Who Needs Vanity Fair?
Single-Minded: With all the niche media on the Web, we can honor stars of color in our own way.
It happens the same way every year. After all the popcorn's popped, the sticky Jujubes swept away and the only red carpet that really matters is slowly unfurled, Vanity Fair releases its annual "Hollywood" issue.
For almost 18 years, the March magazine cover has always been packed with as much star power as physically possible. But what's always missing? Black folk. And what's not? Black-blogosphere outrage. So as surely as VF never fails to ignore black star power, the magazine's omission never fails to spark awards seasonal debate.
In its 2012 iteration, the Hollywood issue features "a bevy of Hollywood's most precocious beauties" in a somewhat ironic "Jazz Age" setup. Ironic because the uniquely American musical genre was the product of African-American genius. The 11 "beauties" sporting styles made internationally famous by the likes of Josephine Baker and Billie Holiday are Rooney Mara, Mia Wasikowska, Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain, Elizabeth Olsen, Adepero Oduye, Shailene Woodley, Paula Patton, Felicity Jones, Lily Collins and Brit Marling. Oduye and Patton are the only women of color in the bunch.
I, for one, was delighted to see Oduye on the cover -- even if she was stunting in the second panel. Oduye's performance in Pariah was nothing short of transformative. She was goose-bump good and deserves, more than any other actress, to hold court on that cover. For her part, Patton is very pretty. Her most recent role in Mission: Impossible -- Ghost Protocol was more of the same badass Bond Girl box into which Hollywood likes to pack pretty girls.
According to the popular pop-culture blog with a feminist twist, Jezebel, the only two actresses of color on the cover were somehow slighted by Vanity Fair because "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." But it's also true that the "power panel" is occupied by three Oscar nominees -- Mara for her startling role in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Chastain for her supporting role in The Help and Lawrence, who was nominated for best actress in 2010 for Winter's Bone and who'll star in The Hunger Games, the film version of the wildly popular best-selling books. The other woman on the "power panel" is Wasikowska, who was fabulous in The Kids Are All Right and most recently Jane Eyre and Albert Nobbs.