The Magazine Stand Is Looking Very Diverse These Days — & It's About Time

I was eight years old when I fell in love with magazines. The glossy pages, slightly sticky and heavily scented perfume samples, and the supermodels in insanely decadent haute couture designs drew me in from the very start. But even as a kid, I noticed something missing: people who looked like me and the women in my life. Aside from Essence, I rarely saw women of color.
There's always been a myth that brown faces don't sell copies. Even if you've got a big, buzzy project out, all priority seems to go to the A-listers with the long, blonde or brown hair and fair skin. According to Fashionista, only 31.3% of 2017's major magazine covers (including Allure, Cosmopolitan, Vogue, and Elle) featured people of color. Which is progress from the late '90s, but there's still a lot of work to be done.
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Thankfully, we're happy to report that the tide is changing. It's not uncommon to see natural hair, dark skin, and curvy bodies peering up at you from your local bookstore or the airport today. Each cover is hard proof that the industry's standards of beauty are finally changing, which gives the next generation something to look forward to. See all of the latest brown and Black 2018 cover stars, ahead.
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As The Cut's Fall Fashion cover star, Tessa Thompson serves up a variety of beautiful braided looks. Our favorite of the styles — courtesy of celebrity hairstylist Lacy Redway— is a waist-grazing look that features an embellished headpiece by Gucci.
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"When I first started, 21 years ago, I was told that it was hard for me to get onto covers of magazines because black people did not sell. Clearly that has been proven a myth," Beyoncé tells Vogue for its September issue. "Not only is an African American on the cover of the most important month for Vogue, this is the first-ever Vogue cover shot by an African American photographer [Tyler Mitchell]."
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Bey isn't the only one making editorial history. Rihanna became the first Black woman to grace the cover of British Vogue's September issue in its 102-year history.
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What could be better than Zendaya giving us '60s vibes for Marie Claire's September issue? Well, knowing that Janet Mock interviewed her for the cover story. "It’s important to have a conversation where we are opening the door to our peers and more Black women who don’t necessarily look like us," Zendaya tells Mock.
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The first Emmy-winning actor of Asian descent gets up close and personal for the September issue of British GQ, telling his followers, "Let’s shake things up."
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@traceeellisross
Tracee Ellis Ross has been slaying the cover game this year—including this one for Elle Canada's September 2018 issue—and we're here for all of it. More Tracee please.
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GQ Style is revamping its entire look (logo and design) in the fall fashion issue, and the team chose none other than Tyler the Creator as the cover star.
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@harpersbazaarus
Kanye West appears on Harper's BAZAAR's fifth annual ICONS edition—titled BAZAAR ICONS 2018: The First Families of Music—alongside two of his three children, North and Saint.
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Tiffany Haddish brought color and curls to the September cover of Glamour. "I’m your typical chick from the hood. And as ratchet as I might talk, or people might think I carry myself, I am making a living portraying myself," she tells the magazine.
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Jaden Smith, named one of Time magazine’s most influential teens more than once, was an excellent choice for Dazed's autumn issue.
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@portermagazine
“Being featured on the cover of a magazine fulfills me, as it is an opportunity to show other dark, kinky-haired people, and particularly our children, that they are beautiful just the way they are," Lupita Nyong’o tells PORTER magazine as their September cover star.
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Photo: Via @heymichellelee.
“Everyone doesn't look the same way, so the world needs to be trained to see beauty differently," Priyanka Chopra said in her Allure cover story.
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Photo: Via @ashleygraham.
Model Paloma Elsesser called her Vogue Arabia cover (alongside Ashley Graham) an "incredible honor."
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Kendrick Lamar, who won a Pulitzer Prize for DAMN, said in his Vanity Fair cover story that this is only the beginning for him. "It just motivates me to do more. I don’t want to get complacent."
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Photo: Via @jameelajamilofficial.
Jameela Jamil told the Vera staff that she didn't want her pics Photoshopped... and she looks damn good, too. "Hi squishy legs and normal 32-year-old knees," she captioned on Twitter.
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"No perm in it," Nikki Nelms, who styled Janelle Monáe's hair, wrote.
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How does Janet Jackson manage to always look flawless?! Hopefully, she spills her secrets in Essence.
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Camila Cabello's messy waves and glowy makeup are hotter than Havana.
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Believe it or not, but Nicki Minaj's hair was 59 inches long for her Elle shoot.
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Photo: Via @traceeellisross.
Tracee Ellis Ross looks more and more like her mom each year — and who'd complain about that?!
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Photo: Via @bazaaruk.
Boy, does Serena Williams know her way around a good curl.
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Danai Gurira looks insanely powerful on Women's Health...
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... and simultaneously graceful on her Ebony cover.
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Winnie Harlow's glittery liner and perfectly-matte red lip are what dreams are made of.
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Of course, Pharrell was the very best choice for L'Uomo Vogue's relaunch.
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Photo: Via @papermagazine.
"When you truly understand the humanness of queerness, there are no rules to this shit," Kehlani said.
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Hi, mom and dad.
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