It’s a shame when the thought of “box braids” and baby hairs are so easily co-opted by the likes of Elle UK and Katy Perry. Sadly, this is the world we live in. But the most recent cover of Vogue Spain makes us not want to quit civilization.
For the March 2016 issue of the Spanish fashion bible, French-Ivorian beauty Aya Jones boasts cornrows and is giving us #BlackGirlMagic in the fields of Southern Africa — and we are here for it.
She is stunning doing it, too. And the magazine’s cover line confirms what we already know: “Black Is Beautiful.” Shot by Nico Bustos in Botswana, the spread features Jones as “The Queen of Africa,” unapologetically spotlighting the brown-skinned model as we experience the country through her eyes, from the excitement of a Safari to her slaying on the rugged terrain.
Most important, this sub-saharan world Jones resides in is one where her natural hair is front and center. And not to start some #TeamRelaxed vs #TeamNatural debate, but Jones also had her hair done by local Black women, which is important, too. She's not some token on her own continent; she is part of an ongoing community.
And that really matters, in a world where Black models are clear that they are on the margins and overlooked.
While I am here for this celebration for its utter amazingness, it is bothersome that, like in Italian Vogue's "Black Issue," in order to showcase this kind of diversity it means it happening in an one-off issue instead of incorporating these messages into the mag's regular grind. Yet, I also recognize that it is what it is and we all know that regardless of which country this publication originates from, being on the cover of Vogue matters, in every single way.
And so I raise a glass to the mag's editors, the gatekeepers of the fashion world, for confirming that fair skin and straight hair isn't the only beauty that should be celebrated. Thank you for allowing us to bask in our authentic beauty and worthiness. Because low-key, in order to believe it and be it, we have to see it. And this is an issue that Black girls will see and honor for generations.
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(Photo: Vogue Spain)
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