With Beyoncé's Help, 'Vogue' Just Did Something It Has Never Done In Its 126-Year History

"It's important to me that I help open doors for younger artists."

Who better to tell Beyoncé's story than Beyoncé herself? That's exactly what we get with the 2018 Vogue September issue, which features the Lemonade singer gracing the cover and writing the very open and honest story that accompanies it.

This news comes on the heels of Yashar Ali's HuffPost report that Beyoncé had been given "unprecedented" control" over the many aspects of the September issue from Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour. All that was teased came to fruition and we are lucky enough to get Beyoncé's opinion on body image, that incredible Coachella set she blessed us with, her journey thus far, freedom, ancestry, and opening doors — as told to Clover Hope.

It's perhaps this last point that is the most powerful takeaway, as the Houston native was able to choose the photographer for her own cover. In the end, she went with 23-year-old Tyler Mitchell, who has the distinction of being the first Black photographer to shoot a Vogue cover — not just a September issue — in the magazine's 126-year history.

"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," Beyoncé wrote.

The mother of three explained how, when she began in the industry 21 years ago, the powers that be told her that Black people didn't sell magazines and therefore covers would be out of reach. This, Beyoncé noted, has been "proven a myth." 

"It's important to me that I help open doors for younger artists. There are so many cultural and societal barriers to entry that I like to do what I can to level the playing field, to present a different point of view for people who may feel like their voices don't matter," the 22-time Grammy winner continued. "Imagine if someone hadn't given a chance to the brilliant women who came before me: Josephine Baker, Nina Simone, Eartha Kitt, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, and the list goes on. They opened the doors for me, and I pray that I'm doing all I can to open the doors for the next generation of talents."

The piece added that if those in charge don't hire and cast people who differ from them — whether that be looks, sounds, or background — then we will miss out on "a greater understanding of experiences different from their own." That means we'll just continue to get more of the same and lose out on various possibilities.

"The beauty of social media is it's completely democratic," Beyoncé concluded. "Everyone has a say. Everyone's voice counts, and everyone has a chance to paint the world from their own perspective."

As for Mitchell, the young photographer took to Instagram to call this moment "as much about forming firsts as it is about leaving legacies" and that he is "honored to have worked with such an icon."

Cover image: JStone / Shutterstock.com 

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