Vanity Fair cover is by Black photographer for first time

For the first time in its 107-year-history, Vanity Fair magazine has featured the work of a Black photographer on its cover.

Dario Calmese, who has previously photographed the actors Billy Porter and George MacKay for the magazine, captured the the image of the Emmy-, Oscar- and Tony-award-winning actor Viola Davis for the July/August issue.

“This month brings its own milestone. To the best of our knowledge, it is the first Vanity Fair cover made by a Black photographer,” wrote Radhika Jones in her editor’s letter for the issue. “This is his first major magazine cover, and we celebrate him and honor his vision at this heightened moment in American history.”


Presenting our July/August cover star: @ViolaDavis. The Oscar winner—who’s set to star as Michelle Obama and blues legend Ma Rainey—talks to @SoniaSaraiya about her journey out of poverty and into the deeply troubling Hollywood system.

July 14, 2020

Jones also mentioned that in Davis’s interview with the magazine, in which she says she feels her “entire life has been a protest”, she draws attention to the fact it is still rare for the magazine to feature Black cover stars.

“Our cover star this month is Viola Davis, and in the course of her conversation with Sonia Saraiya, she points to an incontrovertible fact about this magazine: ‘They’ve had a problem in the past with putting Black women on the covers,’” Jones wrote.

“For most of the magazine’s history, a Black artist, athlete, or politician appearing on a regular monthly issue of Vanity Fair was a rare occurrence. In our archives, excluding groups and special issues, we count 17 Black people on the cover of Vanity Fair in the 35 years between 1983 and 2017.”

For this cover, Calmese shot Davis in portrait in a blue Max Mara dress worn backwards. The image is based on The Scourged Back, a photo from 1863 of a man, Gordon, who escaped slavery but whose back was marked by repeated whippings.

“This image reclaims that narrative,” Calmese is quoted as saying, “transmuting the white gaze on black suffering into the black gaze of grace, elegance and beauty.”

However, his comments about the image in an interview with the New York Times – “I know this was a moment to be, like, extra black” – have drawn some criticism online for aligning Davis, as a darker-skinned woman, with a negative slave image.

Twitter user Zoé wrote: “‘Extra black’ is doing so much, again not in a good way … If we could collectively stop doing dark skinned black women so damn dirty, that would be great.”

It follows criticism of the August issue of Vogue, which, like Vanity Fair, is also published by Condé Nast, and features the Olympic athlete Simone Biles on the cover.

Social media users have said the image of Biles, dressed in a Bottega Veneta bodysuit and shot by Annie Leibovitz, was badly lit considering her skin tone.

Twitter user Nowlen Webb wrote: “This @simone_biles shoot was great but again, I’m disappointed at how many professional photographers don’t know how to treat dark skin.” He then posted edits of Leibovitz’s cover photo that he said he colour-corrected in “less than 10 minutes”.

Morrigan McCarthy, national picture editor at the New York Times, tweeted: “I adore Simone Biles and am thrilled she’s on the cover, but I hate these photos. I hate the toning, I hate how predictable they are and I super hate that Vogue couldn’t be bothered to hire a black photographer.”

Last month the supermodel Beverly Johnson criticised Condé Nast for its treatment of Black people at the organisation, after Vogue’s editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, apologised for not providing enough space to elevate “black editors, writers, photographers, designers and other creators”.

Johnson wrote “Wow – after three decades, fashion’s leading arbiter has finally acknowledged that there may be a problem!” and suggested the company make it mandatory that two black people are interviewed for influential editorial positions.

The Guardian has contacted Condé Nast and Calmese for comment.

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UMBC leadership, listen to Black voices

Photo courtesy of Briscoe Turner, Vice President of UMBC’s Black Lives Matter.

As the Black communities of this country have been tirelessly organizing, protesting and educating in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement, we, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Black Lives Matter, feel it’s vital to highlight the pivotal role that academic institutions play in failing the Black community as a whole. Whether it’s through denying us access to resources and facilities, teaching us revisionist history lessons or discounting our experiences, the education system at large has perpetuated the myth that Whiteness is the superior standard we must aspire to.

Black people are all too familiar with the cycle of defending our humanity just to be ignored, and that has to end now. While we value many of the positive attributes of UMBC, there is still room for improvement, and addressing the need for change should not fall solely on the shoulders of Black students.

Therefore, we cannot entirely accept UMBC as the pillar of inclusive excellence that it claims to be. Inclusive excellence requires the university to continuously engage in critical self-examination and commit to adequately addressing instances of racial inequality and injustice, no matter how tedious it may seem.

Black students, faculty and staff should be able to hold the university accountable and feel confident that they will attain tangible action rather than backlash. The Black community should never have to question if they are truly supported, valued and celebrated by UMBC.

As a reminder, real change does not come from carefully crafted statements of support, superficial policy changes or handpicked “diversity and inclusion” committees that lack Black voices. We see through those surface-level initiatives.

Real change requires those in power to sit with discomfort and do the work to confront the problem head on.

It is unacceptable to stay complacent because you think racial injustice is a complex or hard issue to tackle. Being Black is complex and hard, yet we manage to wake up and face the world every day.

Alongside accountability, many of the Black students at UMBC have expressed their desire for a mentorship program with the Black Faculty and Staff Association.

As a Black student, it can be difficult navigating college without having someone you can identify with and look to for guidance, so UMBC Black Lives Matter is drafting a plan to jumpstart this mentorship program. We feel that this mentorship program will offer tailored support to Black students pursuing educational, professional and personal endeavors, and we would love to see the BFSA and UMBC as a whole prioritize the development of this program, as it would aid in uplifting the Black community.

Equally important, UMBC could extend more support to its Black community by working to maintain the Africana Studies department. This includes, but is not limited to, increasing the number of Black faculty and courses offered within the department, which would be achieved through a greater allocation of funds.

As the majority of the UMBC Black Lives Matter e-board is involved in the Africana Studies department, this department is a vital educational tool for those of the African diaspora to learn more about their roots and is also integral for nonmembers of the African diaspora to enlighten themselves to our rich cultural history.

But above all, the Africana Studies department plays a fundamental role in challenging our education system’s Eurocentric patterns of thinking and teaching by providing an imperative narrative that expands our understanding of the world.

Beyond the classroom, there are also several other Black Student Organizations and student activists on campus fighting for a change and validating Black experiences.

Some of these active Black Student Organizations on campus include: the Black Student Union, the African Student Association, the Caribbean Students Council, the Ethiopian-Eritrean Student Association, Curl PWR, the Association of Black Artists, the Black Graduate Student Organization and the National Pan-Hellenic Council. While these are only a few of the Black Student Organizations working to empower the Black community, each organization is equally deserving of support.

Additionally, Black Involvement Fest, which started last fall, is a great opportunity for incoming and current Black students to familiarize themselves with these organizations, and moving forward, we challenge everyone to listen to and support them.

At the end of the day, we love being Black. We love our culture, our stories, our talents and our accomplishments. That will never change. It’s the institutions that uphold racism that need to change.

Written by UMBC Black Lives Matter

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Doritos Seeking Fans To Create Ad For Chance To Air During Return Of NFL Kickoff Weekend

PLANO, Texas, July 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — For a decade, Doritos’ “Crash the Super Bowl” gave consumers the opportunity to create Doritos Super Bowl commercials — which opened doors and elevated careers for countless aspiring filmmakers. Doritos is today reviving that same spirit with “Crash from Home,” an opportunity for consumers to be part of the highly anticipated NFL Kickoff weekend during Week 1 games on Sunday, September 13… with $150,000 on the line.

Doritos is asking fans to create its first TV commercial since the pandemic and plans to air it during one of the most hotly anticipated events in recent memory — NFL Kickoff Weekend. See highlight video here.

“Doritos has a long history of handing over its brand to consumers, building the brand together and elevating fans to get to that next level,” said Marissa Solis, SVP of marketing, Frito-Lay North America. “Crash from Home embodies that same spirit, with the goal being to elevate and reward creative work in a way that’s appropriate for the times.”

How to Enter
The contest is open to U.S. residents 18+ years of age. Top entries will be highlighted on Doritos social channels, while Doritos will create a compilation of the very best content to air in a TV commercial during the first Sunday of the NFL season. The deadline to enter is July 28 and winners will be announced August 3 on Doritos social accounts. To enter and for full details and terms and conditions, visit

Crash the Super Bowl Legacy
Crash from Home is an evolution on Doritos’ iconic Crash the Super Bowl campaign, which ran for a decade and saw numerous consumer-created commercials rank in the top five of the USA TODAY Super Bowl Ad Meter, including four spots that landed No. 1. Doritos handed out more than $7 million in prize money and elevated the careers of countless aspiring filmmakers, a handful of whom have since created major films and television shows.

Doritos & PepsiCo Support Efforts
Doritos and PepsiCo are doubling down on communities and populations in need of support. In addition to Crash from Home, Doritos recently announced its initiative to #AmplifyBlackVoices by handing over its out-of-home advertising to local African American artists in the push for racial equality, which includes a partnership with Black Lives Matter and $1 million in resources toward the movement (more info here). Additionally, parent company PepsiCo recently announced a more than $400 million set of initiatives over five years to lift up Black communities and increase representation at PepsiCo (more info here). PepsiCo and Frito-Lay have also focused efforts and more than $60 million in support of COVID-19 relief efforts, including targeting the disproportionally affected Hispanic and African American communities. Visit for more info. In addition, the NFL Family announced at the end of April it had surpassed $100M in COVID-19 relief efforts and recently expanded its support in areas of racial and social justice through a 10 year, $250M commitment.

About Doritos
Doritos believes there’s boldness in everyone. We champion those who are true to themselves, who live life fully engaged and take bold action by stepping outside of their comfort zone and pushing the limits. Doritos is one of many Frito-Lay North America brands – the $17 billion convenient foods division of PepsiCo, Inc. (NASDAQ: PEP), which is headquartered in Purchase, NY. Learn more about Frito-Lay at the corporate website,, and on Twitter

About PepsiCo
PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $64 billion in net revenue in 2018, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker and Tropicana. PepsiCo’s product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales. Guiding PepsiCo is our vision to Be the Global Leader in Convenient Foods and Beverages by Winning with Purpose. “Winning with Purpose” reflects our ambition to win sustainably in the marketplace and embed purpose into all aspects of the business. For more information, visit

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SOURCE Frito-Lay

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