Last week Vogue's 17 international edition editors gathered in Japan to celebrate Tokyo's Fashion's Night Out and sit for a rare photo opportunity.
The photo may be an iconic picture for most (it's rare to have all the editors in one room together), but it's also a glaring snapshot of the lack of diversity within the publishing industry for the black community.
Although there a handful of minorities represented (Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Indian), which is great--there are no editors of African decent. Beyond Vogue, why aren't there many blacks in the industry?
It's rare to find the names of black editors on the mastheads of the world's top mainstream publications. In fact, the names can fit in one paragraph.
So it was shocking when just last year Essence, under the direction of then editor-in-chief Angela Burt-Murray, hired Ellianna Placas--the black publication's first white fashion director. With so few opportunities to break into the industry, many believed at the very least there would be positions reserved for black talent at black heritage magazines like Essence. Apparently not.
Constance White, the current editor-in-chief of Essence, once voiced her concerns about the lack of diversity in publishing and fashion at a Lookonline.com roundtable:
"We can do a better job of integrating the industry. It's suspiciously still very white bread. You can go into a fashion gathering and be one of a handful or the only dark-skinned person in the room. And same can't be said of say the music industry. We're getting used to seeing blacks in powerful roles in music. This is not the case in fashion. As a fashion journalist, you're an arbiter. I think there's still a prejudice and a lack of sophistication about seeing a black person as a gatekeeper of style."
The issue remains and with no clear answers or solutions. With African-American buying power expected to reach $1.1 trillion by 2015, according to The State of the African-American Consumer Report, why aren't blacks represented at in the industry that helps push the very products we are buying. Furthermore, is there not value in a diverse point of view? The mainstream is not one color.
What are your thoughts about the lack of diversity in publishing?
Yolanda Sacristan, Spain; Kirstie Clements, Australia; Anaita Adajania, India; Christiane Arp, Germany; Angelica Cheung, China; Franca Sozzani, Italy; Mitsuko Watanabe, Japan; Anna Wintour, America; Emmanuelle Alt, France; Alexandra Shulman, Britain; Victoria Davydova, Russia; Anna Harvey, representing Brazil and Greece; Seda Domanic, Turkey; Myung Hee Lee, Korea; Rosalie Huang, Taiwan; Eva Hughes, Mexico and Latin America; and Paula Mateus, Portugal.