Monday, May 20, 2024

Vanity Fair Eschews Conventional September Fashion-Movie Cover for One with Guest Editor Ta-Nehesi Coates and 40 Black Writers, Artists, Photographers


Vanity Fair is throwing a Hail Mary pass in about 2 days.

That’s when we’ll see their September 2020 issue. It will be much different than any issue in the past. They are eschewing the usual movies-fashion theme that usually launches the fall season for something quite a bit more ambitious and exciting.

Today they announced a guest editor, which is unusual in itself. Ta-Nehisi Coates, award winning writer and author and thinker, has taken over for the month. I can’t recall a time when Tina Brown or Graydon Carter ever had a guest editor. But Radhika Jones has gone for something special here. Coates could not be more important in the culture, especially right now. He’s a major voice.

VF says Coates will be joined by 40 prominent writers, photographers, and artists. What they don’t say is that they are almost all are not-white. This is a stop-and-applaud landmark move by a magazine that rarely if ever has a black cover subject or contributor. (I loved Toni Morrison but they considered her cutting edge.)

The list includes one recognizable name, Ava Duvernay, and the following intriguing players: Eve L. Ewing, Bomani Jones, Josie Duffy Rice, Jesmyn Ward, Danez Smith, Deana Lawson, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Kiese Makeba Laymon, Jacqueline Woodson, Franklin Leonard, Kimberly Drew, Hank Willis Thomas, Diana Ejaita, Marjon Carlos, Zerina Akers, Ruth Ossai, Shawn Martinbrough, Ola Ebiti, Calida Rawles, Renell Medrano, Lynsey Weatherspoon, Jason Bolden, Dana Scruggs, Phylicia J. L. Munn, Levi Walton, Lawrence Agyei, Braylen Dion, Bruce Bennett, Paul Octavious, Shan Wallace, Djeneba Aduayom, Wulf Bradley, Miranda Barnes, Arielle Bobb-Willis, Sophia Wilson, Erik Carter, Kennedi Carter, Myles Loftin, Quil Lemons, Adrienne Raquel, Andrea Ellen Reed, John Edmonds, Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe, and Monica Ahanonu.

August Vanity Fair cover is still on sale, with the amazing Viola Davis on the cover. The September cover seems like it will be just as riveting. (Beyonce would make sense, but we’ll see.)

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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