To the editorial staff of Teen Vogue:
Truth be told, I’ve been writing this letter since February, when I first came across Amandla Stenberg and all of her #BlackGirlMagic on the cover of your magazine.
Finally, a mainstream magazine was featuring a strong, smart and confident Black girl on its cover.
I couldn’t wait for the issue to hit newsstands and I was so impressed by the depth and diversity of the content that I STILL have it on my coffee table. Because it was that damn good. And it wasn’t just Black girls, y’all. There were Muslim girls, Asian girls, transgender girls. Every. Girl!!
And then it just. kept. happening!
Then there was Zoe Kravitz.
And we can’t forget about Willow Smith.
It’s about time mainstream media recognize carefree, beautiful Black women.
And then y’all pulled the biggest, bestest, boldest move and made Elaine Welteroth, my ultimate #WCW, the HBIC, or as we say in magazine-speak, the EIC (editor-in-chief).
And I could not have been happier. I literally shrieked and jumped up from my desk when I read the news on Twitter. I’ve always been a fan of Elaine (I follow her on social media and we’ve even tweeted each other, so we’re practically BFFs), so when she made it, I felt like I’d made it.
The similarities are striking: millennial Black women doing the damn thing. Okay, maybe that’s where the similarities stop (actually, we both love Spice Girls and worked for the same publishing company, albeit at different times), so there’s that. But my point is, homegirl slays every day and I have no doubt in my mind that she will continue to do the same for Teen Vogue.
This is a BFD. Imagine if there had been Black girls on the covers of the teen magazines I’d read back in the day. Perhaps I wouldn’t have hated my skin color and begged God to make me White. You see, at that time, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Jessica Simpson and Mandy Moore were the cover girls du jour. Blonde hair. Blue eyes. Big boobs. You get the picture.
It made me feel as though there was something wrong with me. Like Amandla tweeted after she graced the cover of Teen Vogue: #RepresentationMatters. It’s always mattered. And it’s looking like mainstream publications, such as Teen Vogue, are finally getting the memo.
Heck, I’m 28 and considering a subscription! And not only that, but a return to full-time journalism (psst…are y’all hiring?).
It may seem trivial. People have so many negative things to say about media’s role in body image and self-esteem for young girls, but I have to give credit where credit is due and recognize a magazine for acknowledging that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and races. And there’s more to life than concealer and Snapchat.
So, to the editorial staff at Teen Vogue, on behalf of Black girls like me who felt invisible, thank you from the bottom of my heart for showcasing us in all of our beauty (inner and outer), boldness and bad-assery.
A Black teen girl at heart
P.s. But for real, if you have any openings, holla at ya girl!