In the wake of the murder of George Floyd and calls for the fashion industry to become more inclusive, British Vogue’s editor-in-chief Edward Enninful says the cover serves as an important statement of anti-tokenism.
“No longer just one or two dark-skinned girls mingled backstage,” the British Ghanaian wrote in a lengthy Instagram caption. “But a host of top models took a meaningful, substantial, and equal place among the most successful women working in fashion today.”
Featured on the cover are Nyagua Ruea, Adut Akech, Anok Yai, Majesty Amare, Amar Akway, Janet Jumbo, Maty Fall, Abény Nhial, and Akon Changkou.
“I know there’s so many little black girls who will look at this cover and feel something. I hope it makes you feel seen, heard and happy as it did me,” Ruea wrote.
The cover’s photographer, Rafael Pavarotti, says the photo serves as a “celebration of women, of matriarchy and of the beauty of Black women.”
Speaking on the all-Black, all-African cover, Enninful was inspired by the natural beauty and grace of the supermodels.
“I saw all these incredible models from across Africa who were just so vivacious and smart,” Enninful recalled. “These girls are redefining what it is to be a fashion model.”
In a separate Instagram post, Enninful expressed his pride and joy being a part of the shift from a Eurocentric hold on a global industry.
“The rise of African representation in modeling is not only about symbolism, nor even simple beauty standards,” he wrote.
“It is about the elevation of a continent. It is about economics, access, culture, perspective, difference and wonder. And it is here to stay.”