In celebration of Vogue’s 125th year as one of the leading fashion publications in the world, the magazine compiled a group of today’s most influential models for their March 2017 cover to reflect the diverse, multifaceted images of the ‘Modern American Women.’
Although Vogue is making an effort to depict a more inclusive image of the modern day woman, it is more important than ever to take a step back and acknowledge the group of black women who forged the way to make this inclusivity possible. These groundbreaking black models forced their way into a once unwelcoming fashion industry, making history as the first of their kind to be visible in an industry that often emphasized only one beauty standard. Fashion is often thought to be one of the most open and expressive forms of art, but ironically, it experienced one of the slowest transitions into inclusivity, with the first black woman gracing the cover of major magazines years after the diversification of other mediums, including movies and television. While the images in other mediums of entertainment may have been over-glorified in comparison to the true strife of being black in America in during these periods, fashion editorial remained as a testament to the far ways we still had left to go. From Beverly Johnson, who became the first ever African American model on the cover of Vogue to Naomi Campbell, who now boasts over 40 Vogue covers in her lifetime, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the best Black Vogue cover girls of all time.
The Game Changers
Donyale Luna, British Vogue, 1966
Beverly Johnson, American Vogue, 1974
Naomi Campbell, Paris Vogue, 1988
Shari Belafonte, Vogue, 1982