If it seems like we’re running one of these stories every other week (or more), we are—and that’s a good thing. Bucking the longstanding trend of primarily white models and celebs covering magazines, we’ve been seeing a rash of magazines covered by black women this fall—and it’s a trend we’re trying to help make a regularity.
We first saw the wave in September of this year, when a record number of mainstream magazines placed famous black women on their covers, including Beyoncé, Rihanna, Tiffany Haddish and Tracee Ellis Ross, to name a few.
But if that was a watershed moment, the months since have proven that the impact is ongoing, as more magazines have chosen to highlight black beauty—and not only celebrity faces. Disrupting another longstanding trend, models have once again been on the rise in fashion magazines; an especially fortuitous moment for black models, many of whom have spent over a decade relegated to the background, as celebrities took over magazine covers, and their white counterparts dominated runways.
This change may be due in part to the efforts of advocates like fashion industry veteran Bethann Hardison, who has worked tirelessly over the past several years for parity in the industry, penning a now-famous letter in 2013 that called out the lack of diversity on the runways. The letter read, in part:
Eyes are on an industry that season after season watches fashion design houses consistently use … one or no models of color. No matter the intention, the result is racism. ... Whether it’s the decision of the designer, stylist or casting director, that decision to use basically all white models, reveals a trait that is unbecoming to modern society.
Call it modernity or a long-overdue shift, but opportunities for black models have been on the rise as of late—on both magazines and runways. And while we still have a long way to go in achieving true respect and parity, you can bet we’ll be celebrating it wherever we see it.