The British media needs to chill out about Meghan Markle guest editing Vogue
01 Aug 2019
Image via NBC
It appears as if Meghan Markle can’t do a thing without certain sections of the British media acting like she’s requested the blood of their unborn child. The September Vogue edition is almost unarguably the most coveted issue in the fashion calendar; this year, editor-in-chief Edward Enninful has co-edited the prestigious edition with none other than Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex. She will become the first guest editor of the September issue in the magazine’s 103-year history.
For the past seven months, Megan and Edward curated the edition entitled “Forces for Change”, and instead of Meghan making herself centre stage, the Duchess centered the magazine around 15 trailblazing changemakers who are breaking barriers. The 15 people to grace the cover are all women that Meghan admires, including actor Yara Shahidi, actor Gemma Chan, author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Many of these women are change makers; they have changed how people think about feminism, they have changed gun laws and continue to advocate for representation in their respective fields.The 16th slot on the cover is a mirror, showing the reader’s reflection. It is intended to be a call to action, showing us that we can also be a part of the movement for change.
With Edward being the first editor in chief of British Vogue it should be celebrated that more women of color are being placed on the cover of one fashion’s most prestigious magazines. I for one am impatiently waiting to purchase my copy. But Meghan’s work, once again, has been tainted by the press, with a Daily Mail headline reading “Memo to Meghan…Brits prefer true royal to fashion royalty”. Meanwhile, Dan Wootton, the showbiz correspondent for Lorraine, took issue with the Duchess’ professional choices, stating: “royals don’t guest edit magazines”, and Piers Morgan kicked off about it both on Twitter, and on Good Morning Britain.
In some ways, this might be a fair criticism if Prince Charles hadn’t guest edited Country Life in 2018 and Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, hadn’t guest edited HuffPost in 2016. But when has racism ever needed reason or research?
The Duchess of Sussex cannot breathe without someone commenting on how it relates to “royal protocol”. I am not a monarchist, but I am happy that there is a bi-racial duchess. However, I do not understand the obsession with knowing their day-to-day business.
Whether you’re a fan of the royals or not, there is no doubt what is happening to the Duchess of Sussex is very wrong. I wish people would admit what their real issue is — there is now a black woman in the royal family (a bastion of whiteness) — and many members of the British public hate it. Remember that Danny Baker, who was on the BBC’s payroll, posted an image comparing the new royal baby was a chimp in a suit; Archie Harrison Mountbatten Windsor had not been out of the womb more than 48 hours before experiencing racism.
None of this should distract from the fact that the upcoming Vogue issue will be filled with women who look like my family members, friends and women I work with. Women who not only have strong opinions on politics, art, human rights activism and health but who also being ambassadors for change. It’s about time we see women who reflect our society. Maybe it bothers some people that Meghan has the audacity to be vocal in preaching the message of being a strong woman. Or maybe people are simply upset that the biggest magazine issue of the year is being edited by not one, but two black people.
With Boris Johnson as our Prime Minister, the reality of climate change and the residents of Grenfell not properly housed; why is the British media so concerned about the inner workings of one black woman’s life? Don’t we have more important things to talk about? All I can say, in the words of Beyoncé, is can’t we just leave a Melanated Mona alone?