Beyoncè will cover the September issue of Vogue for the second time this year. The September issue, often considered the most important issue of one of the most influential fashion magazines, is a major piece of Vogue’s brand which only amplifies the significance of the magazine giving the Queen Bey total creative control of the cover.
Vogue turning over the wheel to Beyoncè has resulted in a historic cover. 23-year-old Tyler Mitchell, who Beyoncè chose to capture her cover shot, is the first black photographer to shoot Vogue’s cover in the magazine’s 126-year history. Mitchell is one of the youngest photographers to ever take on a Vogue cover, but he speaks about his work’s purpose passionately.
“For so long, black people have been considered things,” says Mitchell. “We’ve been thingified physically, sexually, emotionally. With my work I’m looking to revitalize and elevate the black body.”
While the significance of the details behind the flowery yet subtle cover image are what drew people to this cover story, the story itself also proved to be unique. Beyoncè’s 2015 September issue cover was not accompanied by a story, and the story accompanying her 2018 cover is notably nontraditional.
The article is written from Beyoncè’s point of view, entirely in her own words. According to Vogue, the article is written “as told to” a journalist. Despite some questions on whether or not this invalidated the story, it gives an in-depth look at various aspects of the pop icon’s life.
On “Pregnancy & Body Acceptance”
“I was 218 pounds the day I gave birth to Rumi and Sir. I was swollen from toxemia and had been on bed rest for over a month. My health and my babies’ health were in danger, so I had an emergency C-section. We spent many weeks in the NICU.”
“I think it’s important for women and men to see and appreciate the beauty in their natural bodies. That’s why I stripped away the wigs and hair extensions and used little makeup for this shoot… To this day my arms, shoulders, breasts, and thighs are fuller. I have a little mommy pouch, and I’m in no rush to get rid of it. I think it’s real.”
On “Opening Doors”
“Until there is a mosaic of perspectives coming from different ethnicities behind the lens, we will continue to have a narrow approach and view of what the world actually looks like”
“If people in powerful positions continue to hire and cast only people who look like them, sound like them, come from the same neighborhoods they grew up in, they will never have a greater understanding of experiences different from their own. They will hire the same models, curate the same art, cast the same actors over and over again, and we will all lose.”
“I come from a lineage of broken male-female relationships, abuse of power, and mistrust… I now believe it’s why God blessed me with my twins. Male and female energy was able to coexist and grow in my blood for the first time. I pray that I am able to break the generational curses in my family and that my children will have less complicated.”
On “My Journey”
” There are many shades on every journey. Nothing is black or white. I’ve been through hell and back, and I’m grateful for every scar. I have experienced betrayals and heartbreaks in many forms. I have had disappointments in business partnerships as well as personal ones, and they all left me feeling neglected, lost, and vulnerable. Through it all I have learned to laugh and cry and grow. ”
“I don’t like too much structure. I like to be free. I’m not alive unless I am creating something. I’m not happy if I’m not creating, if I’m not dreaming, if I’m not creating a dream and making it into something real. I’m not happy if I’m not improving, evolving, moving forward, inspiring, teaching, and learning.”
“I know that most of the young people on the stage and in the audience did not know the history of the black national anthem before Coachella. But they understood the feeling it gave them… It was a celebration of all the people who sacrificed more than we could ever imagine, who moved the world forward so that it could welcome a woman of color to headline such a festival.”
On “OTR II”
“One of the most memorable moments for me on the On the Run II tour was the Berlin show at Olympiastadion, the site of the 1936 Olympics. This is a site that was used to promote the rhetoric of hate, racism, and divisiveness, and it is the place where Jesse Owens won four gold medals, destroying the myth of white supremacy. Less than 90 years later, two black people performed there to a packed, sold-out stadium. When Jay and I sang our final song, we saw everyone smiling, holding hands, kissing, and full of love. To see such human growth and connection—I live for those moments.”
“[My daughters] don’t have to be a certain type or fit into a specific category. They don’t have to be politically correct, as long as they’re authentic, respectful, compassionate, and empathetic. They can explore any religion, fall in love with any race, and love who they want to love… I want the same things for my son. I want him to know that he can be strong and brave but that he can also be sensitive and kind. I want my son to have a high emotional IQ where he is free to be caring, truthful, and honest.”
In true Beyoncè fashion, the September 2018 issue of Vogue is historic, purposeful and controversial. The cover made history and showed black womanhood in a light often missed in the media while the article gives fans the intimate look they’re always asking for from the rarely interviewed Beyoncè.