What a difference a year makes! Only 365 days ago, we were celebrating the birth of The Root’s newest baby, a beauty, fashion and women’s empowerment blog coyly titled The Glow Up. A year, one awards season, two Fashion Months (and a Cruise Collection Week) and well over 1,000 posts later, we’re slightly older, hopefully much wiser and continuing to evolve daily, in ways large and small.
If you’ve followed us from the beginning, first of all, thank you—and even more so if you’ve become a part of our community on social media, as well. The last year hasn’t been without some major changes: in our staff, our focus, and the beauty and fashion industries at large.
Some highlights we’ve covered since launching on Nov. 29, 2017?
- “The Fenty Effect,” inspired by the 40-shade foundation launch of Fenty Beauty in September of 2017, earns Rihanna’s company accolades and awards and continues to spark seismic changes throughout the beauty industry, making full-spectrum beauty an expectation rather an exception, from the department store to the drugstore aisle.
- Carmen de Lavallade was honored by the Kennedy Center.
- With the December 2017 issue, Edward Enninful made his debut as the first black man (or black person, in general) to helm British Vogue. As Condé Nast continues to shift, there’s now growing buzz that Enninful may eventually helm the Vogue flagships in both the U.S. and U.K.
- Over a decade after its genesis, the #MeToo movement unexpectedly caught fire, and black women rallied to make sure its founder and leader, Tarana Burke, got the credit and platform she deserved.
- Black Panther became a record-breaking blockbuster and inspiration for generations, thanks in large part to the talents of Academy Award-nominated costume designer Ruth Carter, production designer Hannah Beachler and hair designer Camille Friend.
- Mary J. Blige made history as the first black woman to be nominated for both an acting Oscar and Oscar for Best Song in a single year.
- Virgil Abloh hit the stratosphere as a designer, winning the British Fashion award for Streetwear Designer of the Year, and taking the helm as Creative Director of Menswear for Louis Vuitton.
- Rihanna co-hosted the 2018 Met Gala, giving us an epic Catholicism-inspired fashion moment, alongside Zendaya, Chadwick Boseman, Janelle Monae and more.
- The British royal family crowned its first openly black royal, as Meghan Markle left her acting career to become the Duchess of Sussex and wife to Prince Harry. Countless fashion moments and a royal baby are on the way.
- Issa Rae made history as the first black woman to host the Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards in 2018, wearing exclusively black designers throughout the night. Tracee Ellis Ross then repeated the gesture for the 2018 American Music Awards.
- Pose debuted on FX to rave reviews, making history as the first television show with a cast of trans women as its primary leads, and the first to have a trans woman director, as show writer and producer Janet Mock made her directorial debut.
- Rihanna became the first black woman to cover British Vogue’s September issue.
- At only 23, Tyler Mitchell became the first black photographer to photograph a cover of American Vogue—with Beyoncé as his subject for the coveted September issue.
- September 2018 would end up being a watershed for fashion magazines, as a history-making number of black women were featured on magazine covers worldwide—a trend that continued well into November.
- Rihanna added to her multi-hyphenate success by launching another all-inclusive brand, Savage x Fenty. Her lingerie runway show closed New York Fall Fashion Week 2018.
- Pat McGrath’s eponymous makeup empire was valued at a billion dollars within only two years of its debut.
- Serena Williams returned to the court—and the finals of the US Open—within a year of the life-threatening birth of her daughter. She also managed to launch a fashion line.
- Pyer Moss designer Kerby Jean-Raymond continued to rise and was rewarded for his efforts with a 2018 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award.
- Cicely Tyson became the first black woman to win an honorary Oscar at age 93.
And there were many, many more successes this first year—many by talents and entrepreneurs you haven’t even heard of (yet)—and we were there to cover those stories, as well.
Of course, there were unexpected shifts in our original lineup this year. After co-creating The Glow Up and helping to make it newsworthy, our ever-luminous supermodel-in-residence and former editor, Veronica Webb, departed in June to explore other opportunities (though she’s still dipped back in, from time-to-time).
And then, there was one. Since I took over the reins of the bulk of our content and day-to-day operations, there understandably have been questions about what gets reported and how—and, in the words of our editor-in-chief, Danielle Belton (who conceived of The Glow Up), “How the beauty sausage gets made.”
So, how do we get it done? Well, like any great look, it’s a matter of mixing high and low, playing up our best features and doing careful editing. (And despite the fact that I’m fond of writing in the royal “we,” The Glow Up runs daily as a primarily solo operation these days.) With a minimum of regular contributors outside of our trusty Root staff, constructive conversations and feedback from our readers (I’ll repeat: constructive) keep The Glow Up clued in to what’s important to you—as do your clicks, so keep us posted. We’re looking forward to spending another year growing with you.