Black Twitter Slams Teen Vogue for Featuring Only Fair-Skinned Models in Feature About Senegalese Twists

Some argue the magazine missed out on an opportunity to give some face time to brown-skinned girls, since it rarely does. 

Photo from the June/July 2015 issue of Teen Vogue
Photo from the June/July 2015 issue of Teen Vogue Screenshot

It’s happened before.

Marie Claire treated cornrows like the newest sensation when a few Hollywood “it girls” (read: white), like Kendall Jenner, wore them. And then Elle declared that Timberland boots were now “in” just because, again, white celebrities were embracing them.

In both instances, black Twitter rang the “cultural appropriation” bell and reminded these outlets that trends and looks don’t become new when white folks discover them. The message, essentially, was, stop Columbusing beauty and fashion practices prevalent in African-American communities. 

Now Teen Vogue is getting some of that Twitter action. In the June/July issue, one of its editors wrote about how she went to Rwanda and got Senegalese twists put in. The editor, Elaine Welteroth, a black woman, took photos of the process, and Teen Vogue ran those photos in the online version of the story. The print version of the story, however, features models and celebrities who are all fair-skinned or white.

Some saw it as a blatant dismissal of black women, especially chocolate-complexioned women, since there seemed to be a deliberate decision to change the visual direction of the story in its print form.

Twitter was not here for that omission and scolded the magazine for it. Even though some mistook Welteroth for a white woman, the basis of the concern was that the print visuals featured lighter women.