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REVELATIONS OF A MAG ADDICT – THE COVER STORY

If you’ve followed me for a long time you may know that I am a fully-fledged magazine addict. Ask Nadine Baggott. 🙂 I currently subscribe to approx 20 mags, around 15 are women’s ‘lifestyle’ and the rest are music.

So when I was laid up last week, I took the opportunity and caught up on about six months of mags. It was during this process that I had the idea to ‘check a couple of covers’ to see if they were inclusive. It was eye-opening.
The beauty industry has quite rightly, been taken to task the last few weeks regarding inclusivity across staffing, board members, Instagram grid pictures, and of course, having enough darker shades for Black people. But the mag world is definitely not doing everything it can..

For clarification of how I came to these numbers:

  • I was looking only at the women’s mags, and I was looking for Black women, not Latino, Asian, Indian, Pakistani etc.. Black women.
  • If I was unsure I checked how the woman identified herself. Zendaya, for example, has a white Scottish mother and a Black father, and identifies as a Black woman.
  • Where the woman can be widely recognised by her first name only, I used that, as a nod to her stature, not as a shortcut. We all know full well who ‘Naomi’ is.
  • If however, it was a group cover and the models were not known to me, I have counted how many models were on the cover and listed the fraction of Black models presented. I mean no disrespect to the models.
  • I didn’t include Kanye when he was basically an accessory (albeit a very happy one I’m sure) for his wife, nor The Weeknd when he was in a white model sandwich. I did, however, count Billy Porter for Allure, because HE was the (brilliant) cover star, alone. So although I was looking for Black women, it’s not a perfect science, but Billy is the only man.
  • I counted US and UK magazines, mainly because that’s what I read. And I didn’t count Oprah’s mag, because she made the point at the launch of the magazine to use herself on every cover, and thus far has only deviated from that a handful of times.

And what did I find? Basically, Rihanna is carrying a heavy weight, and Edward Enninful is proof that a Black person in a position of power can bring real change. Vogue UK pre-EE, would be hovering near the bottom of the pile. In 2 and a half years Edward Enninful has put more Black people on the cover of Vogue than the bottom NINE magazines combined, in their lifespan (on a pro rata basis).

See for yourself..

*Please feel free to correct me where need be, and request other magazines.

MAGAZINE COVERS CONTAINING BLACK WOMEN – ‘BEST’ TO WORST – DATES AND AMOUNT OF COVERS GIVEN FOR REFERENCE – *source Zinio app

VOGUE UK
Since January 2014
4 covers out of 47 opportunities – 8.5%
Post Edward Enninful takeover:
13 covers out of 30 opportunities – 43%
Jourdan Dunn – Feb 2015
Rihanna – Apr 2016
Imaan (note spelling, not Iman the Supermodel) 1/3 – Feb 2017
Zoe Kravtiz – Oct 2017
December 2017 – Edward Enninful took over – this is key.
Adwoa Aboah – Dec 2017
Gugu Mbatha-Raw – April 2018
Adut Akech (cover), Selena Forrest (after the fold) Multi-model cover – May 2018
Oprah – August 2018
Rihanna – Sept 2018
Adut Akech – Dec 2018
7 Black models in one year. Almost double the amount in the entire previous 4 years.
Naomi – March 2019
Zoe Kravitz – July 2019
Forces for Change cover, numerous Black women presented, including Munroe Bergdorf – edited by MM – Sept 2019
Jourdan – Nov 2019
Lupita – Feb 2020
Rihanna – May 2020
The New Front Line – Muslim woman and Black woman – July 2020

US VOGUE
Since April 2012
24 covers out of 96 opportunities – 25% 
Serena – mixed cover – June 2012
Rihanna – Nov 2012
BeyoncĂ© – Mar 2013
Michelle Obama – Apr 2013
Rihanna – Mar 2014
Lupita – Jul 2014
Joan Smalls – mixed cover – Sep 2014
Serena – Apr 2015
BeyoncĂ© – Sep 2015
Lupita – Oct 2015
Rihanna – Apr 2016
Lupita – Oct 2016
Michelle Obama – Dec 2016
Ruth Negga – Jan 2017
Multi-model cover – Iman Hamman/Adwoa – Mar 2017
Zendaya – Jul 2017
Lupita – Jan 2018
Serena – Feb 2018
Rihanna – June 2018
BeyoncĂ© – Sep 2018
Seven women/ two of colour (one black) – Apr 2019
Zendaya – June 2019
Rihanna – 2019
Beauty without borders cover – three women, one Black woman – large feature 6/28 models – Apr 2010

Allure
Since May 2011
24 covers out of 116 opportunities – 20.7% 
Nicki Minaj – Apr 2012
Zoe Saldana – June 2013
Kerry Washington – Nov 2014
Taraji – Jul 2015
Naomi – Mar 2016
FKA Twigs – May 2016
Zoe Saldana – July 2016
Zendaya – Jan 2017
Alicia – Feb 2017
The Beauty of Diversity issue- 2/3 Black women – Apr 2017
Zoe Kravitz- Jun 2017
Kerry Washington – Nov 2017
Lupita – Mar 2018
Adwoa – Apr 2018
Sasha Lane – May 2018
Janelle Monae – Jul 2018
Rihanna – Oct 2018
Angela Bassett – Nov 2018
Serena – Feb 2019
Naomi Osaka – Aug 2019
Adut Akech – May 2019
Naomi Osaka – Aug 2019
Zendaya – Dec/Jan 2020
Billy Porter – Feb 2020

Elle USA
Since Jan 2011
18 covers out of 108 opportunities – 16.6%
Rihanna – May 2012
Nicki Minaj – Apr 2013
Kerry Washington – Jun 2013
Zoe Saldana – Nov 2014
Kerry Washington – Apr 2016
BeyoncĂ© – May 2016
FKA Twigs – August 2016
Solange – Mar 2017
Rihanna – Oct 2017
Zoe Kravitz – Jan 2018
Nicki Minaj – Jul 2018
Women in Hollywood – Danai Gurrira, Lupita, Angela Bassett – Nov 2018
Michelle Obama – Dec 2018
Indya Moore – Jun 2019
Naomi – Jul 2019
Zendaya – Nov 2019
BeyoncĂ© – Jan 2020
Zoe Kravtiz – Feb 2020

Harper’s Bazaar UK
Since June 2007
14 covers in 141 opportunities – 9.9% 
Thandie Newton – August 2007
Leona Lewis – Feb 2008
Joan Smalls – May 2008
BeyoncĂ© – Sep 2011
Supermodel cover – Naomi 1/5 – Dec 2011
Lupita – May 2015
New Season – 2/5 Black models – Aug 15
Fashion 1/5 – Aug 2017
Ruth Negga – Dec 2017
Multi model – 1/3 – May 2018
Serena – Jul 2018
Modern Swans – 1/3 – Aug 2019
Letitia Wright – Dec 2019
Gugu Mbatha-Raw – Apr 2020

Cosmo UK
Since March 2007
14 out of 144 opportunities – 9.7%
BeyoncĂ© – Jun 2007
Alesha Dixon – Dec 2008
BeyoncĂ© – Mar 2009
BeyoncĂ© – Apr 2011
Kelly Rowland – Nov 2011
Rochelle Humes – 1/2 – Jun 2012
Alesha Dixon – May 2013
Naomi Harris – Nov 2015
Jennifer Hudson – Feb 2018
Zoe Saldana – May 2018
Rochelle Humes – Feb 2019
Yara Shahidi – Jun 2019
Jordyn Woods – September 2019
Leigh-Anne Pinnock, Little Mix – 1/4 – May 2020

Harper’s Bazaar – US
Since Feb 2012
10 covers out of 118 opportunities – 8.4%
Halle Berry – May 2009
Janet Jackson – Oct 2009
Beyonce – Nov 2011
Rihanna – August 2012
Rihanna – March 2015
Rihanna – March 2017
Zoe Kravitz – Oct 2018
Rihanna – May 2019
Serena – August 2019
Alicia Keyes – Sept 2019

COSMO USA
Since Dec 2007
12 out of 151 opportunities – 7.9%
BeyoncĂ© – Dec 2007
Rihanna – Mar 2008
Rihanna – Jul 2011
Nicki Minaj – Nov 2011
Zendaya – July 2016
Jennifer Hudson – Nov 2017
Cardi B – Apr 2018
Ciara – Nov 2018
Yara Shahidi – May 2019
Mariah – Aug 2019
Normani – Dec/Jan 2020
Issa Rae – Jun 2020

Tatler
Since Feb 2011
5 out of 108 opportunities – 4.6%

Leah Weller – March 2013
Emma of Longleat – May 2013
Meghan Markle – May 2018
Young British Hollywood – 1/4 – Feb 2019
Meghan – Dec 2019


Good Housekeeping UK (Good Housekeeping USA was excluded because they have not used models consistently on their covers for a while, preferring home scenes and kitchen scenes etc)
6 covers out of 142 opportunities – 4.2%
June Sarpong – 1/4 women – Sept 2008
Oprah – Feb 2009
Michelle Obama – July 2010
Lorraine Pascale – Oct 2012
Oprah – April 2017
Michelle Obama – Jan 2019

New Beauty
2 covers out of 65 opportunities – 3%
Rihanna – Beauty Report Spring 2019
Angela Bassett – Fall 2019

Black faces on the New Beauty Brain Trust
Total: 7/100 people – 7% 

And then, at the bottom of my pile, Red magazine. Fearne Cotton, Holly Willoughby, Yasmin Le Bon and Nicole Kidman have been on the cover of Red individually more times than the Black women combined.

RED
Since June 2012
2 covers out of  92 opportunities – 2.1%
Naomie Harris – Feb 2014
Rochelle Humes – Apr 2020