Vanity Fair: White Power Pictures.


The world gets smaller and smaller, and Vanity Fair‘s gets even tinier, still: Their new, March 2010 Hollywood cover, above, shot by Annie Leibovitz, features a bevy of SPF50-dependent, semi-translucent beauties.

They are, l-r, Abbie Cornish, Kristen Stewart, Carey Mulligan, Amanda Seyfried, Rebecca Hall, Mia Wasikowska, Emma Stone, Evan Rachel Wood, and Anna Kendrick.

While this isn’t unexpected—I’ve written, here, on Media Assassin, before, about VF‘s glaringly white Tinseltown special issues—it is, again, a tad doddering, and way out-of-touch.

cover-girls-bts-1003-we06It’s almost, like, given the kind of talent available and doing amazing work today, if you do a magazine cover of nine young women in film, right, and they’re all white, it’s just because you want it white. You’re making, intentionally or not, a racial power statement.

I wonder: While discussing Haiti over lunch, did any of these actors say, “Wow: This sure is one Caucazoid photo shoot”? Better yet, did anyone refuse to be part of something which so genteely hangs out the NO COLOREDS sign?

I don’t know if these women have thought about this, but, just like global warming, every bit of race adds up, and if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. At least, consider that the next time you’re cast in a project—like this one—that sends relations back sixty years.




#1 Kelly on 02.01.10 at 11:51 pm

They are also child-sized too, which is great for women to see, because at an average of a size 14 (roughly the size of about five of these beauties) it erases most of us (but as you say, most especially women of color).

#2 that dude on 02.01.10 at 11:56 pm

Thankfully a lot of the postings on Gawker about this cover all mention the whiteness of the cover, and point out the missing actresses. Given that a black/latina actress was in TWO blockbusters this year (Zoe Saldana in STAR TREK and AVATAR), this cover looks even crazier.

Three years from now, half these women will be complete unknowns, and the sisters they ignored will be making movies and TV shows.

#3 Karuna on 02.02.10 at 12:55 am

You make excellent points. It’s a glaringly white cover. Who knows what runs through the girls’ minds, other than — “OMG — Vanity Fair Cover!”. They are, as you point out, under 30 and at the beginning of their careers.

Which makes me wonder — if one did have a thought about the lack of diversity in the group — how they would be able to tell VF that they’d sit this one out without a guaranteed backlash-by-exclusion from future issues? Not exactly a bunch of power-brokers sitting on that floor.

Curious about how you’d envision them handling the situation.

#4 Ra on 02.02.10 at 2:41 pm

What do you expect? Hollywood is ran by whites, so white people’s preferences and ideas of ‘beauty’ is what will be displayed. Black people should just build and run their own film studios and promote black actors and actresses that we feel are beautiful. We have our own magazines that promote black actresses, why should we be trying to force ourselves on everything the white man does for himself. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that the black man and woman must build something for themselves in order to be truly successful. We can’t be begging whites to include us in their affairs. Its been over 440 years, we already know how white folks are. If white people want to take photo spreads of all white actresses, shoot, let them, its their money.

#5 Madam Toussaint on 02.02.10 at 6:53 pm

“but, just like global warming, every bit of race adds up, and if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” -I love this!

It is likely, in my opinion, that these women were not the types to bring up how glaringly white this cover is in the first place. Maybe they never noticed, or cared. Maybe they thought it was normal, it is for VF.

My point is it’s probably not in their characters. I’ve never heard of any of these women making statements about race before. Maybe they could have made a difference but they weren’t going to.

“I wonder: While discussing Haiti over lunch, did any of these actors say, ‘Wow: This sure is one Caucazoid photo shoot’?”
I wonder are you taking a stab here, not just about their consciousness in general, but also about them possibly not eating lunch? Very slick, lol

#6 Taneshia on 02.03.10 at 10:48 pm

VF can claim they already ran an pictorial featuring Zoe Saldana — but from what I can tell I think it only ran online (or maybe the full pictorial ran online and a pic made it into the mag, I dunno). But the point is, they rarely think to include a sister in something like this.

#7 taytum on 02.10.10 at 7:00 am

well written. u so expressed exactly what i try to say when i get into an argument about what racism in contemporary society is. omission is every bit as bad as segregation.

i seem to have listened to a lot of non-black american men say that they are ‘just not attracted’ to black women. trying to convince them that it very well could be the culture that is affecting their idea of what beauty is almost always proves useless. it bothers a little more every time i hear it. racism is certainly not gone, just repackaged.

#8 janice jones on 07.21.13 at 9:50 pm

no latinas, asians, blacks, or bigger than a size 4, ( if rebecca hall were not there i could say 2 )…i’m thinking jennifer lawrence showed up and got her agent on the phone, “its a white waif-a-palooza…i’m out,” then she went to beyonce’s house and had some grits with spicy sausage.

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