Are Magazine Covers Racially Segregating OITNB Cast Members?

Photo courtesy Netflix
As we get ever closer to the June 12 Season 3 premiere of Netflix hit Orange Is the New Black, the cast and crew seem to be popping up everywhere, from creator Jenji Kohan's teasing talk with The Hollywood Reporter (the third season will be "a little lighter") to Samira Wiley's NPR interview (she doesn't know why Poussey's incarcerated, either) to Uzo Aduba's profile in The New York Times (in case you were wondering, Crazy Eyes loves SoulCycle). But the anticipation flooding the internet isn't entirely what has our attention this morning, unfortunately; rather, it's the nature of the coverage itself. As Fusion points out in a provocative opinion piece, the Orange Is the New Black cast members appear to be racially segregated on the covers of major magazines, with the disparity becoming specifically apparent upon comparing the July Essence and Rolling Stone covers. Many on Twitter are quick to agree.
On the cover of Essence, actresses Laverne Cox, Uzo Aduba, Samira Wiley, Danielle Brooks, Adrienne C. Moore, and Vicky Jeudy sit comfortably together on a beach in orange gowns, reflecting what Fusion calls "the black sisterhood that has always been the, well, essence of Essence magazine." On Rolling Stone, Laura Prepon and Taylor Schilling are all sexed up, leaning in to each other and teasing their onscreen romance. (The article accompanying the RS cover features interviews with many more members of the cast, btw.) One could certainly argue that this is merely the magazines catering to their respective demographics: Essence serves a predominately black female audience, while Rolling Stone is geared for a young, largely white, male readership. But many see more: By sexualizing the two white female protagonists on their own, while Cox and company are shown as a group of strong, black women not overtly flirting for the camera, a subtle line between the races is drawn. We say, let's have more covers that show the breadth of this great show, like this Entertainment Weekly gem from last summer.

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