Vanity Fair’s Neverending Hollywood Issue Race Problem


Tomorrow’s February 1st — which means it’s time to dig out that yearly “Is Vanity Fair racist?” headline. Yes, the magazine has unveiled its 2012 Hollywood Issue, and the cover isn’t pretty. No, strike that. It’s a lovely photo, filled with gorgeous, talented starlets. But while there are two women of color — Pariah‘s Adepero Oduye and Paula Patton from Mission Impossible — among the 11 actresses featured on the fold-out cover, all four of the ladies on the left panel that readers will see on newsstands are white. As Jezebel reminds us, this is no fluke: It’s been going on since the ’90s, with some Hollywood Issues excluding non-white actors entirely. Flavorwire editor Caroline Stanley, meanwhile, notes that this isn’t a photographer problem, as several different photographers have shot the cover over the year — it seems to be an editorial decision.

So, what’s going on here? Even if VF was, at one time, unaware of what it was doing, a few years of scrutiny should have gotten its editors thinking about who they aren’t showcasing. Now, we’re left to wonder whether the magazine thinks the risk of putting a non-white actress on the newsstand is so high that it’s worth enduring widespread annual accusations of racism. Readers, what do you think is going on in the VF boardroom?