W Magazine's April cover celebrates rising young Hollywood stars, deeming them the "Dream Teens" of 2016. In the issue and online, the publication is giving Kiernan Shipka, 16, Zendaya, 19, and Willow Smith, 16 a platform to "Mouth Off" and embrace their new place as trendsetters in the film, music, and fashion worlds. But the cover image has fans and critics ready to mouth off as well.
Initial reactions to the cover, which was released earlier today, were predominantly positive. The three teens have a large combined fan base, many of whom are vocal on social media. "YASS SQUAD GOALS AF" commented Instagram user oddstephh. Another with the handle nvtkingcold, wrote, "The only magazine I'd seriously think of buying."
But others noticed that Zendaya and Smith both look paler than usual. Like, whitewashed pale. Users on both platforms are having the same conversation by tweeting and commenting at the magazine and Zendaya, asking them to explain the light appearance of the stars' skin tones. On Instagram, the comments ranged from, "This is cool but the whitewashing ruins it," by user celina.costaa, to bby.lys' question, "Why are they making them as white as possible?"
The conversation continued on Twitter.
This is not the first time that a publication would be accused of whitewashing a cover star.
None of the featured stars nor the magazine have responded to the online criticism yet, but we will update this post when they do.