Vogue Slammed for Cover Imposing Unnatural Style on African Models: ‘This Is an Insult’

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Rafael Pavarotti / British Vogue

The February 2022 cover of British Vogue featuring nine African models is being slammed by critics who say the issue’s photo makes the women appear unnatural.

British Vogue‘s Twitter account posted the cover of the magazine, which featured models Adut Akech, Anok Yai, Majesty Amare, Amar Akway, Janet Jumbo, Maty Fall, Nyagua Ruea, Abény Nhial, and Akon Changkou.

But when social media users saw the magazine cover, many took to the comment section of Vogue‘s post to express their dismay with the imagery.

“The only thing this picture celebrates is VERY BAD PHOTOGRAPHY. Vogue, once again, fails epically with this cover,” another Twitter user wrote.

“No. The beauty of black women would show their natural features, not an exaggerated version of blackness,” another reacted.

“Not impressed. U should’ve done this years ago…. with better lighting and no fake hair,” a third said.

“Outright mockery,” another tweeted.

“The photo is too dark. You can’t see the models’ facial features — just blackness. Any good photographer knows that lighting faces can be challenging,” another critiqued. “In this case they decided on NO lighting. Even their black clothes show no texture b/c of no lighting.”

“Please find photographers who know how to light and photograph black people…the injustice!” another Twitter user lamented.

“It’s bloody awful. The styling and aesthetic is entirely wrong. We, as usual, have been erased. This isn’t #BlackGirlMagic, it’s Black Girls Tragic. Sack the damn stylist and photographers. In fact, sack the entire team,” another commented.

“They put these models in terrible lighting, they dressed them all in black like a funeral and they have them all in terrible 60’s style wigs,” another Twitter user added.

“This is an insult,” another reacted. “Why make them wear wigs with such terrible lighting and make them wear black? Why dim out their features and put this picture which is not what they really look like?”

Vogue also posted a behind-the-scenes video of the photo shoot, which social media users say is more evidence that the magazine cover does not showcase the true beauty of the models.

“So you darkened their skin? For what purpose?” one Twitter user asked.

“How is this a celebration of natural black beauty if you darkened their skin, put wigs on everyone, and made them wear black and the whole photo is all dark,” another wrote. “It doesn’t look like a celebration but a strange funeral.”

“Why did you cover their natural hair with wigs?” a third inquired.

“This video is better than the actual shoot and cover…” another Twitter user commented.

“These women are beautiful. I wish we were able to see their natural beauty more in the edits,” another said.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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