Did British Vogue Get It Wrong Or Right With The February 2022 Cover Celebrating African Beauty?


British Vogue cover 2022
British Vogue’s all African February cover 2022 (Photo credit: British Vogue)

British Vogue gained lots of attention on its latest cover celebrating African beauty. Many raised their concerns noting how awful the models were styled. The February 2022 cover of the British Vogue, which features nine Black models, came under fire by critics on social media who say poor lighting, makeup, and styling make the models look unnatural.

Adut Akech, Anok Yai, Majesty Amare, Amar Akway, Janet Jumbo, Maty Fall, Nyagua Ruea, Abény Nhial, and Akon Changkou are the cover features models.

A video showing behind-the-scenes of the photoshoot posted by Vogue shows the models having their hair and makeup done, and some of their skin tones are lighter in the video. Brazilian photographer Rafael Pavarotti shot the cover. However, Ammy Drammeh and Edward Enninful (British Vogue Editor-In-Chief) handled the makeup and styling.

Vogue is a British fashion magazine based in London.  It is the British edition of the American magazine Vogue and is owned and distributed by Condé Nast. Also, the magazine is one of the world’s most prominent fashion magazines, and it has heavily influenced the development of the fashion magazine industry and continues to shape modern fashion trends.



The Lack of Diversity in the Fashion Industry

British Vogue
British Vogue cover for February 2022 (Photo credit: British Vogue)

There has been discrimination in fashion publications. According to the Fashion Spot’s annual diversity report, only 43% of the models who walked during the autumn/winter shows of 2021 were women of color. Nyagua Ruea, one of the models who appeared on the cover, said,

I know there are so many little black girls who will look at this cover and feel something. I hope it makes you feel seen, heard, and happy as it did me.”

Enninful said the photograph was an important statement of anti-tokenism. “No longer just one or two dark-skinned girls mingled backstage, but a host of top models took a meaningful, substantial, and equal place among the most successful women working in fashion today. It means so much to me to see it,” he added.

Pavorotti called it a “celebration of women, of matriarchy and the beauty of black women”. Furthermore, the cover challenges the historical Eurocentric fashion gaze, which has long seen Africa as a continent in need of charity and lacking in creativity.

Positive views on British Vogue cover

When the cover was released, a lot of people took to social media platforms to express their admiration for the creativity and message. Those in this category believe it is a breakthrough for the Black race in the fashion industry. Some of these positive views are captured in the tweets below.





Not everyone agrees with the message

Even though the British Vogue wanted to celebrate Black women’s beauty, some critics were hardly impressed with the cover photo. The displeasure was mostly from the awkwardness of the models’ styling.



What’s your take on the cover? Did the publication get it right or fail to hit the intended goal? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.


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