Black History Month Snapshot: Kiara Kabukuru for Vogue US July 1997

Kiara Kabukuru  vogue
Kiara Kabukuru for Vogue US 1997.
An Excerpt from the Editor’s Letter that year.

Letter from the Editor
Fashion’s New Face

Within limits, Americans are exceedingly tolerant. We pride ourselves on our “live and let live” ethic, and it’s probably safe to say that we show more respect for racial diversity than any other country in the West. The kinds of hideous public insults that Jackie Robinson endured 50 years ago are now virtually unknown in the United States, although they can still be heard on Saturday afternoons at rowdy soccer matches in Great Britain. While there continue to be unrepentant racists in the States, of course, they do not have the necessary mainstream support to mount major political parties that capture significant portions of the vote – as they do in France and Germany.

That said, America is a country of people with varied backgrounds, many of whom are not above exposing their racial biases. In terms of fashion magazines, for example, it is a fact of life that the color of a model’s skin (or hair, for that matter) dramatically affects newsstand sales. Although it is rare for an issue of Vogue to go to the printer without one or more black models featured prominently inside, black models appear less often than I, and many of you, would like on Vogue’s covers – which, no one will be shocked to hear, are designed to appeal to as large a group of potential readers as possible.

This month, we feature a young, fresh-faced black model named Kiara Kabukuru on our cover, and I am crossing my fingers that Kiara will be embraced by magazine buyers everywhere – not because she’s black but because she’s beautiful.

Anna Wintour

What do you think of Anna’s letter? Some people found it insulting. Do you?
Source: Make Fetch Happen


Claire Sulmers is the publisher and founder of Fashion Bomb Daily, the #43 most influential style magazine in the world.

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