CALIFORNIA – Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris is featured on the cover of the February edition of Vogue magazine, but her team and people on social media are turning the event into a controversy of sorts, claiming that the photo being used of the first-ever female Vice President is “disrespectful.”
The photo in question is considered by many to be unprofessional in ways, with some calling the lighting “unflattering” and the overall aesthetic considered “messy” and hardly befitting a subject of Harris’ stature. It depicts the Vice President-Elect, 56, in a very casual manner, with skinny jeans, a dark jacket by Donald Deal, pearls, and a pair of Chuck Taylor Converse sneakers; in the background, a large pink curtain awkwardly runs down a wall and overflows onto the floor beneath Harris’ feet.
The image of the cover was first shared online via Twitter on Sunday, and many users complained that it was “disrespectful” and even accused the magazine of lightening Harris’ skin by “washing out” the photo.
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The accusations of lightening the Vice President-Elect’s skin, if true, would be ironic, considering that the photo was taken by Tyler Mitchell, known as the first-ever black photographer to shoot a cover for Vogue – featuring singer Beyoncé – back in 2018. Mitchell has been praised for documenting nuanced expressions of black life throughout his career.
A second cover photo – which ultimately wasn’t used – shows her in a powder blue Michael Kors suit with her arms crossed and a flag pin in her lapel. This photo has been widely considered more appropriate, and according to Harris and her team, it was mutually-agreed that this was going to originally be used for the cover. At the last minute, however, Vogue switched the cover photo to the more causal one, a move that reportedly Harris and her team felt “blindsided” by.
In a statement, Vogue said it chose the more causal image of Harris because it better reflected her “authentic, approachable nature, which we feel is one of the hallmarks of the Biden-Harris administration.”
Harris will be sworn in as Vice President on January 20.