Why Kamala Harris’s Vogue cover has sparked controversy online

Why Kamala Harris’s Vogue cover has sparked controversy online
Short Url
Updated 11 January 2021

Why Kamala Harris’s Vogue cover has sparked controversy online

Vice President elect Kamals Harris photographed by Tyler Mitchell for the Feb 2021 issue of American Vogue. Supplied

DUBAI: Kamala Harris, who made history as the first black woman to be elected vice president in America, is the star of US Vogue’s February 2021 issue, however, many online aren’t pleased with the cover photos. 

Users took to social media platforms, including Twitter and Clubhouse, to express their discontent with the lighting of the two photographs, in which Harris is seen posing against the backdrop of a draped, pink satin fabric.

Online critics accused the publication’s Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour and the magazine for supposedly “white-washing” the vice president-elect.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Vogue (@voguemagazine)

One user called it a “washed-out mess of a cover.” 

“Kamala Harris is about as light skinned as women of color come and Vogue still (redacted) up her lighting,” the commenter wrote.

Other users criticized Wintour, suggesting that she “must not have many Black friends and colleagues.”

“I’ll shoot shots of VP Kamala Harris for free using my Samsung and I’m 100% confident it’ll turn out better than this Vogue cover,” wrote New York Times contributor Wajahat Ali.

Vogue denied to the New York Post it had lightened Harris’s skin after the shoot.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Vogue (@voguemagazine)

The choice of cover image also came under fire over its casual style, with some social media users claiming it didn’t respect the gravity of Harris’s election as the US’s first female vice-president.

The photographs were shot by Tyler Mitchell, who made history as the first African-American photographer to lens a Vogue US cover when he shot Beyonce in 2018.

But according to the New York Post, Harris and her team had full control over the styling, hair and makeup.

She wore a casual black jacket and trousers paired with Converse Chuck Taylor sneakers for one photo and a powder blue Michael Kors pantsuit for the other.

According to a source familiar with the publication plans, the vice president-elect’s team were blindsided by the magazine's choice of cover as it was reportedly not what they were expecting. 

The same source said the Harris team has asked for a new cover, though it should be noted that the print version of the magazine went to press last month. 

A spokesperson for Vogue 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.

“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.”


Palestinian author Susan Abulhawa’s ‘Against the Loveless World’ nominated for US literary award 

Palestinian author Susan Abulhawa’s ‘Against the Loveless World’ nominated for US literary award 
Updated 4 min 48 sec ago

Palestinian author Susan Abulhawa’s ‘Against the Loveless World’ nominated for US literary award 

Palestinian author Susan Abulhawa’s ‘Against the Loveless World’ nominated for US literary award 

DUBAI: US-Palestinian writer Susan Abulhawa’s book “Against the Loveless World” is among the finalists for the 2020 Athenaeum of Philadelphia Literary Award, organizers announced this week. 

Susan Abulhawa is a US-Palestinian writer. (Supplied)

The political activist’s book begins in the Hawalli neighborhood of Kuwait. It tells the story of a woman who has as many names as she has homes, moving from place to place as a child of exiles and becoming one herself during the Gulf War.

With her mother, brother, and grandmother Sitti Wasfiyeh, Nahr navigates a life through Kuwait, Jordan, Palestine, a home she knows so little of, and then an Israeli prison.

With dreams of marriage, of her own children and of freedom, Nahr’s fight to survive a world that is intent on testing her lands her in situations that could break the weak.

In an unthinkably harsh reality, and one that is a continuous experiment in resilience, Abulhawa pushes to the fore themes of identity and adaptability, posing the question: How can an oppressor know roots when they live by unearthing trees?

Read Arab News’ full review of “Against the Loveless World” here.

Abulhawa is competing against author Michele Harper for her book “The Beauty in Breaking” and writer Kiley Reid for her novel “Such a Fun Age.” 

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia museum established its literary award in 1950.

The last two winners for the award in 2019 were British author Edward Posnett and Canadian- American writer Witold Rybczynski for their books “Strange Harvests: The Hidden Histories of Seven Natural Objects” and “Charleston Fancy: Little Houses and Big Dreams in the Holy City” respectively.


Dubai exhibition explores ‘Age of Extreme Self’ in pandemic-hit world

Campaign for 5 Moncler Craig Green SS19 Collection, Craig Green x Moncler. Courtesy of Jameel Arts Centre. Photo by Daniela Baptista
Campaign for 5 Moncler Craig Green SS19 Collection, Craig Green x Moncler. Courtesy of Jameel Arts Centre. Photo by Daniela Baptista
Updated 03 March 2021

Dubai exhibition explores ‘Age of Extreme Self’ in pandemic-hit world

Campaign for 5 Moncler Craig Green SS19 Collection, Craig Green x Moncler. Courtesy of Jameel Arts Centre. Photo by Daniela Baptista

DUBAI: While many industries have slowed over the course of the pandemic, the digital landscape in which we now live has accelerated.

The digital sphere, already fast-tracked before the pandemic through social media and other high-tech elements, is now the focus of our everyday existence. Our life now exists through screens. We work through screens, communicate through screens and connect with others through screens.

We also connect with ourselves through screens, and it is this idea of the self that a pivotal exhibition, “Age of You,” now open at the Jameel Arts Center, says is under threat as a consequence of our widespread digitalization.

Crowd Landscape, 2021, Satoshi Fujiwara. Courtesy of Jameel Arts Centre. Photo by Daniela Baptista



The exhibition, which runs at the Dubai center until Aug. 14, was curated by three of the art world’s most respected curators: Shumon Basar, Douglas Coupland and Hans Ulrich Obrist.

It is based around the trio’s latest book, “The Extreme Self,” a sequel to their previous title, “The Age of Earthquakes: A Guide to the Extreme Present.” The new book features “13 immersive chapters that chart the remaking of one’s interior world as the external world becomes increasingly uncertain.”

Basar told Arab News: “The world in many ways feels unrecognizable from a year ago when the pandemic began. ‘Age of You’ shows you how, and maybe why that’s the case.”

Set across two of Jameel Art Center’s gallery floors, the new exhibition includes graphic design by Daly & Lyon, and works by more than 70 international visual contributors from the worlds of art, design, filmmaking, photography, technology and electronic music.

 

Behold These Glorious Times!, 2017, Trevor Paglen. Courtesy of Jameel Arts Centre. Photo by Daniela Baptista



“Age of You” also includes new commissions that showcase various aspects of what the curators have termed “the extreme self,” including works by Yuri Pattison, Satoshi Fujiwara and Stephanie Saade, whose work deals with screens, crowds and “emoji-as-surveillance.”

There are also films by Trevor Paglen and NVIDIA Research, and audio “deepfakes” by Vocal Synthesis that are created through artificial intelligence. The works of Jenna Sutela, Sara Cwynar and Victoria Sin explore transforming perceptions of the face and the body, while Craig Green’s collection and campaign for Moncler marries menswear with a machine.

“It seems that ‘Age of You’ is one of very few large-scale museum exhibitions to open anywhere in the world this spring, and its subject matter could not be more timely,” Antonia Carver, Jameel Arts Center director, told Arab News.

Illocutionary Utterances, 2018, Victoria Sin. Courtesy of Jameel Arts Centre. Photo by Daniela Baptista


“The exhibition has been in development for a number of years, and its first iteration was at MOCA Toronto, with whom we collaborated on the show,” she added. “It addresses issues that are very ‘now’ — how technology is shaping us, how our data has become the global commodity of today and how our new ‘extreme selves’ are shaping our world.

“But through the pandemic, the exhibition became even more urgent and relevant to our age. The curators adapted the show over the past few months, and brought in further discussion of our online lives and our new understandings of the individual and the crowd.”

The works — a mix of emojis, films, bold statements and installations — relay feelings of happiness, sadness, depression and confusion. Among the highlights is Satoshi Fujiwara’s eight-meter-high, 22-meter-long photographic sculpture that has transformed one of the center’s inner gardens into a surreal skyscraper of faces.

Untitled (iOS emoji content aware fill), 2021, Yuri Pattison.Courtesy of Jameel Arts Centre. Photo by Daniela Baptista



There is also Jenna Sutela’s lava lamp heads, which, according to Basar, “remind us that humans are maybe the most alien life forms on earth.”

Another installation, a 10-meter-high outdoor banner, displays a new Russian doll emoji tagged with four words that reiterate our obsession with the self: “Me. You. It. Us.”

As the viewer walks through the exhibition, they feel the same electrifying and confused pulse that screens in everyday life emanate. “Age of You” emphasizes the obvious: This century’s most valuable resource is you — all of your online behaviors turn into the data and algorithms that dictate the movement of our digital sphere.

“‘Age of You’ addresses a global phenomenon, but as the first post-pandemic exhibition addressing this theme, it’s particularly apt that it is staged in the UAE, in the Gulf, and from here, beams out globally,” said Carver.

‘Age of You,’ Courtesy of Jameel Arts Centre. Photo by Daniela Baptista



“It’s well known that here we have a particular affinity with new technologies, high mobile phone usage, and an intense interest in artificial intelligence, and in debating and developing strategies for the future. This show has a dynamic, seductive theme and design, but it’s not an easy one — it challenges each and every one of us to interrogate our lives and our relationships with technology.”

A book on the exhibition is due for release later this spring. The book “will travel, which means the show will travel, too,” Basar said.

The exhibition leaves us with this question: What if the future is dictated by the unintended consequences of who you are and your online actions? Only time and our actions will tell.


Moroccan-British model Nora Attal voices support for Asian community in the US

Moroccan-British model Nora Attal voices support for Asian community in the US
Updated 03 March 2021

Moroccan-British model Nora Attal voices support for Asian community in the US

Moroccan-British model Nora Attal voices support for Asian community in the US

DUBAI: Moroccan-British model Nora Attal took to Instagram this week to speak up about violence against the Asian community in the US in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. 

She shared an image on her Instagram Stories from a page that reported that a university lecturer was attacked by a racist gang of men in Southampton. 

Instagram/@noraattal

She wrote: “This is disgusting… people are using Asians as a scapegoat to vent their anger.” 

Earlier this week, US-Iraqi beauty mogul Huda Kattan also took to Instagram to voice her concerns. “Sadly these alarming events have had very little attention within the media, and that is not okay,” she wrote in a message she shared on her makeup brand Huda Beauty’s Instagram page on Monday. 


Lebanese designer Rabih Kayrouz makes new collection more accessible 

Lebanese designer Rabih Kayrouz makes new collection more accessible 
Updated 02 March 2021

Lebanese designer Rabih Kayrouz makes new collection more accessible 

Lebanese designer Rabih Kayrouz makes new collection more accessible 

DUBAI: Lebanese designer Rabih Kayrouz has just made his ready-to-wear Spring/Summer 2021 collection more accessible to fashion lovers. 

According to WWD, the founder of Maison Rabin Kayrouz, who is based between Paris and Beirut, has expanded his offerings for the upcoming season and is “shifting prices downward some 20 to 30 percent.”

The designer’s new approach will allow women to turn to Kayrouz for day-to-day ensembles. 

Kayrouz’s new offerings are “soft and playful,” according to the brand’s Instagram page. In his campaign video, the designer showcased dresses, skirts, shirts, trousers and coats in a floral-inspired setting, mixing bold color blocking and fresh prints cut in light fabrics. 

Kayrouz, as well as renowned Lebanese label Elie Saab and Dubai-based atelier Kristina Fidelskaya, is set to present his new creations on March 6 at Paris Fashion Week. 


French-Algerian singer Lolo Zouai slams Nick Jonas on Twitter

The French-Algerian singer called out Nick Jonas in a series of Tweets. File/Instagram
The French-Algerian singer called out Nick Jonas in a series of Tweets. File/Instagram
Updated 02 March 2021

French-Algerian singer Lolo Zouai slams Nick Jonas on Twitter

The French-Algerian singer called out Nick Jonas in a series of Tweets. File/Instagram

DUBAI: French-Algerian pop singer Lolo Zouai has taken to her official Twitter account to call out Nick Jonas for allegedly copying her song “Jade” in a series of Tweets.

Zouai posted a comparison of the first few seconds of Jonas’s newest single “Spaceman” and her song “Jade,” featuring Blood Orange, to hint at the supposed similarities.

Both songs feature warped keys in the beginning. 

“Remember when u flew me out to LA to sign me then ghosted me (sic)” the artist wrote, alongside three cry-laughing emojis. 

Based on the 25-year-old’s tweet, fans were able to deduce that her hit single that catapulted her into fame “High Highs to Low Lows” was partly inspired by Jonas.

“Is that what ‘High Highs to Low Lows’ was written about!?” asked one user, prompting her to respond: “It’s a part of it yes.”

Another fan responded to her Tweet: “Not High Highs to Low Lows being about Nick Jonas I-” 

“Not fully,” replied Zouai. “Don’t give him that much credit! Trust me there r many shady people out here (sic).”

In the song lyrics for “High Highs to Low Lows,” Zouai croons: “Ooh, you wanna help me/Ooh, you wanna fly me out to LA/Dreams you wanna sell me I took a bite/ that’s a gold plate, a gold plate/Timing, he said it’s just bad timing/Lying, all I got from you was silence.”

She also posted a screenshot of a blank iMessage text conversation directed towards the former Jonas Brothers star. “Should I do it?” she asked her 27.6 followers. 

It’s uncertain if she ever did.