There’s Something About Vanity Fair



By now, I’m sure you have had the chance to see or pick up a copy of the July, Vanity Fair Issue; which displays 20 star packed covers on the magazine stands from Barack Obama to Jay Z, George Clooney, Iman, and even President Bush. The magazine photos were done by renowned celebrity photographer: Annie Liebovitz.

In the issue which singer and activist Bono is featured as guest editor he states the one thing that stars have in common is:

They are all passionate about Africa.”

“That’s what this issue of Vanity Fair is all about,” Bono says.

It’s about trying to bring some sex appeal to the idea of wanting to change the world.”

Supermodel Iman, as always, seems willing to help in the sex appeal department by sliding out of her dress on one of the infamous covers.

I love the fact that the issue was, in fact, is still selling like hot-cakes; and although the intent is good and showcases a sort of celebration of Africa. I do have a bit that baffles and worries me.

 I don’t understand why a magazine issue is covering “Africa” when most of these celebrities and some activists on the cover are well, American?

Why not mix it up a bit by having Alicia keys looking up to Wangari Maathai, or President Bush and Nelson Mandela standing side by side? I would have loved to see more indigenous Africans on the cover. One or two celebrities would have been enough; it now looks as though they are just eager to get another photo-op.

One thing this magazine cover is accomplishing, yet again, is that it is showcasing Africa as if it were just a cause.

Why do people treat Africa as if it were one country, with one language, and one religion, ‘one’? They forget that this continent has 54 countries, that within these countries lies many more regions and states. They forget that this land has over 800 million people who speak thousands of languages. Who, believe or not have their own artists, celebrities, political leaders, musicians, and activists; which I’m sure people such as I would have loved to read about.

So, to be honest I won’t be the one in line shelling out cash for a copy of this issue. If I can’t read about what people from this great continent have to say. Then why call it the “AFRICA” issue?




Filed under Africa, Art, Charity, Culture, Current Events, Design, Horn of Africa, Magazines, Media, Mode, News, Reviews, Thoughts, World

7 responses to “There’s Something About Vanity Fair

  1. great point! great post!… “africa” may also simply be a PR gig for some. for some sustainability mix it up with african people and perspectives

  2. Very true! Thanks for the comments!

  3. unheardphilosopher

    “it now looks as though they are just eager to get another photo-op.”

    Indeed, Africa has just became another way to win ‘the popularity contest’. I sincerely admire those who trully extend ideas to better Africa. However, many misunderstood the activism purpose and instead use it as personal gain. Hopefully ‘squeezing my eyes’ Africa will preveil the pity of those filthy put me in the spot light self recognition needing bastards.

  4. Aya

    You are spot on in your analyses.

    Unfortunately, the covers of Vanity Fair and the coverage on the continent of Africa are not aimed at someone like you. They are aimed at the ‘average’ American who knows that Africa is a continent but couldn’t be bothered to learn of the countries.

    The magazine is also in line with today’s obsession with celebrities. They are the only ones selling goods and their activism photo ops are the 21st century missionary trips.

  5. wellyalmeida

    great post… People are selling millions of wrong view about Africa in loads of of magazine, newspapers and broadcast companies. I admire too much organizations like Make Trade Fair, One and so where artists are join together to help Africa but I agree when you say that if it’s an Africa Issue it should have to be about African people. But you know as well as I know that there’s always some marketing behind things, mainly Africa.

  6. You’re so right, Africa has become the fashionable cause. Everyone and their brother is so ‘concerned’ and would like to ‘help’.

    I was pissed off two months ago (I think it was the Vogue May issue if I am not wrong) when I saw a whole series of Keira Knightley photos in Kenya, entitled (and I am paraphrasing here) Keira Vacations in Kenya to help Africa! I mean, Kenya is in such a deep abyss that it needs Keira’s vacations to bring it up…

    Anyway, it’s as Aya said, we’re not the target audience. Sad.

  7. the bit with keira and kenya was bloody embarrassing!!! it was just reminiscent of the old days of british aristocracy…not representative of the true country that KY is…

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