In three days the United States’ first African-American president takes the Oath of Office. This month a dark-skinned beauty graces the cover of Elite Traveler for the first time. What a country.
It’s not often, OK, let’s just be real: I have never seen a woman with coffee bean skin on the cover of an American luxury travel magazine. I’m sure somewhere supermodel Alek Wek covered one but I never saw it. So imagine my surprise (and glee) when I received my January/February issue of Elite Traveler, a lifestyle magazine for the private jet set crowd. I am a Contributing Editor at the magazine but I have no say-so in its editorial decisions nor am I privy to who is covering any issue. LisaRaye McCoy-Misick graced the cover a few years back but that’s because she’s the First Lady of Turks & Caicos, which shells out plenty of advertising dollars to the magazine. The actress was also featured in many of T&C’s ads in various magazines. Seeing the Prime Minister’s wife on the cover seemed only natural since rarely is there a separation between church and state when it comes to publishing, regardless of what is said. Plus, LisaRaye is as far from coffee bean as the incoming president is from the outgoing president. Her skin tone has been more “acceptable” to the powerful media over the years. Mine has not.
I applaud Elite Traveler for stepping outside the oh-so-white luxury box and selecting a Black woman who looks like me, like Michelle Obama, like so many others of us, on its cover. Would this have happened were it not for the incoming First Lady having graced the covers of so many magazines before the election? I doubt it and I write this without having spoken to anyone at the magazine. Having a woman who truly resembles us on the cover of this magazine sends a strong message of how black beauty is being redefined. The publication is in commercial and charter airport lounges, on private jets, first-class cabins, yachts, the finest hotel suites, in professional sports’ locker rooms and wherever else the filthy rich tend to flock. The cover is a vivid reminder that we’re in the luxury game.
Yes we are.