Black Female Artists Shine on September Magazine Covers

Sami Drasin
Yara Shahidi for The Hollywood Reporter's August 8 issue.

"She's your queen to be."

September's glossy magazine covers are a win for inclusivity.

Several black female actors, activists and musicians are starring on new covers, including Beyonce on American Vogue, Rihanna on British Vogue, Zendaya on Marie Claire, Tracee Ellis Ross on Elle Canada, Lupita Nyong'o on Porter Magazine, Issa Rae on Ebony, Slick Woods on Elle UK, Aja Naomi King on ShapeTiffany Haddish on Glamour and Yada Shahidi on the Aug. 8 "Young Hollywood" issue of The Hollywood Reporter.

Online users are celebrating the development on the all-important September issues — which are traditionally the most-high-profile in fashion.

Rihanna wrote on Instagram she was "honored" to be on editor-in-chief Edward Enninful's first September-issue cover at British Vogue. Woods said she was "forever grateful" for her cover, and Shahidi said, "THR: honored to be a part of the collective reimagining the power and potential of television." The Harvard University-bound actress also posted a gallery of this month's magazine covers and wrote, "All sorts of Brown & Beautiful on these coveted September covers," using the hashtag #BlackGirlMagic.

King (How to Get Away With Murder) posted a collage of the 10 covers on her Instagram, saying "No caption needed." 

 

No Caption Needed.

A post shared by Aja King (@ajanaomi_king) on

During a recent photoshoot with THR, Cynthia Erivo sang into the phone of her hairstylist, Vernon Francois, and he posted it to Instagram along with a montage of covers of black women out this month. Erivo sings, "She's your queen to be." 

For their cover stories, many of the artists opened up about their personal lives. Beyonce talked about her C-section and trying to lose baby weight, saying, "I needed time to heal, to recover. During my recovery, I gave myself self-love and self-care, and I embraced being curvier. I accepted what my body wanted to be." 

To THR, Shahidi talked about her generation's activism: "The thing people don't fully understand about my generation is just how multifaceted we are," she said. "Oftentimes, people like to oversimplify what [we] believe in or do, whether that's, 'Oh, you're on your phones all the time,' or, 'Oh, you're very self-centered,' but what I've seen from my peers is that we're socially engaged and curious about the world." She also talked about Black Lives Matter rallies and protests in Iran from her perspective as "a young black girl with the last name Shahidi who has relatives in Iran." 

Nyong'o discussed her natural hair texture and how it may have hindered her in landing roles. “My hair is something that, historically, has been shunned,” she said. “I mean, how often do you hear, ‘You can’t get a job with hair like that’?”

People online were sure to clarify that this isn't just a moment, but the future. CNN International attributed the photo shoots to the Wakanda Effect, a nod toward the popularity of the Black Panther movie and its stars. Activist and culture critic Roxane Gay quickly shut that down. 

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