‘British Vogue’ & Edward Enninful Get Mixed Reviews For Historic February Issue, Critics Claim Cover Is ‘Poorly Lit’, Melanated Models Look ‘Reverse Bleached’
British Vogue is taking some heat for publishing a historic cover.
The publication has been trending in recent days for celebrating the rise of African models in its February 2022 cover that features nine black women who are “redefining what it means to be a model.”
Starring models Adut Akech, Amar Akway, Majesty Amare, Akon Changkou, Maty Fall, Janet Jumbo, Abény Nhial, Nyagua Ruea, and Anok Yai, the stunning cover was styled by British Vogue’s Editor-In-Chief Edward Enninful OBE.
This is Vogue’s first time featuring a group of black women this size on the cover, and while many including Lupita Nyong’o have sent praises British Vogue’s way…
Edward Enninful in British Vogue must be one of the best things to happen in fashion in the last decade pic.twitter.com/l9phpc36NT
— t❄️ (@eudaimonia_soo) January 13, 2022
Edward Enninful’s British Vogue never misses.
— mabintou (@mabintou) January 13, 2022
— Lupita Nyong'o (@Lupita_Nyongo) January 14, 2022
a few others have criticized the creative team for “catering” to the “white gaze.”
Outside of February being recognized as Black History Month, it’s also fashion month, and what better time than to publish a cover like this one?
Vogue appointed Mr. Enninful editor of British Vogue in 2017, taking over from Alexandra Shulman, after the publication was criticized for a lack of diversity, and promptly assembled a woke squad of 15 women to bring diversity into editions across Europe.
It seems like Enninful is doing his job and making the fashion industry a little more inclusive.
However, not everyone feels this way and Enninful has received backlash online, with dozens of fans saying the “poorly lit” image appeared to darken the models, who have a range of skin tones to a point where they were unrecognizable and look like mannequins.
Here are the ladies behind the scenes at the shoot.
One user online wrote, “Look I am a fan of British Vogue since Mr Enninful became EIC but I’m honestly not sure why this cover is not well-lit and why the models are made to be mannequinn-esque and we lose their features and beauty.”
While another user said, “I don’t care, I don’t care. You took the most beautiful women on the planet and made sure we couldn’t see them on an issue about visibility? @BritishVogue, shaking my head.”
Great fantastic, but the lighting is horrible. You totally did a disservice to these amazing trailblazers by not knowing how to showcase their beauty. READ THE ROOM FOLKS!
— Ms. A Sandoval, MBA She/Her (@annais3812) January 14, 2022
Here’s the proper lighting for people with rich melanted skin tones 🤎 pic.twitter.com/XvEnnF4qw8
— Lizza (@Mrs_LeeJ) January 14, 2022
When explaining the inspiration behind the shoot Edward said, “I saw all these incredible models from across Africa who were just so vivacious and smart.”
He continued, “These girls are redefining what it is to be a fashion model. We need to ensure these girls last. We have to invest in them, nurture them and support them with editorial, with advertising, with shows. It’s sad and heart-breaking for me to see girls who are on the rise suddenly taper off. We need to ensure these girls last. We have to invest in them, nurture them and support them with editorial, with advertising, with shows. It has to be 360. Alek Wek didn’t suddenly become Alek Wek. There was a group of us behind girls like her, propelling them forward. This is what we have to do in all our different roles. There was a group of us behind girls like her, propelling them forward. This is what we have to do in all our different roles.”
South Sudan comedian, Akau Jambo, weighed in on the topic and went more into depth about her disappointment in the British Vogue February Issue.
“I am South Sudanese. I have lived here probably longer than these models and I can assure you that there is nobody moving around looking like this. As an artist, I can also assure you that this is not art. This is Black Skin Porn. Black Fetish. Reverse Bleaching.”
I am South Sudanese. I have lived here probably longer than these models and I can assure you that there is nobody moving around looking like this.
As an artist, I can also assure you that this is not art. This is Black Skin Porn. Black Fetish. Reverse Bleaching pic.twitter.com/iQzTKur6kx
— Akau Jambo (@AkauJambo) January 14, 2022
Akau’s tweets prompted Model Iwani Mawocha to weigh in on her experience when shooting with Vogue. She also explained that this current aesthetic in fashion is nothing new.
I’m a model with medium brown skin and I’ve been edited to be super dark before (also by V*gue and a few others). And they never tell you this during the shoot. You only find out after and it’s kinda jarring ngl.
A comparison: pic.twitter.com/qkZzHkmpGI
— Iwani 🇿🇼🇸🇬 (@iwanimawocha) January 15, 2022
"This is Black Skin Porn. Black Fetish. Reverse Bleaching"
You're absolutely right. https://t.co/qvoUkGwtSy
— Foutiyou's way (@Fouttiyou) January 15, 2022
Is it a trend? Is it art? Perhaps a fetish, only time will truly tell.
What are your thoughts on the cover? Do you love it or hate it? Let us know below!
See the full feature in the February issue of British Vogue available via digital download and on newsstands from Tuesday, January, 18th.