A few months ago, Page Six was the first to report that Anna Wintour would be stepping down as Editor-in-Chief of Vogue after her daughter’s wedding and wrapping the all-important September issue. Page Six followed up last week with the scoop that Anna’s final issue would feature Beyoncé. Page Six clearly has a really great Condé Nast source.
Yesterday, Yashar Ali, after crediting Page Six with the initial exclusive, came in with some exclusive details of his own:
1. SCOOP: For what is likely to be her final September issue of Vogue as editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour has given @Beyonce unprecedented control over the cover, captions, and photographer. Essentially, Beyonce is the editor-in-chief https://t.co/vfZQAXKC2Z— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) July 30, 2018
So to recap: Beyoncé will cover the September 2018 issue of Vogue, supposedly Anna Wintour’s farewell. There is no interview. Beyoncé will write her own captions. She also chose the photographer, Tyler Mitchell, 23, the first black photographer to shoot the Vogue cover in the magazine’s 126 history. Once again, the Queen is showing her work. Showing the f-cking sh-t out of her work, by flexing her power to uplift overlooked creatives and open new doors in their careers, as she has been doing, often very quietly, over the last few years of her career. This is something she doesn’t get enough credit for, something Duana and I have often discussed on Show Your Work. And she’s now starting to take that credit, sure, because she deserves it, but also because she’s modelling that kind of example for others.
What Beyoncé has done here is exhilarating. Because no one tells Anna Wintour what to do. Beyoncé did that. Anna Wintour has no say in the clothes, in the mood, she doesn’t get to choose which shot ends up on the first page. She doesn’t get to decide on which Beyoncé angles are the best angles. Instead, she’s been TOLD BY BEYONCĖ that this is what the cover of her magazine will look like and, yes, fine, that’s a total ego trip and she’s a control freak but… at the same time… you know what else B has done? She is… educa-shaming. She’s educating and shaming Vogue and Anna Wintour. She just took over the steering wheel, put Vogue and Anna in the backseat and told them about themselves, showed them their blindspots, showed them how they could do better. While giving shine to a young artist who will now be booked out for at least the next year. And maintaining her lock on her own brand and image – Beyoncé by Beyoncé and no one else.
No one else.
This is also, remember, what she did at Beychella. She took over that stage and scolded them from the top of an HBCU pyramid, dragging their asses for never having had a black woman headline the festival. It was a takeover at the Louvre too – shooting her video inside the world’s most famous museum, interrogating and reinterpreting art through the lens of her blackness.
Coachella, the Louvre, rumour has it the Colosseum, and now Vogue - Beyoncé is toppling institutions.
“In a way, Beyoncé is exploiting/marketing her blackness as creativity — as a kind of weapon — within and against the very Eurocentric system of culture and consumption from which she has benefited,” says James Smalls, a professor of art history at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
This is how Beyoncé is spending her capital. By leveraging her considerable influence to rewrite the system.
No one else.