Beyoncé's latest Vogue covers have finally arrived and the story behind the cover story is just as moving as the images themselves.
"When I first started, 21 years ago, I was told that it was hard for me to get onto covers of magazines because black people did not sell," Beyoncé told Clover Hope in the prestigious September issue cover story. "Clearly that has been proven a myth. Not only is an African American on the cover of the most important month for Vogue, this is the first ever Vogue cover shot by an African American photographer."
Yes, you read that correctly. In its 125-year history, fashion bible Vogue has never had a black photographer shoot any of its covers. That is until this year, when Beyoncé made the deliberate decision to have 23-year-old Tyler Mitchell photograph both covers and the accompanying editorial spread.
As for Beyoncé's interview, her candid words were told to NYC-based Jezebel Culture editor Clover Hope.
"[Beyoncé] knows silence is as much a tactic as a necessity," Clover wrote in the 2016 essay. "And when it breaks, it’s something magical." So, Beyoncé breaking said silence with an exclusive as-told-to feature penned by another black woman? Black girl magic to the umpteenth power.
For hair and makeup, Beyoncé tapped hairstylist Neal Farinah and makeup artist Sir John, black beauty industry ICONS with whom she's worked with countless times throughout her career.
The magnitude of his work was not loss on Neal: "So many times one is judged by their hair texture or skin color," he wrote on Instagram. "I’m so proud and honored to have been a part of such an amzing [sic] shoot, braiding the queens all natural curly hair! Now what?!"
Rounding out this black excellence is none other than Kwasi Fordjour, who served as creative director on the visually-intoxicating spread which also happened to be his first Vogue cover. Currently a Creative Coordinator at Parkwood Entertainment—Beyonce's management and entertainment company, Fordjour toldOUT Magazine that he got his start by interning for Beyonce's musical director.
In regards to the significance of all of these hires, Beyoncé said it best: "If people in powerful positions continue to hire and cast only people who look like them, sound like them, come from the same neighborhoods they grew up in, they will never have a greater understanding of experiences different from their own," she told Clover. "They will hire the same models, curate the same art, cast the same actors over and over again, and we will all lose."