Madame Vice President Kamala Harris appears on Vogue’s February cover,
“I always say this: I may be the first to do many things—make sure I’m not the last
I was thinking of my baby nieces, who will only know one world where a woman is vice president of the United States, a woman of color, a Black woman, a woman with parents who were born outside of the United States.”
But the cover images have already sparked intense online debate. According to CNN, the Vice President-elect’s teams blindsided by the magazine’s choices. A source said Harris’ team believed the cover would only be the Michael Kors light blue suit against a gold background.
The pink and green background has been criticized as being “disrespectful” to the Vice President-elect. (Both outfits were Harris’ choice.)
A spokesperson for the magazine said in an emailed statement that they,
“loved the images Tyler Mitchell shot and felt the more informal image captured Vice President-elect Harris’s authentic, approachable nature — which we feel is one of the hallmarks of the Biden/Harris administration.
To respond to the seriousness of this moment in history, and the role she has to play leading our country forward, we’re celebrating both images of her as covers digitally.”
Tyler Mitchell, who shot Harris, famously became the first Black photographer to take an American Vogue cover when he shot Beyoncé for the magazine’s September 2018 issue.
Explaining the influences behind the cover shoot, Vogue said that the green and salmon pink background had been inspired by the colors of Howard University’s Alpha Kappa Alpha, the
“first historically African American sorority.”
In the article Mitchell says had wanted to
“honor Harris’s college days and the powerful women who comprise the ranks of sororities like Alpha Kappa Alpha.”
Critics are saying that the pictures made her skin appear “washed out” and were out-of-keeping with the magazine glam aesthetic.
Playwright and lawyer Wajahat Ali it as a “mess up,” adding that Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour
“must really not have Black friends and colleagues.”
The Washington Post‘s senior critic-at-large Robin Givhan, wrote,
“there’s nothing inherently wrong with this picture… [but] Vogue robbed Harris of her roses.
A bit of awe would have served the magazine well in its cover decisions. Nothing about the cover said, ‘Wow.’ And sometimes, that’s all Black women want, an admiring and celebratory ‘wow’ over what they have accomplished.”
But not everyone was dismissive of the photo choices. Humorist Paul Rudnick tweeted,
“Folks are arguing over the photo chosen for VP Harris’s Vogue cover, but here’s what’s important: she looks great, she’s being honored, and the cover is driving Trump and Melania nuts.”
Kamala is everything Trump hates:
a powerful woman of color who’s called him out on his bigotry.”
But he’s a white, gay man (as am I) so, decide for yourself.
And read all about our first female POC VP in Vogue.
It celebrates her, as well it should.
What a mess up. Anna Wintour must really not have Black friends and colleagues. https://t.co/8oCpEPkltU— Wajahat Ali (@WajahatAli) January 10, 2021
Folks are arguing over the photo chosen for VP Harris's Vogue cover, but here's what's important: she looks great, she's being honored, and the cover is driving Trump and Melania nuts. Kamala is everything Trump hates: a powerful woman of color who's called him out on his bigotry pic.twitter.com/xdoBsCoSS7— Paul Rudnick (@PaulRudnickNY) January 10, 2021