Vanity Fair’s Hollywood Issue Pushes Actresses Of Color Aside (Again!)
The 2012 Hollywood Issue cover of Vanity Fair — shot by Mario Testino — features 11 “starlets” shot in satin and feathers for a “‘20s and ’30s boudoir feel.” The ladies on the power panel — the left third, aka the actual newsstand cover — are Rooney Mara, Mia Wasikowska, Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain. Pariah’s Adepero Oduye and Mission Impossible’s Paula Patton are the only two ladies of color, and they are not on the power panel, but on the right two-thirds of the cover, which is folded up and tucked away when on newsstands.
This cover (click to enlarge) is an improvement from the 2010 Young Hollywood cover, which only featured white actresses. But it upholds the unfortunate tradition of shoving the people of color to the right and off if the main panel. Something Vanity Fair has been doing for years. (Usually Annie Leibovitz has been the photographer.)
In 2011, Norman Jean Roy’s photograph had Anthony Mackie and Rashida Jones off to the right.
In 2008, it was Zoë Saldana and America Ferrera. (In 2007, Chris Rock was indeed on the cover and some penguins were on the right. 2006 was Tom Ford and some naked ladies. Black folks also appeared on the Hollywood issue cover in1998 — Djimon Hounsou — and 1999 — Thandie Newton.)
2005: Rosario Dawson, Ziyi Zhang and Kerry Washington, on the right and not the left.
2004: Salma Hayek and Lucy Liu, on the right and not the left power panel.
2003: Samuel L. Jackson and Don Cheadle, off the cover.
2002, Rosario Dawson.
In 2001, no black ladies were pushed aside because no black ladies were photographed!
1997: Jada Pinkett and Jennifer Lopez on the right.
1996: Will Smith on the right.
1995: Angela Basset on the right
2011 was supposedly the whitest Oscars in 10 years. This year, thanks to the decidedly controversial flick The Help, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer have been nominated (and winning!) some major awards. But it’s pretty obvious that Hollywood has a serious problem with diversity. A headline on ColorLines yesterday read: Why is Hollywood So Afraid of Black Women? Of course, it’s not just women; George Lucas recently accused Hollywood of being so racist even he, a successful filmmaker, had trouble getting Red Tails distributed, since it has an all-black cast.
America has a black president. We also have black actresses being recognized for playing maids in a film based on a book written by a white woman who got sued by her family’s black maid who claims the story is “embarrassing” and “emotionally upsetting.” Hollywood might be one of our biggest exports to the rest of the world, but it’s pretty clear it needs an overhaul. Fast.