture then her tenure has ran it course. Look at how Kamala Harris’ Elle cover straight up bodied Vogue. Electric chair! pic.twitter.com/aBVZIho98P
— MVP Harris (@PTA_Daddy) January 10, 2021
The photo on the left is what Vogue agreed to publish as their February cover with @KamalaHarris’ team.
Without her knowledge, Anna Wintour switched it out for the photo on the right.
Please make it make sense. pic.twitter.com/cOVRddEUBS
— chris evans (@notcapnamerica) January 10, 2021
Wintour has been widely criticized in the past for the lack of representation at Vogue during her 30-year run with the magazine and apologized for it last year.
“I know Vogue has not found enough ways to elevate or give space to Black editors, writers, photographers, designers, and other creators,” a letter to her staff read. “We have made mistakes too, publishing images or stories that have been hurtful or intolerant. I want to take full responsibility for those mistakes.”
Former friend and colleague André Leon Talley has blasted Wintour, writing last year, “The Empress Wintour, in her power, has disappointed me in her humanity. Our friendship has layered with thick rust over the years. … I am no longer of value to her.”
He went on to say, “She is entitled and I do not think she will ever let anything get in the way of her white privilege.”
Harris could never look bad in any photo, including this one; but if it’s not what she’d agreed to, Wintour owes her an apology.