Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is splashed on the February cover of Vogue, but many social media users are less than thrilled with the magazine’s photo choice.
Two covers are posted with the interview, both shot by Tyler Mitchell, the Black photographer who was hired to shoot Beyoncé for the magazine in 2018. One depicts Harris, 56, in a powder-blue Michael Kors power suit, her arms crossed, with a flag pin on her lapel. The second, more controversial image shows Harris in a more casual black Donald Deal jacket, wearing matching Converse Chuck Taylors, pearls around her neck, and standing against a pink and green backdrop, which the magazine described as a nod to her Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
Fans slammed the latter image when it surfaced early Sunday morning on Twitter, calling it disrespectful and speculating that the image was deliberately washed out to lighten her skin.
USA TODAY has reached out to Vogue for comment.
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“Kamala Harris is about as light skinned as women of color come and Vogue still (expletive) up her lighting,” @HypeVaughan tweeted, calling it a “washed out mess of a cover.”
“It’s just far, far below the standards of Vogue. They didn’t put thought into it,” @cmclymer tweeted. “Like homework finished the morning it’s due. Disrespectful.”
“What a mess up,” @WajahatAli wrote. “(Vogue editor in chief) Anna Wintour must really not have Black friends and colleagues.” Later, he added, “I’ll shoot shots of VP Kamala Harris for free using my Samsung and I’m 100% confident it’ll turn out better than this Vogue cover.”
“sooo sorry about that Kamala Vogue cover guys my dad insisted on taking the photo,” comic Jenny Yang tweeted. “ugh DAD!“
Vogue shared the covers side by side: “Making history was the first step,” the magazine tweeted. “Now Harris has an even more monumental task: to help heal a fractured America – and lead it out of crisis.”
It’s unclear whether different covers will appear on the magazine’s newsstand and subscriber editions, or if one cover is digital only. Mitchell, the photographer who took both images, opted to tweet the blue-suit version, which has been received more positively.
“Now that’s a cover shot for the most powerful woman in the world,” @nicolebbdos1 replied to Mitchell.
@Free_Spirit2972 praised both covers, saying she “absolutely” loved the light blue suit shot. “I thought the other cover was playful with her wearing the Converse sneakers. I will be getting both.”
New York Magazine contributor Yashar Ali, who initially shared the image on Twitter, tweeted that the maligned cover will appear in print.
Thus far, Harris hasn’t responded to or shared either cover.
In the interview, conducted weeks before the riot at the U.S. Capitol to protest election results, Harris spoke about hate and unity.
“At the risk of oversimplifying it, you don’t meet hate with hate,” Harris told Vogue. “You don’t meet one line of division with another line of division. We believe that the vast majority of American people don’t agree with that approach, don’t accept it, and don’t like it.
“We can agree that we have more in common than what separates us,” she added. “And agree that it’s not in the best interest of who we are as a nation to have any one group suffer for who they are.”