Should white women grace the covers of magazines with intended black audiences? That’s the question Jada Pinkett Smith tackled on her Facebook page when she addressed the lack of black women on the covers of the best selling women’s magazines in the U.S. Pinkett-Smith challenges traditional black publications, such as Essence and Ebony, to feature white women on their pages if they want to lead the way for magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair and Vogue to do the same with women of color.
Here at Popular Critic, we highlighted how actress Kerry Washington is having her Hollywood moment but she is not being featured on the major women’s magazines like other breakout stars such as Jennifer Lawrence. Perhaps if ‘Essence’ featured the ‘Hunger Games’ star on their magazine, the folks over at ‘Elle’ will take notice and reach out to more women of color to do the same. At least that’s what Mrs. Smith is suggesting. Here is her full-length message to her fan base via Facebook.
“Will there ever be a day in which women will be able to see each other beyond race, class, and culture?
There is a question I want to ask today. I’m asking this question in the spirit of thinking outside of the box in order to open doors to new possibilities. These possibilities may be realistic or unrealistic. I also want to make it clear that there is no finger pointing here. I pose this question with the hope that it opens a discussion about how we can build a community for women based upon us all taking a deeper interest in one another. An interest where skin color, culture, and social class does not create barriers in sharing the commonality of being… women. With love and respect to all parties involved, my question is this…if we ask our white sisters, who tend to be the guardians of the covers of mainstream magazines, to consider women of color to grace these covers, should we not offer the same consideration to white women to grace our covers? Should women extend their power to other women simply because they are women? To my women of color, I am clear we must have something of our own, but is it possible to share in the spirit in which we ask our white sisters to share with us? I don’t know the answer and would love to hear your thoughts.”
It’s a novel idea. Sometimes in order to get what you want, you have to give it. That notion makes sense in many aspects of life. However, if the staff at ‘Essence’ and ‘Ebony’ began featuring white models, would that automatically prompt editors at other women’s magazines to feature unconventional models on their covers? Or, would there simply be more white models on magazines and less women of color?
Magazines catering to black audiences were created as a response to the systematic exclusion of women of color in the modeling and magazine industry. Pinkett-Smith is suggesting that times have changed. Do your own research though. The next time you’re in the grocery store or book store, scan the magazine aisle and count how many women of color you see gracing the covers of magazines like ‘Elle’, ‘Vogue’ and ‘Marie Claire.’ Then think about what Jada is proposing. Are you for black magazines leading the way to racial equality through featuring white cover models or do you think it should happen the other way around?