Tag: Black Women

A proud moment: Black women command the covers of 2018 September issues

UntitledBeyoncé. Rihanna. Yara Shahidi. Tiffany Haddish. Tracee Ellis Ross. Lupita Nyong’o. Zendaya. Slick Woods. Issa Rae. Aja Naomi King. Laverne Cox. Naomi Campell.

In an unprecedented move, almost all of the cover stars on the coveted September issues of mainstream fashion magazines – including Vogue, Glamour and Elle – are black.

September 2018 is clearly the month of #BlackGirlMagic, with the 12 black women listed above covering the fashion industry’s biggest (both in physical size and importance) issue of the year.

Even InStyle, which featured Jennifer Aniston on its primary cover for the September issue, tried to get in on the tail end of the action by including Dutch Moroccan-Egyptian model Imaan Hammam on one of their subscriber covers.

It’s a powerful statement on beauty, blackness and recognizing cultural tastemakers. Highlighting black women who not only run the gamut in skin tone, hair texture and bScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 6.19.31 PMuild, but who are also leaders in their industries, is impressive. It’s exciting and brings hope to a year that has felt like a dumpster fire more often than not.

Having Nyong’o, with her darker skin and natural short crop, on the cover of Porter magazine’s “Desire Issue” or putting trans actress and activist Laverne Cox on Variety’s cover would have been unheard of years ago. That’s power.

“Until there is a mosaic of perspectives coming from different ethnicities behind the lens, we will continue to have a narrow approach and view of what the world actually looks like,” Beyoncé said in her Vogue cover story, which was photographed by Tyler Mitchell, the first black photographer to shoot American Vogue’s cover in the publication’s nearly 126-year history.

That narrow approach seems to be changing: The new issue of British Vogue boScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 6.19.23 PMasts both the magazine’s first black editor-in-chief, Edward Enniful (who emigrated to London from Ghana), and its first black September cover girl, Rihanna (who was born In Barbados). The Elle Canada issue that Ross covers was produced by the only black editor-in-chief in the Elle network, Vanessa Craft. Under her leadership, six of the last 11 issues have featured women on color on the cover.

But that change, while welcome, has been slow: the crop of September issues comes 53 years after Donyale Luna made history as the first black woman to appear on the front of a magazine with her Harper’s Bazaar cScreen Shot 2018-08-11 at 6.19.15 PMover in 1965. The following year, she became the first black woman to appear on the cover of British Vogue. (American Vogue wouldn’t do it until 1974 with Beverly Johnson.)

Essence magazine hinted at this slow change for their peers when they announced their own September cover, featuring Naomi Campell wearing Dapper Dan for Gucci and interviewed by Andre Leon Talley. “Giving Black women covers since May 1970,” the magazine tweeted.

Why Is Breast Cancer Killing So Many Black Women?

Although 1 out of 8 women will develop breast cancer in the United States, it remains deadliest for Black women.  A recent study by the Sinai Urban Health Institute in Chicago, IL reveals that African-American women are more likely to die of breast cancer not due to genetics, but because of racial disparity and inequality in health care.  Subsequently, nearly five Black women needlessly die everyday because they lack the proper information and quality services. The realities of inadequate health care, access, and poverty in the Black community are also mixed with fear, silence, and suspicion of the medical system who only fifty years ago purposefully infected 400 poor Black men with syphilis in a medical study known as the Tuskegee experiment.  Mistrust and historic disenfranchisement greatly impact those battling breast cancer, a disease that has a 98% survival rate if caught early.  In an interview with Dr. Regina Hampton of the Capital Breast Center the Washington Post writes of this skepticism:

“… Hampton and others think [Black] women also carry angst stemming from a historically unhealthy relationship between African Americans and a medical system that was inaccessible. Often lacking the money or insurance for preventive care, many [Black] people didn’t seek medical help until they were seriously ill.”

In addition to Black women, Black male breast cancer patients and survivors like African-American icon Richard Roundtree who played John Shaft in the 1970s Blaxploitation action film Shaft, face the same barriers compounded with the social stigma with having an illness that rarely impacts men.  Because male breast cancer accounts for just 1% of all breast cancer diagnoses, Black men are even less likely to visit their healthcare provider upon discovery of a lump.  Roundtree, a breast cancer survivor since 1993, is an outspoken advocate male breast cancer and encourages others to break the silence and seek treatment.