Last week, reports revealed 23-year-old photographer Tyler Mitchell would become the first African American to shoot the cover of Vogue at the behest of Beyoncé. Now, the September issue featuring Mrs. Knowles-Carter is available on physical (and digital) newsstands.
“Until there is a mosaic of perspectives coming from different ethnicities behind the lens, we will continue to have a narrow approach and view of what the world [actually] looks like,” Beyoncé notes in her interview with Vogue writer Clover Hope. “That is why I wanted to work with this brilliant 23-year-old photographer.”
The historic moment is significant for the pop star, who has watched barriers crumble in the industry firsthand.
“When I first started, 21 years ago, I was told that it was hard for me to get onto covers of magazines because black people did not sell,” she says. “Clearly that has been proven a myth.”
She feels it’s essential to use her status and open the door for emerging talent.
“There are so many cultural and societal barriers to entry that I like to do what I can to level the playing field, to present a different point of view for people who may feel like their voices don’t matter,” she explains.
She continues, “Imagine if someone hadn’t given a chance to the brilliant women who came before me: Josephine Baker, Nina Simone, Eartha Kitt, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, and the list goes on. They opened the doors for me, and I pray that I’m doing all I can to open doors for the next generation of talents.”