Good morning and happy Beyoncé’s Vogue Cover Reveal Week, a new seven-day holiday I would like to officially submit into the cannon.
It officially kicked off today, a day I naively mistook for any other as I woke up, worked out, jogged to the store to purchase some eggs, climbed the stairs back up to my apartment and opened my phone to scroll through Instagram while I cooled down. That’s when I saw it: a photo of Beyoncé standing against a quilted bed cover that’s hanging from a laundry line in the middle of a meadow. She’s sporting minimal makeup and is dressed in a metallic fringed Gucci gown. I “liked” it absentmindedly, thinking it was just a pretty photo of Beyoncé, but then as I kept scrolling, the rest of the images from the Vogue cover shoot appeared at the top of my feed, one by one. I may not have known Beyoncé’s Vogue Cover Reveal Week had begun, but the algorithm sure did.
I went to Vogue’s website to get a better look at the photos and read the accompanying copy. After doing so, I needed to talk about it with someone — not just anyone, though. I needed to talk about it with you, the person reading these words on this screen, because here’s the thing: As one of the most iconic creators of our time, there is a story behind every image and word she puts out into the world, and Vogue’s September issue is no exception. Read my suggested list of talking points below, and meet me in the comments when you’re done.
1. This is the first ever Vogue cover shot by black photographer.
“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 says in the issue’s as-told-to feature. The photographer’s name is Tyler Mitchell and he is 23 years old. This is history-making.
2. Beyoncé opens up about her complicated journey toward body-acceptance.
“After the birth of my first child,” she says, “I believed in the things society said about how my body should look. I put pressure on myself to lose all the baby weight in three months, and scheduled a small tour to assure I would do it.” Her perspective shifted after her second pregnancy, when she gave birth to twins Rumi and Sir: “I embraced being curvier,” she writes. “I accepted what my body wanted to be.”
3. She reserves the right to strive for a six-pack — but only whenever (and if ever) she’s ready.
“I have a little mommy pouch, and I’m in no rush to get rid of it,” she says. “I think it’s real. Whenever I’m ready to get a six-pack, I will go into beast zone and work my ass off until I have it. But right now, my little FUPA and I feel like we are meant to be.” Whenever. With that word, Beyoncé effectively unravels the stringent timeline that is placed on postpartum women to make their bodies look like they never grew a baby inside them as quickly as possible. Whenever. Maybe now, maybe in ten years, maybe never. She’s in no rush.
4. She addresses the ups and downs of her marriage.
“I come from a lineage of broken male-female relationships, abuse of power, and mistrust,” she says. “Only when I saw that clearly was I able to resolve those conflicts in my own relationship.” She also pieces together the roots of her ancestry in America — a slave owner who fell in love and married a slave: “I had to process that revelation over time. I questioned what it meant and tried to put it into perspective. I now believe it’s why God blessed me with my twins. Male and female energy was able to coexist and grow in my blood for the first time.”
5. She had a musical revelation while prepping for Coachella.
“I was working on a version of the [black national] anthem with these dark minor chords and stomps and belts and screams,” she says. “After a few days of humming the anthem, I realized I had the melody wrong. I was singing the wrong anthem. One of the most rewarding parts of the show was making that change. I swear I felt pure joy shining down on us.” Her reflection on this particular moment prompted me to look back on the story Celeste Little wrote for Man Repeller about the ways in which Beyoncé’s Coachella performance held up a mirror to her own black experience. I suggest you read it, if you haven’t yet.
6. She doesn’t just want to be seen, she wants to see herself.
“As the mother of two girls, it’s important to me that they see themselves too — in books, films, and on runways,” she says. “It’s important to me that they see themselves as CEOs, as bosses, and that they know they can write the script for their own lives—that they can speak their minds and they have no ceiling.” Representation matters.
7. She wears a Gucci wedding dress from the brand’s Cruise collection
As pointed out by The Cut, this choice is quite atypical for a September issue cover shoot. September cover stars usually wear clothes from fall collections — a.k.a. the stuff that brands are currently trying to sell. She also wears a checkered dress from Louis Vuitton’s cruise collection, a frothy toile-skirted gown from Dior’s cruise collection and a custom suit by menswear designer Wales Bonner. The clothes themselves weren’t the only deviation from the norm, though: Vogue’s Tonne Goodman joined forces with with Kwasi Fordjour, one of Beyoncé’s creative directors, as well as her usual team of stylists. Ultimately, it seems as though Beyoncé was given complete creative control over how she would appear, even if that meant seriously shaking up the status quo.
8. Beyoncé feels sexier than ever.
“I now feel so much more beautiful, so much sexier, so much more interesting,” she says. “And so much more powerful.”
Can you blame her?? LET’S DISCUSS.
Imagery via Vogue. Photographed by Tyler Mitchell; Styled by Kwasi Fordjur.