Monday, February 08, 2010

The February Vanity Fair Cover! Who Asked For White Out?

At the risk of me pointing out AGAIN how African-American--and actors/actresses of color in general--are often left out of the Hollywood big picture, Vanity Fair's new cover proves how right I am.

So instead of me saying "I told you so," I'm going to let Doug Melville do it. Melville is President of Red Carpet Runway and has some interesting points on why Vanity Fair's "New Decade, New Hollywood" magazine cover is just plain "out of order". We've never met but I'm about to send him a virtual "high-five" via the internet. This in an excerpt from the article originally printed on Adage.com's website.

Vanity Fair's annual Hollywood Issue has always been on the cutting edge of what's next or what's hot in Tinsel Town. The 2010 edition, boldly titled "A New Decade, A New Hollywood," hits newsstands Feb. 9. But there is already an uproar brewing about the issue's cover. Outlets such as USA Today , E! Online, Huffington Post, and others are taking the magazine to task for a cover that features only white women. This is the second time this year that Vanity Fair finds itself in hot water for its very narrow -- and white -- view of reality.

I hate to tell Vanity Fair this, but nothing about the cover is in line with current trends, or at all an accurate portrayal of the next decade of talent, or even Hollywood's current makeup. Not one mixed person, tan person or Asian person? No one from Bollywood? No one from Latin America? I thought the cover reflected more of an "Old Hollywood" throwback issue. In the 15 years of the Hollywood Issue, never has there been one that has been so one dimensional, or covered such a narrow scope.

During this past decade, Hollywood has actually trended toward more inclusion. The results: record box office numbers. That is a trend that I would expect to continue into the next decade. Diversity is good for audiences and good for business. Even on TV, the formula has worked very well for shows such as "The View" and "Extra," and become part of the programming formula for networks such as TBS.

Which is why this cover is so confusing. Nothing about it screams Hollywood's next decade.

Unfortunately in America, people carry very negative connotations when it comes to discussing or exploring race. Magazine covers have digitally altered black people to help tell the story. They make them appear darker when they commit a crime, or make them look lighter when they're selling make-up and even insert them falsely into photos to make everything look politically correct...

The argument that Ebony, Jet and BET have hot lists with only African Americans on the cover doesn't fly with me as a substitute for having no one recognized by Vanity Fair. Niche magazines that focus on cultural inclusion were started because of situations such as this.


Read the entire article on Adage.com.

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