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Black Women Sidelined by Vogue?

Actor Will Smith graces the cover of this month's Men's Vogue — and he's making headlines for revealing his study of Scientology — but these numbers in this week's TIME magazine may deserve more attention:

4: Number of black men who have appeared on the cover of Men's Vogue since it launched in 2005 (Tiger Woods, Barack Obama, Denzel Washington and Will Smith)

3: Number of black women who have appeared on Vogue's cover since the magazine was founded in 1892 (Oprah Winfrey, Halle Berry and Jennifer Hudson)

Flashback: Naomi Campbell Rails at Vogue

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It's a saddening cycle. There aren't very good roles available for black actresses at the moment, so it stands to reason that they wouldn't get the attention and magazine covers. Though I'm still a little puzzled by Hudson's recognition. Plus, Vogue magazine shouldn't be the standard by which we judge ourselves.

Sent by Tammy D. | 4:47 PM | 11-26-2007

It's Vogue Magazine!

Sure, one could make the argument that this is indicative of a larger societal problem - the "invisible woman" syndrome, if you will - but, it's Vogue Magazine! Plus, Tiger Woods, Barack Obama, Denzel Washington and Will Smith are as safe a group of faces as one can expect to see on a white-owned publication, with a predominantly white readership. But as I see it, solve the core issue(s), and none of this would be headline material.

Sent by Tambay A Obenson | 12:37 PM | 11-27-2007

I am a subscriber to Men's Vogue. The article on Will Smith informs readers of his search for truth in all religions. So let's not rush to judgement unless we have the facts.

Sent by Andre Branch | 12:50 PM | 11-27-2007

According to Wikipedia, Beverly Johnson became the first black model to grace the cover of Vogue in a 1974 Francesco Scavullo photo.

The article you link even states that Naomi Campbell first appeared on the cover of Vogue in 1987 at the age of 17.

I don't condone any kind of beauty discrimination but there have been more than three.

Sent by michael | 2:23 PM | 11-27-2007

Marion Jones, 2001, on the cover of Vogue. Her photo there is significant, because she is an athlete obviously performing femininity, as she appeared in a ball gown. I'm surprised NPR's crack staff of researchers missed that one.

Time Magazine this week quoted the same stats.

Sent by Julie | 9:54 AM | 11-30-2007

Hi Julie,

As posted above, those numbers were reprinted from TIME magazine. But it seems you and others are correct. There appear to have been a handful of black female faces on the cover of Vogue. Some listed here.

TIME and other media outlets citing that same number (three) are likely using certain criteria, but thanks for your comment.

Sent by Geoffrey Bennett | 1:23 PM | 11-30-2007

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