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Viola Davis Makes History on the Cover of Vanity Fair’s 2016 Hollywood Issue

Viola Davis Makes History on the Cover of Vanity Fair's 2016 Hollywood Issue

The cover of Vanity Fair’s 2016 Hollywood Issue has been unveiled, and all of the stars being celebrated are women. This is, of course, no accident: The cover is making a statement. 

Admittedly, this isn’t the first time the Hollywood Issue has featured women exclusively, but this year the decision to make the cover women-centric feels undeniably symbolic. 

Much-needed dialogues about women in Hollywood — both onscreen and behind the scenes —  finally started gaining more traction in the press in 2015. And the gender quake is showing no signs of slowing down. Vanity Fair is putting women at the forefront because that’s where the conversation has taken us: Women have been grossly underrepresented in myriad ways by the motion picture business, but this time around, we’re front and center. 

In the past, the Hollywood Issue has been justly criticized for spotlighting white actors and actresses and omitting people of color. This time around, three of the thirteen actresses pictured are women of color: Emmy winner Viola Davis, Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o and up-and-comer Gugu Mbatha-Raw (“Belle,” “Beyond the Lights”). Percentage-wise, white actresses comprise 77% of the cover. Those numbers aren’t great — far from it. They do, however, mark an improvement from some other years. (For reference, in 2010, exactly nine out of nine actresses on the cover of the Hollywood Issue were white.) 

This year marks the first time since 1999 that a black woman (Davis) has appeared on the main cover of the Hollywood Issue. And Davis is also the first black woman over the age of 30 to ever appear on the main cover of the issue. What’s clear is that we have a long road ahead of us when it comes to making Hollywood more racially inclusive. Period. That being said, it’s important to remember that the cover is making history (however belated). 

We are pleased that, compared to years prior, older actresses are much better represented on the cover, including Davis, Helen Mirren, Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton and Charlotte Rampling. The Hollywood Issue is typically super white and super young, so it’s a refreshing, welcome change to see so many faces that are 50-plus years old. 

The Hollywood Issue goes on sale in New York and Los Angeles, as well as on iPhones, Kindles and other devices February 4 and nationally on February 8. 

[via The Guardian

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To RKM, your numbers don’t add up. It’s 64% White, 13% Black, 17% Hispanic, and 6% Asian. And although I want to applaud VF for making a female-centric cover (where have they been!), there are no Latinas or Asians on the cover. Why? All the conversations about the Oscars and its lack of diversity (a word I’ve grown to despise) is pathetic. The problem is the greenlight process…not enough people who can even relate to diverse stories in those pitch meeting and especially sparse in the greenlight meetings. So we can talk all we want and blah, blah, blah but the reality is that very little will change until the decision makers of a COMPANY represent the population. And it’s not to say that just because they’re diverse they will only greenlight stories by people of color. On the contrary. However, they will be in the room when conversations are taking place and deals are about to be awarded and one would HOPE that they have the guts to fight for stories that in the normal process would be overlooked.


Kerry Washington had a solo cover recently. And I think Beyince as well. This story stretches the truth a little.

D Micheals Campbell

Looks like a very nice photos….

Jana Segal

Where are the other women of color? Latinos make make up 17 percent of Americans.


@RKM that totals 112%, just saying….


Oh, well then, let’s just keep it "whitewashed".


To represent the US statistically speaking, the population is 77% white, 13% black, 17% latino and 5% asian. Where are the latino and asian representatives? Just saying…


This whole story is rubbish. Viola Davis is the first woman over 30 to appear on the cover when there are other women on the cover as well. One of the first is okay, but that is not what is said. This is a "oh, look what we did for you moment". Here is another example of Hollywood and the media telling us that there is no racism in the Hollywood press…or that they are doing everything to erase it in 2016…WHAT??? Face it, the Hollywood elite are not going to go out of their way to showcase people of color. People of color needing to be kept down and angry is their agenda and they continue to spew this agenda. Look at that cover picture again…How many Hispanics or Middle-Eastern women do you see? How many openly gay women??? The ultra-liberal Hollywood elite and media is not inviting any people of color to their party, but they will be the first to tell you that a conservative is a racist… An eye opening article…Thank you Laura Berger, Vanity Fair and Women and Hollywood for helping bring your bigotry front and center!!!

Viola gives me pause. She wasn’t allowed to make eye contact in her single shot.


Lupita is also over 30

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