On Saturday, January 9, it was reported Kamala Harris, the nation's first female, Black, and Indian Vice President, would be on the February cover of Vogue.
The cover image chosen was leaked at the same time.
Vice president-elect Kamala Harris is on the cover of Vogue’s February issue https://t.co/NGxhyGaoS9— models daily (@models daily)1610243814.0
Unfortunately, the leaked image of the upcoming cover was considered so bad many people online questioned whether it was even real.
@supermodeldaiIy it says “United States of Fashion” but they got her dressed like that... https://t.co/qoigo0W319— Cedrica (@Cedrica)1610247817.0
@supermodeldaiIy This can't be real. It's not even in focus.— Alisha Grauso (@Alisha Grauso)1610253449.0
@supermodeldaiIy @deray As a stylist, I can’t even with this. Please tell me this is a deep fake 🙏🏽— Another Sara (@Another Sara)1610246836.0
The photo, which to many seemed slightly out of focus, featured the future Vice President in her trademark converse and a casual black suit smiling in front of an awkwardly-colored backdrop.
@supermodeldaiIy why the hell would they do her so dirty smh...— hyonene (@hyonene)1610245040.0
Some fashion magazine news.... 1. The February Vogue cover featuring VP-elect Kamala Harris has been widely critic… https://t.co/siAB4AWWid— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@Yashar Ali 🐘)1610257794.0
It was reported the image in question wasn't the cover photo Harris' staff agreed to after the shoot, leading many to wonder why Vogue leadership sent it to print.
Anna Wintour needs to go. If the only time her team can properly style a black women is when she’s covered in coutu… https://t.co/fsFMIZUS8T— MVP Harris (@MVP Harris)1610247830.0
The magazine revealed a second "digital" cover featuring Harris in a blue suit.
Sources claimed it was this other photo that was the cover Harris' team expected to see go to print.
Just to add to the convo: A source tells me the now- pink and green cover wasn’t even selected by the Harris’ team… https://t.co/aIOODk0GdZ— Jasmine Wright (@Jasmine Wright)1610302939.0
@voguemagazine @KamalaHarris Kamala is stunning. You have to really work at it to find an unflattering frame. How d… https://t.co/03Au2J7lfv— Melvin Mccray (@Melvin Mccray)1610307373.0
@voguemagazine @KamalaHarris It’s pretty obvious that Kamala wasn’t expecting to be photographed for a Vogue cover… https://t.co/eKyWbjsoHp— Michaela Newell (@Michaela Newell)1610343024.0
Vogue's difficulty photographing Black women has been a running theme for many Twitter users.
Ok I have been reading Vogue for the past year and I myself have noticed how unfavorable the covers with black wome… https://t.co/ECSoN5kGWJ— dany (@dany)1610256585.0
I worked in the fashion industry, and now in politics, the first picture is below the magazine's cover standards ev… https://t.co/S2L96n0sCY— eddie (@eddie)1610296728.0
@voguemagazine has access to the best of everything in the industry yet: They didn't seem to style the VP-elect fo… https://t.co/n9jWbOCUqE— eddie (@eddie)1610297276.0
The entire situation caused an intense online backlash.
Most importantly, @KamalaHarris did not agree to the cover sent to print. She is the first Black woman to serve i… https://t.co/nyZFolyC4N— eddie (@eddie)1610297533.0
People felt one of the world's premiere fashion magazines should be able to properly light and photograph Black women.
Many assumed details about the photographer.
@nicolettemason Does Vogue know any photographers that know how to light Black women? Just curious.— Sailor Ghoul 👻✨ (@Sailor Ghoul 👻✨)1610245847.0
@PTA_Daddy It appears that they never style & light Black women properly. Remember the Serena and the Simone Biles… https://t.co/1utG2cZo9E— Chris (@Chris)1610251042.0
Both photos were taken by Tyler Mitchell.
Mitchell became the first Black photographer to do an American Vogue cover when he shot Beyoncé in 2018. Mitchell shared only the photo of Harris in the blue suit to his Instagram.
In an official statement, Vogue said:
"[We] loved the images Tyler Mitchell shot and felt the more informal image captured Vice President-elect Harris's authentic, approachable nature—which we feel is one of the hallmarks of the Biden/Harris administration."
The Vogue cover is for February 2021, but the magazine reportedly was printed in December 2020 negating the possibility of changing the cover image now.