HomeBBC NEWSEntertainmentEdward Enninful: Focusing Vogue on activism a 'no-brainer'

    Edward Enninful: Focusing Vogue on activism a ‘no-brainer’


    British Vogue editor Edward Enninful has said that the September issue’s focus on radicalism was a “no-brainer”.

    Described by Enninful to the BBC as “a cry for the future,” the magazine includes 40 activists he calls “the faces of hope.

    Footballer Marcus Rashford, child poverty activist and model/activist Adwoa Aboah are among the cover stars.

    Enninful says working with the all-black team “brings authenticity to the cover …… a sense of unity.

    Traditionally, the September issue is the most important issue of the year for the Fashion Bible. The Duchess of Sussex’s guest edited this issue 12 months ago.

    Earlier this year, Manchester United star Rashford was lauded for leading a campaign to end child poverty, while Aboah is a mental health activist.

    Aboah was also Vogue’s first cover star when Enninful became editor.

    They were photographed by Misan Harriman, the first black male photographer to shoot the cover of the British edition of Vogue in its 104-year history.

    Image caption,Misan Harriman came to Edward Enninful’s attention with his black and white images of the Black Lives Matter protests

    Enninful chose Harriman for the cover of the black-and-white photo shoot of the “Black Lives Matter” protests in London sparked by the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis in early June.

    Missan said he was “honored and empowered” to be asked to shoot the cover of Vogue.

    The brief, he said, was to “capture the essence of these two extraordinary young people,” adding, “It shows hope, solidarity and empathy.”

    Enninful became editor-in-chief of British Vogue more than two years ago, becoming the first black man to helm the magazine.

    He told BBC News that having an all-black team working for September magazine was not a first for him, “but it’s amazing for the younger members who feel empowered and like the world is changing.

    “For me, it was fantastic to watch the game as a senior politician. This can’t just be a one-off. This industry has to change.”

    Image caption,Key workers, including train driver Narguis Horsford, featured on the July covers of Vogue

    “I’ve always wanted to change the world.”

    Activists featured in the September issue include Radio 1 DJ Clara Amfo, racial justice activist Baroness Doreen Lawrence, model Joan Smalls, author Reni Eddo-Lodge, Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors and author Janet Mock.

    “Women led the way this year,” Enninful explained. “It just shows the power of women to dominate and lead, even in difficult times.” He added, “My mother was a strong woman.”

    After the Black Lives Matter protest, author Eddo-Lodge’s book, “Why I Stopped Talking to White People About Race,” topped the paperback nonfiction charts. This achievement made her the first black British author to top the British bestseller list since the official book charts began.

    Her books explore the connections between gender, class and race in Britain and around the world.

    Image caption,Reni Eddo-Lodge become the first black British author to top the UK’s bestseller list

    She said she did not give any interviews during the protests because “I was often seen as a spokesperson …… I wanted to leave the initial space to the protesters.”

    Speaking about Enninful and the influence of culture on change, she says, “I think culture is more progressive than our politics.”

    Born in Ghana and raised in West London, Enninful is one of the few people of color in the fashion press to serve as editor-in-chief.

    Others include Lindsay Peoples Wagner, who runs Teen Vogue, and Samira Nasr, the first woman of color at Harper’s Bazaar.

    Talking about whether she felt alone in the industry as a black man when she first started, Enninful says, “I never wanted to be the only one, so I brought my friends to me …… so we could grow together and change the world together.”

    The September issue follows Enninful’s July project, which featured him on a selection of three Vogue covers featuring key workers from nurses to railroad workers.

    “With Covid-19, I realized the role of the magazine had to change, and I wanted to create a document for the times,” Enninful explains.

    “I will continue to question the status quo.”

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