8 Cases Where A Black Celebrity Was Whitewashed For A Magazine Cover or Ad Campaign


rihanna vogue

Rihanna on Vogue

In 2011, Rihanna took on the cover of Vogue in a stunning black-and-white gown that was overshadowed by the fact that the singing sensation seemed lighter as she sported a blonde wig. “The blonde wig may be throwing us off, but Rihanna is on the cover of British Vogue’s November 2011 issue and she’s looking much lighter,” Colorlines.com wrote of the cover photo. The magazine released a statement suggesting that it was the bright sunlight that caused an issue, but professional photographers took to social media to shoot down that explanation. “C’mon. We have the filters, software, tents and reflectors to take care of some bright sunlight,” one self-proclaimed photographer tweeted along with a screen shot of the magazine’s statement. Another user tweeted, “If it was really that uncontrollable every white star would be a ghost in their beach [pictures].”


Gabourey Sidibe on Elle

It was in 2010 that Elle got called out for not one but two interesting editing choices. Sidibe, who is one of the few darker-skinned actresses in Hollywood, was noticeably lighter on her Elle cover. In addition to the skin-lightening gaffe, some accused the magazine of trying to hide the actress’s size. “Elle has also been criticized because each of the other three cover girls (Megan Fox, Amanda Seyfried and Lauren Conrad) are shown in full length photographs while Sidibe’s image is cropped at chest level,” The Telegraph reported. The magazine staff denied all accusations that they purposely lightened Sidibe’s skin or tried to hide her body.

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