Beyonce is on the cover of Vogue again and let’s just say that “it feels like an event” feels like a bit of an understatement. Sure, she’s covered the iconic fashion magazine before (three other times, in fact), but this is the first time Bey — or anyone, really — has ever contractually obligated the magazine’s iron-fisted maven Anna Wintour to relinquish creative control. For the first time in the magazine’s 126 years of publication, an up-and-coming, Black photographer was hired to shoot the cover story subject by Beyonce herself. The results speak for themselves, but that hasn’t stopped social media from chiming in with rapturous reactions.
In the story, reported to Clover Hope in Beyonce’s own words, the hip-hop/R&B royal addresses her pregnancies and body image, creating opportunities for Black photographers and writers, her world-stopping tours and performances, including the recent Coachella takeover that left the Hive buzzing for weeks afterward, and the legacy she is building even now alongside her husband Jay-Z:
My mother taught me the importance not just of being seen but of seeing myself. As the mother of two girls, it’s important to me that they see themselves too—in books, films, and on runways. It’s important to me that they see themselves as CEOs, as bosses, and that they know they can write the script for their own lives—that they can speak their minds and they have no ceiling. They don’t have to be a certain type or fit into a specific category. They don’t have to be politically correct, as long as they’re authentic, respectful, compassionate, and empathetic. They can explore any religion, fall in love with any race, and love who they want to love.
I want the same things for my son. I want him to know that he can be strong and brave but that he can also be sensitive and kind. I want my son to have a high emotional IQ where he is free to be caring, truthful, and honest. It’s everything a woman wants in a man, and yet we don’t teach it to our boys.
I hope to teach my son not to fall victim to what the internet says he should be or how he should love. I want to create better representations for him so he is allowed to reach his full potential as a man, and to teach him that the real magic he possesses in the world is the power to affirm his own existence.
The singer’s fans and collaborators on the project — including 23-year-old photographer Tyler Mitchell, who will almost certainly be considered something of a rockstar in visual creator circles from now on — have responded with jubilance, appreciation, and something like relief that Beyonce used the cover story to finally let down her guard and address the insecurities, hopes, fears, and passions that so many of them share. Check out some of the reactions below, and read the rest of the story here.