Embattled editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour is currently weathering the storm of the ultimate switcheroo, that suddenly tosses her legendary attributes in the bin of questionable items.
The saying goes, “Fashion is like eating, you shouldn’t stick to the same menu…”
It appears that the chilliness of the revered icon, who rules supreme over an industry that has been notorious for shutting out Black faces, in favor of the more viable currency of whiteness has melted from the heat of growing discontent, and rightfully aimed criticism, condemning Wintour’s decades-long reign of fashionable bigotry.
The nation and the whole world is ablaze with activism in strong reaction to the unfathomable season of police brutality and gun violence, that continues to target Black lives with the normalized expendability that can no longer be tolerated.
Naturally, the systemic racism that stems from the normalized culprit of white supremacy isn’t just permeating the activities of law enforcement and the judicial system.
Every facet of American life is a diseased extension of this national epidemic, and the symptoms are showcased through the willful determination to rely on the preferred default of exclusion, to guarantee that influential roles in notable industries will continue to be inhabited by white men and white women.
The damning testimonies implicating Wintour, and other high-ranking notables at places like ABC News, where a senior vice president of talent and business affairs, Barbara Fedida, has since been put on administrative leave, following disturbing allegations about fostering an abusive environment, are starting to flow with the debris of activated payback.
Fedida has been accused of making vile comments about prominent Black talents, including longtime Good Morning America staple Robin Roberts. She allegedly commented that Roberts wasn’t being tasked with “picking cotton” while performing her duties of overseeing contract renewals and salary negotiations for anchors and big name producers.
Ironically enough, Fedida’s primary objective is to proactively ensure that the hiring practices of ABC News adheres to the standards for “diversity programs for the network.”
So it’s both fascinating and troubling to swallow the bitter truth of how an over-paid and over-powered bigot, who had the audacity to refer to The View’s Sunny Hostin as “low rent,” and has a long history of being offensive towards Black employees is also the trusted authority when it comes to advancing the quest for employing talents of color.
For her part, Fedida denies the allegations levied against her and swiftly ordered her attorney to release a statement on her behalf:
“I am proud of my decades of work of hiring, supporting and promoting talented journalists of color,” the statement said. “And, unlike these heartbreaking and incredibly misleading claims about me, that track record is well-documented and undeniable.”
Well, we don’t expect anything less from a privileged white woman, who has enjoyed the treat of avoiding disciplinary measures, due to her untouchability, despite the lengthy and very serious complaints that were discarded in favor of retaining her services.
Only time will tell how this unfolding case will play out, but like they say:
There’s no smoke without fire.
It’s impossible to believe that Barbara Fedida is being victimized by an army of conspirators, who are capitalizing on this unprecedented moment in history to cruelly orchestrate the demise of her career by tarnishing her reputation with false accusations.
Anna Wintour has taken a more humbling approach by issuing a heartfelt apology in the form of a memo to Vogue staffers, where she boringly pointed out the obvious and valiantly assumed the blame for the fashion bible’s storied history as the destination for all things white and beautiful.
“I want to say plainly that I know Vogue has not found enough ways to elevate and give space to black editors, writers, photographers, designers and other creators. We have made mistakes too, publishing images or stories that have been hurtful or intolerant. I take full responsibility for those mistakes.”
Wintour isn’t at all regretful for refusing to deviate from the blueprint of white excellence, that she inherited with the full knowledge that she would continue to uphold the traditions of exploiting uncredited Black originators, while populating magazine covers and pages with recycled images of the preferred default.
Supermodel Beverly Johnson, who made history as the first-ever Black face on the iconic American Vogue cover in 1974, recently divulged her disappointment in Condé Nast, stemming from the media giant’s refusal to maximize the exposure of Black models and designers.
“Black culture contributes enormously to the fashion industry. But black people are not compensated for it. Brands do not retain and promote the many talented black professionals already in the fashion, beauty and media workforce. Brands do not significantly invest in black designers. The fashion industry pirates blackness for profit while excluding black people and preventing them from monetizing their talents.”
It’s also worth noting that Johnson’s former publicist exposed the legendary bitchiness of Anna Wintour by confirming that the ice queen wasn’t too keen on inviting his client to Vogue’s 100th anniversary party back in 1992.
John Hester had to literally go on his hands and knees to convince Wintour that Beverly Johnson, the trailblazer who opened doors for a handful of gratified successors, more than deserved to attend the fashion event of the decade.
And now we are inundated with think pieces about Wintour’s uncertain future at the helm of a controversial relic, that lost its shine way before former friend and previous editor-in-chief of American Vogue, Andre Talley authored a tell-all memoir, that blatantly describes the callous way he was unceremoniously removed from covering the 2018 Met Ball — a role he had relished for five years.
Talley was subsequently iced out of further commitments at Vogue and his close friendship with Wintour soured after it was abundantly clear that the damage from her betrayal was irreparable.
In response to Wintour’s pathetic confession of being defiantly tone-deaf and grossly negligent when it comes to championing the healthy representation of all variations of beauty in their most vibrant hues and regal features, Talley said it best:
“[Wintour’s] statement came out of the space of white privilege”. “I want to say one thing: Dame Anna Wintour is a colonial broad, she’s a colonial dame, she comes from British, she’s part of an environment of colonialism. She is entitled and I do not think she will ever let anything get in the way of her white privilege.”
Instead of contemplating the future of Vogue, we should be eagerly plotting its demise!
Who needs Vogue?
In order to defeat the systemic racism that has caused the wasteland containing unfulfilled manifestations of countless Black talents, who didn’t stand a chance against the bigoted ideologies of white authoritative decision-makers — we have to dismantle the old order to make way for the dawn of a new day.
When was the last time you flipped through the pages of American Vogue, or even clicked through their website?
Instead of trying to fix what’s irretrievably broken, we are better off creating what we envision for the future.
We can start by discarding the crimes of the past, along with the perpetrators, who will be remembered for their vital contributions and glaring failures.
Instagram is outfitted with lenses to futuristic vibes that are compiled by Black and Brown auteurs from all over the globe, who don’t need to be featured by an ailing institution that doesn’t have the guts to explore anything beyond Kendall, Gigi, and Bella.
Anna Wintour has made her mark, and there’s not much else for her to do but fade away into the illustrious class of white women, who were not revolutionary in their approach to fashion and beauty, even though they were surrounded by inspirations that demanded those values.
We need another prolific marker that will boldly accomplish what Vogue couldn’t because of the obsession with whiteness that led to the endearing dull canvas.
Let Vogue die an unremarkable death.
C’est la vie!