“Vogue” Makes Waves With Coverage On Kamala Harris

Get an interview with the brand new Vice President of the United States, with photo shoot: the holy grail of the moment, for any magazine. It’s the Vogue American who picked up the timpani and obviously made it his cover of its February edition, with the enthusiastic title in support – “Madame vice-president! Kamala Harris and the New America ”. Except that the jackpot turns to polemic, which is growing on social networks.

Critics have two axes: to begin with, the skin color of Kamala Harris. The lighting would whiten the natural complexion of the vice president, a mixed race whose father is of Jamaican origin and mother of Indian origin. We would therefore be in the presence of an umpteenth case of whitewashing, even if that Kamala Harris had a strike: first vice-president, who was also black. And the first target of this accusation is Anna Wintour, the boss of the Vogue American (who would have inspired the character of the boss-tyrant of Devil wears Prada), who in November was promoted to global content manager for all magazine titles in the Condé Nast group.

Six months ago, in an internal company document, Anna Wintour nonetheless proceeded to a mea culpa towards the black community, committing to greater and fairer representativeness, among teams as well as in publications. And Vogue denied to the New York Post wanting to clear the vice-president, knowing that the author of the photos is Lensman Tyler Mitchell, the first African-American to land a magazine cover, in September 2020 with Beyoncé. In addition, the appointment in 2017 of Edward Enninful as head of Vogue British man was a strong signal from Condé Nast: the journalist, of Ghanaian origin, long-time pro-diversity activist and great influencer, is the first male editor-in-chief from minorities to have taken on such a post.

The Converse of Discord

But it is also the staging of the photo of Kamala Harris on the cover that is debated, in several ways. The styling, first of all: non-existent, it comes down to a black blazer over black pants and a white top, Converse sneakers on your feet. So, sure, Kamala Harris is known for her laid back style, and the Converse has become an element of his communication, well-established storytelling (a natural, active, modern woman, from the field, the reverse of the stiletto vase). And her entire wardrobe confirms this taste for effective comfort, as evidenced by le blog What Kamala Wore.

But all the same, Vogue is known for its chic “headlines”, notably under the leadership of photographer Annie Leibovitz, who among others immortalized Michelle Obama. And if we can understand that the period does not lend itself to glamor, we have to admit that this shot against a background of a pink curtain, as quickly unhooked from Grandma’s, and goose poo wallpaper, stings the eyes. And made sloppy way more than cool. Lack of respect, racism, or, at the very least, artistic direction flop, tackles abound.

Kamala Harris and her team would have chosen these colors, which are those of her sorority (student organization), argued Vogue nearby New York Post. And to specify: “Our approach […] was to capture her as a leader and an individual, and quite at ease, so we worked closely with her and her team on all of the creative choices, including those regarding her dress and appearance for the photoshoot. ” Except that Kamala Harris’s team would not be satisfied with the result itself, and would have validated another option, says journalist Yashar Ali on Twitter.

And in fact, Vogue uploaded another photo of Kamala Harris carried out during this session much more in line with the standards of the portrait of a political personality. An image which appears on the inside pages of the edition, at the heart of the interview, while the vice-president’s team would have chosen it for the cover… And the photographer himself did not post that this one on Instagram. And the timpani to turn to the return of XXL boomerang.


Sabrina Champenois

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