British 'Vogue' Faces Backlash for Darkening Models' Skin Tones on February Cover

·2 min read

British Vogue has unveiled its February 2022 cover, which is receiving backlash for misrepresenting the skin tones of nine Black models.

The latest edition, styled by the publication's editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, stars models Anok Yai, Adut Akech, Amar Akway, Majesty Amare, Akon Changkou, Maty Fall, Janet Jumbo, Abény Nhial and Nyagua Ruea, whose African heritage include Senegal, Rwanda, Sudan, Nigeria and Ethiopia.

While the cover story discusses diversity, inclusion and race, the internet has pointed out that the models' skin colors had been darkened, in addition to the fact that they are all wearing European-style wigs. "This cover is weird. The lighting is off. The backdrop is off. The various skin tones and highlights are missing. And the African models are all in European-styled wigs. Huh? British Vogue definitely needs to hire Black women photographers," a Twitter user commented. Another wrote: "The framing, the deliberate darkening in post-production, the dead expressions and the absence of joy saying so much about how white fashion institutions view Black women, the artistic choice to put them all in Black despite vivid colors probably working best for this particular group of skin tones etc." They added: "But all I really want to say is we're in 2022 and Vogue still can't properly light Black women."

Enninful spoke about the inspiration behind the cover, which was shot by Rafael Pavarotti. "I saw all these incredible models from across Africa who were just so vivacious and smart... These girls are redefining what it is to be a fashion model." He continued: "You know, fashion tends to follow waves. We’ve had the Brazilian wave. We had the Dutch wave, the Russian wave, the Eastern European wave… And while, in the last decade, the Black model has come to prominence, I love that we are finally giving more space to African beauty."

See the controversial cover down below.


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