Monday, February 10, 2014

Vanity Fair's Hollywood "Issue"

This is the most black actors Vanity Fair has ever featured on the cover of their annual Hollywood Issue. There's six of 'em. Count 'em SIX. As a black actress my heart beat faster and my skin got tingly when I saw these actors amongst George Clooney and Julia Roberts. "Wow! What progress!" I thought.

As quickly as I felt the joy it was gone like the let down after you eat a pint of ice cream. Progress!!? It took them nineteen years to populate the cover with more than one black person. Why can't one of the black actresses be strewn across sex symbol Idris Elba's lap? (Granted if I were Julia Roberts I would have elbowed any one of the other ingenues who tried to take my spot.)

The image of Ms. Roberts and Mr. Elba pleases me because I know it will piss off many a racist who abhors interracial anything. Yet the image saddens me because it's a missed opportunity to show a black woman on a black man's lap on the cover of an iconic magazine or a black man standing on his own. How about that? She even has her hand on Chiwetel Ejiofor's shoulder! That's just greedy, Julia. The gesture turns the focus away from the black men and features the white actress. Nothing new here.

Google "Vanity Fair Hollywood 2014" and there are dozens of articles touting the grand accomplishment of the Vanity Fair Editors to finally have the realization that there are actors of color worthy of their cover. Nobody challenges the fact that there are no other ethnicities represented. Too often the discussion on race stops at black and white as if there are no other minorities who are discriminated against and underrepresented.

One step forward, two steps back.

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