Triple Threat: Beyoncé's Newest Vogue Covers Once Again Make History—This Time, With a 21-Year-Old Black Woman

Illustration for article titled Triple Threat: Beyoncés Newest Vogue Covers Once Again Make History—This Time, With a 21-Year-Old Black Woman
Screenshot: Kennedi Carter for Vogue/Condé Nast

There’s B’Day, and then, there’s Bey Week—which is a bit like Shark Week, but with much more buzz. Beyoncé kicked off the week building the buzz about her latest (and already sold out) Ivy Park drop with Adidas—her second since the label’s relaunch—and is ending it with the debut of three covers of British Vogue’s December issue.

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The issue marks the third anniversary for British Vogue Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful (coincidentally, today also marks my third anniversary as an editor at The Root), who also interviews Beyoncé for the issue and styled her via Zoom. And much like Beyoncé’s historic September cover story for American Vogue in which a then 23-year-old Tyler Mitchell became the first Black (and possibly youngest) photographer to shoot a cover for the famed fashion magazine, this appearance marks another first: Honoring Beyoncé’s request to be photographed by a woman of color, she and Enninful chose 21-year-old North Carolinian Kennedi Carter to shoot Bey’s trio of covers and a 20-page fashion story, making her the youngest photographer to shoot a cover of British Vogue (or potentially, any edition in the franchise)—let alone, three at once.

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“It feels like it dropped out of the sky,” says the aptly named Carter, a Beyoncé fan since age 3 (adorably, the same age Bey’s twins Sir and Rumi are now), tells Vogue. “I’m 21… I haven’t really had many opportunities like this.

“I thought I wouldn’t be able to do something at this level unless I was older, with many years in the game,” she added, crediting fellow Black female photographer and 2020 The Root 100 honoree Dana Scruggs for helping to elevate her work. “This is for people at the pinnacle of their careers.”

Well, we hope you’re ready for the climb, Kennedi. To our delight, Carter’s website describes her as: “a photographer with a primary focus on Black subjects,” whose work “highlights the aesthetics & sociopolitical aspects of Black life as well as the overlooked beauties of the Black experience: skin, texture, trauma, peace, love and community. Her work aims to reinvent notions of creativity and confidence in the realm of Blackness.”

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To which we say: COME THRU, SIS!

And what was it like photographing one of the most famous women in the world? “I was just going with the flow. I had done a lot of research into how she works, and I had underestimated how much she’s willing to submit herself to a vision and truly become someone else’s muse,” Carter, an African American studies major in the 2021 class of University of North Carolina at Greensboro told the magazine. “Plus she’s from Texas. So she has that energy.”

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“Everyone always wants to know what it’s like to work with Beyoncé and her incredible team, and the answer is… flawless,” Enninful writes in his editor’s letter. “A perfectionist to the core, more than anything, she wanted her Vogue moment to be filled with positivity as this trickiest of years draws to a close.”

Well, consider us exponentially more positive after the news. If Bey has her way, the kids are gonna be alright, after all.

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“It’s really amazing that she’s using her influence to be able to give young artists this experience, and allowing their voices to be heard. She’s opening the door for others,” says Carter.

The December issue of British Vogue, starring Beyoncé and shot by Kennedi Carter, will hit newsstands on November 6.

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, co-host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door...May I borrow some sugar?

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DISCUSSION

thedamesgotmoxie
LaRockyMay!

In the past, when I’ve looked at Bey and Solange, I’ve recognized the familial connection, but I never thought they looked alike. That third cover has schooled me.

With the exception of Vanity Fair, I haven’t opened a physical magazine in 4evah...looks like I’ll be picking up a December issue of British Vogue....Kennedi’s got some chops.