As I used the morning traffic to take some time to scroll through my facebook, I came across an interesting read. A headline in bold stating “Vogue Spain Declares ‘Black Is Beautiful’ With Black Cover Model Rocking Cornrow,” and I just had to click. After all, how many times would you see such a statement on the cover of a vogue magazine?
This was the March issue for Vogue Spain (Vogue España), with a beautiful Ivorian-British model Aya Jones effortlessly rocking simple cornrows, minimal makeup and hardly any jewelry whatsoever. I could never hope to even look half as good in something so plain, but then I guess that’s why she’s the model. The hairstyle was done by local Botswanan hairstylists, accompanied by Karim Belghiran and Belen Antolín, who assisted in creating her look. While the photoshoot was taken in the beautiful Botswana Okavango Delta by photographer Nico Bustos. The pictures captured show the elegance of a black environment with Jones gracefully blending into the forest like setting, with her style giving of a vintage 70s vibe with its safari looks and neutral palate.
Sincerely, It would’ve been more exciting if it were Vogue America, but it was an incredible and unique shoot by Vogue Spain nonetheless, using a more progressive approach and celebrating the roots of the African culture. It’s incredibly rare for a black women to ever appear on the cover of vogue. Between the years of 1989 to 2011 (that’s 22 years) there have only been about 14 issues in which black women graced the cover! Worse still, is that none of the fourteen were based in Africa, but were rather big shot Black Americans, including Beyonce, Naomi Campbell, Oprah Winfrey, Rihanna, and Michelle Obama. Three years later and our very own Lupita Nyong’o becomes the second Black African to cover Vogue, a magazine that has been running for about 103 years! So with its obvious acts of segregation, is vogue slowly accepting and embracing more of Africa, or is it all just a marketing gimmick?