Kamala Harris’ Vogue cover was supposed to be a landmark moment: It was supposed to be a visual representation for all young women looking up at traditionally male-dominated positions and seeing a woman, especially a woman of colour, break the glass ceiling. Instead, the cover has become the center of controversy for allegedly 'lightning' Harris' skin colour.
Kamala Harris is the current United States VP-Elect, and will be the first woman in American history to hold the position of Vice President. She will also be the first woman of colour to ever hold this high a political position in United States. The cover, aiming to celebrate that, however, is drawing flak on Twitter.
The caption for Harris, which should have been about the history she's creating, turned it into just fashion: "Be the people, for the people, the United States of Fashion.”
Other than making it about her dressing style, they also may have lightened her skin colour, either by post-Photoshop, or simply by strategic lighting, which was pointed out by several on Twitter.
Kamala Harris is about as light skinned as women of color come and Vogue still fvcked up her lighting. WTF is this washed out mess of a cover? pic.twitter.com/5O2q0axA0G — E. Vaughan (@HypeVaughan) January 10, 2021
Wait that Kamala Vogue cover is real?! I thought it was fake—that’s how bad it is. Did they just ask her to send them photos her husband took or — ⚖️Imani Gandy ⚖️ (@AngryBlackLady) January 10, 2021
Is this real?.. looks like the pictures my mom forced me to take just to send to my grandma ... — ’ (@DarkCollegeGuy) January 10, 2021
The lighting is poor, she doesn’t look fully made up and the quality of the photography and angle aren’t up to the standard of Vogue covers past. It just isn’t quality. pic.twitter.com/Sn6hDsr2QY — Brooke W (@MamaWetzel) January 10, 2021
That’s a better word. Muted. She has a lot of personality and vibrancy. The pose also feels... casual? But in a bad way. Like it was a lighting test. Her other covers: pic.twitter.com/hudIOHRP8X — Brooke W (@MamaWetzel) January 10, 2021
Some fashion magazine news.... 1. The February Vogue cover featuring VP-elect Kamala Harris has been widely criticized on social media this evening But according to a source familiar with the publication plans, this is not the cover that the Vice President-elect's team expected pic.twitter.com/lBC9DnfYNC — Yashar Ali (@yashar) January 10, 2021
Here’s 4 images of Kamala Harris that I had *saved in my phone* that are better than that Vogue cover. I’d say something about how women who exude power in ways that aren’t traditionally read as “feminine” get played in the media, and that’s true. But also Tops Deserve Better!! pic.twitter.com/L3Q8fE1dYh — Carmen Phillips (@carmencitaloves) January 10, 2021
The cover with the pink backdrop is so fugly please stop sharing it, she deserves better — Sharon ☕️👩🏾🍳 (@foreversmsm) January 10, 2021
But turns out, Vogue magazine may have gone rogue on Harris and published this photo as the cover, even without her and her team's consent.
Her team says there’s a problem: the shot of the country’s soon-to-be No. 2 leader isn’t what both sides had agreed upon, her team says.
Instead of the powder blue power suit Harris wore for her cover shoot, the first African American woman elected vice president is instead seen in more casual attire and wearing Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers, which she sometimes wore on the campaign trail.
Harris’ team was unaware that the cover photo had been switched until images leaked late Saturday, according to a person involved in the negotiations over how Harris would be featured on the cover. Harris’ office declined comment and the person spoke Sunday on condition of anonymity.
The 'other' online cover was later released online, but will only be the digital cover for the magazine and the brown suits remains the print version.
Harris, who is of Jamaican and Indian descent, posed in the light blue suit in front of a gold backdrop for the magazine’s cover. She also posed, more casually dressed in slacks, a blazer and sneakers in front of a pink and green background, for photos that were planned for inside the magazine, the person said. Pink and green are the colors of Harris’ college sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha.
Vogue has released both images online, but the photo of a sneaker-clad Harris is the one that will grace the cover of the fashion bible’s print edition.
The person with knowledge of the negotiations said Harris’ team has expressed to Vogue its disappointment over the magazine’s decision.