Kamala Harris Vogue Cover Controversy: What’s Going on Here?
12th January 2021

Kamala Harris is the first woman to ever be elected Vice President of the United States.

As such, she’s also the female Vice President-Elect to cover an issue of Vogue.

But while this would seem like a cause for celebration, the following snapshot has actually turned instead into yet another contentious political issue.

Allow us to explain why:

For starters, the photograph above was taken by Tyler Mitchell, who famously became the first Black photographer to shoot an American Vogue cover when he captured Beyonce for the magazine’s September 2018 issue.

As you can see, Harris is wearing a black jacket and Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers in the picture.

It’s a relaxed look. It’s a laid back look. And it’s a look many folks out there does not befit someone of Harris’ stature.

According to various insiders, Harris and her team believed editors were going to choose a different photo for the cover.

You see, the California Senator also posed in a powder blue shirt, with an American flag pin attached to the lapel.

It’s a far more professional look. It doesn’t feature Harris in sneakers. 

And it also has a gold background, which you can see immediately below:

Harris allegedly believed this second photo would be on the cover, while the far more casual image would appear inside of the magazine.

An Entertainment Tonight source Vogue editors and the futurer Vice President’s advisors were in touch constantly throughout the process — and at no point did Vogue tell Harris’ team they were switching the cover.

“In this moment where the country is so divided, where we need serious leaders, the blue and gold shot represents that,” the source says.

“That would never have been approved, and Harris’ team is extremely disappointed.”

A spokesperson for Vogue, meanwhile, has spoken to CNN/

This individual did not comment on the discussions between the magazine and the Vice President-elect’s team.

However, he/she said in an emailed statement that Vogue “loved the images Tyler Mitchell shot and felt the more informal image captured Vice President-elect Harris’s authentic, approachable nature — which we feel is one of the hallmarks of the Biden/Harris administration.”

The statement concluded:

“To respond to the seriousness of this moment in history, and the role she has to play leading our country forward, we’re celebrating both images of her as covers digitally.”

Explaining the influences behind the cover shoot, Vogue also said that the apple green and salmon pink background on the cover was inspired by the colors of Howard University’s Alpha Kappa Alpha, the “first historically African American sorority.”

An accompanying article said that Mitchell had wanted to “honor Harris’s college days and the powerful women who comprise the ranks of sororities like Alpha Kappa Alpha.”

The article emphasized that the Vice President-elect’s styling choices “were her own,” and that the image “reflects Harris at her casual best.”

Still, however, critics say the pictures made Harris’ skin appear “washed out” and were out-of-keeping with Vogue’s glamorous aesthetic.

Playwright and lawyer Wajahat Ali described it as a “mess up,” adding that Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour “must really not have Black friends and colleagues.”

This may or may not be true.

But at least Harris can always sit back and admire another recent magazine cover shoot, one in which she was named Time Person of the Year, along with Joe Biden:

Is this Vogue scandal really that big of a scandal?

Probably not.

At least not compared with a violent insurrection incited by the President of the United States.

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