When Beyoncé made the cover for Vogue, she mentioned how “When I first started, 21 years ago, I was told that it was hard for me to get onto covers of magazines because black people did not sell,” she said in a personal reflection for the iconic magazine. “Clearly, that has been proven a myth.” CNN explains how this is very much the case, with the singer being one of many high-profile black women being featured on the covers of some of the most successful magazines in the industry.
Along with Beyoncé’s Vogue cover, Rihanna is appearing on the cover of British Vogue, and Lupita Nyong’o is on the cover of Porter magazine. “Blackish” star Tracee Ellis Ross is on the September cover of Elle Canada, and actresses Zendaya and Tiffany Haddish are featured on the covers of Marie Claire and Glamour, respectively. The trend wasn’t missed for many fans, and Beyoncé explained the importance of representation both in front of and behind the camera, with her choosing a black photographer to shoot the cover for the first time ever.
“Not only is an African American on the cover of the most important month for Vogue, this is the first ever Vogue cover shot by an African American photographer,” she said. “It’s important to me that I help open doors for younger artists. There are so many cultural and societal barriers to entry that I like to do what I can to level the playing field, to present a different point of view for people who may feel like their voices don’t matter.”
Edward Enninful, the first black editor-in-chief of British Vogue, explained in his letter from the editor his choice to feature Rihanna on the cover as well, another first. “No matter how haute the styling goes, or experimental the mood, you never lose her in the imagery. She is always Rihanna,” he wrote. “There’s a lesson for us all in that. Whichever way you choose to dress the new season, take a leaf out of her book and be yourself.”
Maiysha Kai, managing editor of The Glow Up, pondered what prompted so many changes so quickly. “And to what do we owe this tremendous pleasure? The Fenty Effect? The Wakanda Effect? The Beychella Effect? The ‘I’m Rooting for Everybody Black’ Effect? All of the above?” she wrote. “Or, perhaps it’s the 2017 Nielsen series on #BlackGirlMagic that turned the rest of the world on to what we’ve been knowing: That our love and loyalty are strong when and where we feel represented?”