Vogue has faced a lot of criticism in recent years for its whitewashed covers and editorial pages. While Anna Wintour's magazine — perhaps in response — started occasionally booking models like Chanel Iman and Jourdan Dunn, covers are another story: When Jennifer Hudson made the cover in 2007, she was the first black woman to do so since Berry, in 2002 Liya Kebede, in 2005. Michelle Obama and Beyoncé followed one another on the March and April, 2009, issues, respectively, but in 2008, there was merely also that unfortunate LeBron James cover. Vogue's first -ever black cover model was Beverly Johnson, who did the honors in September, 1974.
Like Candy Pratts-Price says in The September Issue, "September is the January of fashion." The September issue of any fashion magazine is typically a best-seller, crammed as it is with the new fall clothes (and so many $3,000 new fall handbags). If this rumor proves correct — and it might not be, given that there were reports that Gwyneth Paltrow would get the September cover after she shot with Mario Testino last week — it would be the first time a black woman was chosen to front a September issue of Vogue since Johnson's own cover Naomi Campbell's September, 1989, cover, at least as far as I was able to determine. That would be a significant vote of confidence in Halle Berry's newsstand appeal from an unlikely source.
Or perhaps Anna Wintour just wants to prove that she can make a beautiful black actress look just as second-rate as she can any Jessica Biel or Blake Lively out there.