Substandard & Racist: Netizens Blast Vogue Cover With Kamala Harris, Accuse Magazine of Whitewashing


by Max Gorbachev

This is not the first time that the famous fashion magazine has been accused of whitewashing. Last year, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour publicly apologised for photographs that were seen as insensitive to minorities.

Social media users have thrashed Vogue’s planned February cover featuring soon-to-be US Vice President Kamala Harris. The magazine released two photographs of the politician – the first one was a full size pic of her wearing a casual black suit and a pair of Converse sneakers and the second was a waist-high photo showing Harris in a blue jacket.

Vice President-elect @KamalaHarris is our February cover star!

Making history was the first step. Now Harris has an even more monumental task: to help heal a fractured America—and lead it out of crisis. Read the full profile:

— Vogue Magazine (@voguemagazine) January 10, 2021

​However, neither of the two images was to the liking of netizens, to put it mildly.

Y’all whole team needs to be fired 😭

— nightshawn101 (@Nightshawn101) January 10, 2021

​Social media users accused Vogue of racism and whitewashing Harris, the first woman and first woman of colour to be elected to the post of vice president.

I don’t know what y’all were doing with the one in the left but it’s substandard and it’s suspiciously racist.

— grumpy and crotchety.MA-Ed (@MelaKatie) January 10, 2021

Is it racism or simply misogyny that made you break your promise and use the worse photo of strikingly beautiful @KamalaHarris? We all see you.

— Louise Mensch, M.A. (@LouiseMensch) January 10, 2021

​Other users contended that the photos were unprofessional.

I’ve never seen such poor lighting from Vogue. It’s flat and generic. Please choose the blue suit, so much better. She’s a beautiful woman and these photos are meh.

— Sigmundine 🐝 (@Sigmundine2) January 10, 2021

I meant to say it doesn’t even look professional!

— fanceeMJ (@LuvBugPB) January 10, 2021

​Many users blasted Vogue for choosing clothes that made Harris look too elite or too simple.

I don’t think this is right because she looks too elite. She needs to look like she’s grown into the job. I know there is a lot of double standard with women like Kamala, but she can’t be too elite, she needs to look relatable (working class).

— Brenda (@Brenda38680064) January 10, 2021

Why do you have her in sneakers with my Sorority colors as backdrop?? This is DISRESPECTFUL to Kamala, my Sorors, and to black people! In no way this is how you shoot the first black VP or any VP for that matter. Pull it now!!!

— Lynn (@shuluver1908) January 10, 2021

​Still others recalled that this is not the first time that Vogue has been accused of whitewashing.

Racism is part of Anna W’s brand. Look how they did Lebron

— Renee (@ABougieFeminist) January 10, 2021

If you look at the Simone Biles and Viola Davis covers, there’s a pattern. Looks like @RealAnnaWintour has an issue with strong Black women.

— Kristine S Austin (@ksaust) January 11, 2021

​There were those who liked the photos, however.

I’m seeing crap replies for this exceptional woman’s CLOTHES? After what she’s accomplished and about to take on as VP?! All I see is one fine, happy looking woman pleased with HERSELF. As it should be. @SenKamalaHarris? You are beautiful & you dress to please yourself. 💙🇺🇸

— 𝒮𝓁𝑜𝒶𝓃𝑒 (@THERoyalCrabbit) January 10, 2021

I think it’s a photo designed to convey a strong message about whom she is. Look at the pink satin contrasting with the casual, down to earth outfit with the funky shoes. And then the slogan: “By the people, for the people”. It conveys everything @KamalaHarris is. I love it.

— Sandra Pascoal – Lima (@SPascoalLima) January 10, 2021

​Vogue has not revealed which of the images it will choose for its cover. Incidentally, the magazine was not responsible for the clothes the incoming vice president wore. According to the New York Post, Harris and her team chose the outfits, hairstyle, and makeup she wore.



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