#VogueChallenge puts Black faces in the spotlight

Story by CBC Kids News • Published 2020-06-11 16:23

DIY Vogue covers rooted in fight against anti-Black racism

The #VogueChallenge has taken on new meaning following an apology from one of the biggest names in fashion.

On June 4, Anna Wintour sent an email to Vogue staff, apologizing for “mistakes” made in her 32 years as editor in chief at the high profile magazine.

The fashion influencer said she hasn’t done enough to amplify Black voices and that she’s even published images and stories that were “hurtful or intolerant.”

How did the world react? By posting more DIY Vogue covers featuring Black and brown faces, of course.

A screen shot from TikTok of a black woman on the cover of Vogue magazine, wearing colourful makeup.

What is the #VogueChallenge?

The #VogueChallenge involves people Photoshopping their own faces onto the cover of the iconic fashion magazine.

It’s hard to confirm the exact origins of the hashtag, but a woman in Norway named Salma Noor said she launched the challenge with this tweet on June 2:

A Black woman with a headscarf appearing to be on the cover of Vogue

Even though the original post only got a few hundred likes, the challenge caught on, spreading to both Instagram and TikTok.

Within a few days, more people were crediting Noor for launching the #VogueChallenge.

A Black woman with a headscarf on the cover of vogue with the tweet: I created the vogue challenge a week ago and didn't get any credit so here is a new one.

Challenge tied to #BLM

In her original post, Noor tagged the Black Lives Matter movement, which has been leading anti-Black racism protests around the world following the death of an unarmed Black man named George Floyd.

But that #BLM message appears to have gotten buried as the hashtag gained momentum.

Mixed messages

Now we’re seeing white grandpas on the cover of Vogue:

An old man on the cover of Vogue sticking out his tongue.

We’re also seeing pets:

A wet dog on the cover of vogue

A form of protest

This has prompted some people to post messages reminding the world of the point of the original hashtag.

Tweet that reads: Hey everyone please don’t treat the Vogue Challenge as an art challenge. It was started because Vogue don’t hire enough black models and photographers. This hashtag is supposed to uplift those voices. I know a lot of you didn’t mean to cause harm.

And some people have apologized for taking part in the challenge.

Tweet that reads: Ok regarding the vogue challenge, I would like to apologize. I had no idea what the origin of the hashtag was and assumed it was just a fun DIY your own vogue cover thing. I did not mean to take up a valuable space in a hashtag that wasn’t meant for me. I’ve deleted my posts.

Next steps for Vogue unclear

As for Wintour, she said in her email that this is a “time of listening, reflection, and humility for those of us in positions of privilege and authority. It should also be a time of action and commitments.”

She said she would announce concrete steps that Vogue magazine plans to take “as soon as possible.”

It’s unclear whether that will include more Black and brown faces on the cover of Vogue, even though that’s clearly what some people are asking for.

Tweet from the Women's Organisation, with images of Black women on the cover of Vogue: In the 127-year history of the US version of Vogue, only 21 Black women have graced the cover solo and there has only been on Black photographer to photograph the cover. Now, Black women are manifesting their own Vogue covers. Welcome to the Vogue Challenge. Your move, Vogue.

With files from The Associated Press
TOP PHOTO: (@capricornbbyy1/Twitter)

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