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Your Good Deed for the Day

Isn't Queen Latifah lovely?The March issue of InStyle is on the stands. Queen Latifah—her usual resplendent self in an ivory Zac Posen dress and lavish-but-understated bling—is on the cover. You should buy it.

I’m not suggesting that you buy it because I think InStyle is a great magazine. Indeed, I almost never buy it myself—or even flip through it while I’m in line at the grocery store (that’s what Star is for). While I adore celebrity gossip, fawning puffery makes me feel a bit unwell. And the fashion is totally half-assed. It’s like Glamour and Real Simple and People mashed together, and I say, “Ick.” No, I am suggesting that you buy this issue because there is a black woman on the cover, and newsstand sales of mainstream women’s magazines generally tank when there is a black woman on the cover.

Personally, I am more likely to buy a magazine with Queen Latifah on the cover than one featuring, say, the newly-emaciated and heinously over-Botoxed Nicole Kidman, as my sense of full-figured-and-naturally-gorgeous solidarity transcends my attachment to racial identity (believe you me, if I could reasonably and conscionably claim to be anything other than perfectly white, I would). Nevertheless, it’s a fact: whenever a fashion or lifestyle mag puts an African-American woman—no matter how famous or how beautiful—their bottom line takes a serious hit. The deleterious effect is similar with other women of color. Thus, women with skin other than lily-white or aerosol-tanned become cover models only through a sort of affirmative-fashion program.

The only way to change this unfortunate state of affairs, the only way to create a newsstand that reflects our diversity, is through economic action. So, grab a copy of InStyle: read the article on Queen Latifah, ignore the piece on ways to update a classic string of pearls (the only way to credibly wear a string of pearls is as a string of pearls), and try to pretend that you didn’t just see Jennifer Love “Why Am I Still Famous?” Hewitt.

February 23, 2005 | Permalink


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