Who Needs Vanity Fair?
Single-Minded: With all the niche media on the Web, we can honor stars of color in our own way.
None of that is to say that Oduye and, to a lesser extent, Patton don't belong on the cover. Both actresses have the star quality that Hollywood values most: talent and tenacity. Just being in the Hollywood issue will most likely kick in more doors for both women. So I'm pretty sure when they showed up to the shoot months ago, their first thought was "Hallelujah," not "Oh, hell no."
But, of course, that doesn't dismiss the fact, as several blogs have highlighted this week, that since its first Hollywood issue in 1995 when Angela Bassett was featured on the back panel (along with Sarah Jessica Parker and Sandra Bullock), Vanity Fair has shone its spotlight on only 21 actors of color -- including America Ferrera, Salma Hayek and Lucy Liu. And no nonwhite actor has ever been featured on the "power panel." That is a problem. A pervasive one, in fact. But it doesn't seem to be one "we" can necessarily fix unless more brown faces show up at Vanity Fair's editorial-board meetings.
ColorLines, a daily news site run by a "multiracial team of writers," Photoshopped its own Hollywood issue recently, giving a little shine to actresses like Issa Rae of the Web series Awkward Black Girl and Naya Rivera of Glee. Last month Ebony magazine displayed four of the black stars of Red Tails on its cover. Kerry Washington graces the March issue of Essence, and in the past, the magazine has featured Ruby Dee and Jennifer Hudson on the cover of their "black women of Hollywood" issue.
There is no doubt that inclusion has never been any mainstream magazine's modus operandi. Perusing the newsstands is nothing like looking in the mirror, whether you're looking for women of color or women with curves. But with the explosion of niche media -- meaning you go online and devour all the news designed for you, finding images, interviews and pretty much anything about anyone -- the outrage about exclusion is slowly losing some steam.
Sure, Vanity Fair has spent nearly the past two decades regularly not giving a damn about shooting a more colorful cover of Hollywood, so why get wounded every year? Instead head to places (you are here) that make it their mission to take matters into their hands, like the YBF, Racialicious, ColorLines and Shadow and Act, to name a few.