Thursday, March 8, 2007

En Vogue

Jennifer Hudson made history when she portrayed Florence Ballard in the musical DreamGirls. Her success as she won both the Golden Globe and Oscar for best-support actress uplifted the collective spirit of the African-American community, full-figured women, the underdog and many, many supporters who cheered her breakthrough performance.

So this spring as Jennifer Hudson became the first African-American singer to appear on the cover of US fashion magazine Vogue and the third African-American celebrity to grace the cover of the fashion bible - many have wondered what happened. I was thrilled to see Jennifer on the cover and purchased the magazine at Marsh grocery store. I believe it was probably the 5th time in my lifetime that I have purchased the magazine. I wanted to actively demonstrate my appreciation for their decision to put Ms. Hudson on the cover. Yet, I didn't necessarily believe that these pictures were as flattering as others I've seen. This wasn't a perfect success - but it was success.

The gossip blogs and commentaries have been all too critical about the photos. Many of their criticisms are easily understood. I have looked at the eagle spread piano photo several times, and well - I wish the photographer had rethought that one. Nonetheless, she made the cover.

The discussion should be about the beauty of Jennifer's skin. Her red carpet walks have been filled with grace, excitement and curvaceous splendor on most occassions. If we all looked in the mirror on any given day - we'd ask for a pass when we didn't make the mark. I don't think this is a Jennifer issue at all - Vogue is a fashion magazine. They make millions as a fashion icon that sets the standard for style. They selected photos that at face value don't live up to the potential of the subject and for that I'm a little saddened. Those feelings are however overshadowed by my joy in seeing her face amongst the size 2 models that mimic one another. The cover is a victory for me.

If anything I think the average person should share their feedback from Vogue AFTER they purchase the magazine. In a society driven by the dollar Vogue makes decisions based on their bottom line. They will undoubtedly be more responsive to consumers and more inclined to put women on the cover that reflect the overall society, when we approach the situation as a business matter. It is good business to recognize natural beauty and talent. I'll pay for that and celebrate Jennifer Hudson's upteenth victory any day. Congratulations Vogue - I hope the next cover lives up to its full potential.

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