Oh, hell no! Sidibe’s Elle cover is just plain bad.


Why put a Black woman on the cover of a high fashion magazine using  a terrible photo? You call that inclusion? breaking barriers? I don’t. As you can see in the photo below and on Colorlines.com,  Elle magazine featured Gabourey Sidibe on its October cover with a less-than-fashionable photo.  And, yes, I have issues.

Elle colorized her.  Gabby’s a very dark girl. Nothing’s wrong with that. As you can see, the cover photo is a few shades lighter than she is.  If her skin tone bothers Elle’s audience or editors, perhaps they should have featured someone else.  Women are already fed up with the aggressive weight-based Photoshopping. Now the fashion industry is colorizing, too? Changing Gabby’s color from espresso to  nutty brown sends the message that she’s  too dark.  Whether that’s intentional or not, it has a negative impact, especially on young women like the one here on YouTube.

Gabby’s hair looks TERRIBLE. Sidibe’s hair is the worst aspect of the photo. Her ‘do looks ratty,  like a homeless woman’s wig.  Not sure why they didn’t just  style her natural hair (like in the photo on the right) or bring in a decent beautician, but it’s hard to believe Elle’s editors would let this fly under normal circumstances.  If you think I’m nit-picking, check out the comments on these blogs: YBF, Talking Stuff and Booker Rising.  Everyone noticed her hair.  I blame Elle for dropping the ball on that.

Just plain bad. No disrespect to Sidibe, but the photo is just plain bad.  Between the colorizing and the nappy wig,  to the super close picture and unflattering top, the folks at Elle have her looking more like a Cabbage Patch doll than the movie star she is.  Putting any old photo of Gabby Sibide on the cover might make liberal elites  feel charitable, but it doesn’t cut it IMHO.  If anything, it says that the industry’s not taking Black women seriously.

Gabby might not be a beauty queen, but she deserved better.  She’s radiant on this EBONY magazine cover.  Why couldn’t Elle have done that?

My message to the fashion industry when it comes to featuring Black women is this: Get it right, or leave it alone. To contact Elle magazine, as I did, follow this link.

UPDATE: Elle issued a statement today and Creative Director Joe Zee responded to  cover controversy for more info., read my latest post.

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15 Responses to Oh, hell no! Sidibe’s Elle cover is just plain bad.

  1. roschelle says:

    love your blog and your vibe. thanks for visiting mine. all i can say is agree agree agree! you’ve heard my point of view about the photo, weight and hair. my real problem comes in with the colorizing. aside from gabby’s less than flattering appearance (thanks a lot Elle) the fact that the magazine felt the need to photoshop some of her black off is troubling on many fronts.

    to me it says that black isn’t beautiful nor is it something worthy of gracing the cover of their magazine. i’m all for a little airbrushing here and there. you know to get that near perfect, if not perfect, complexion. but lightening her skin color is a racist and highly offensive message.

    keep blogging! i’m adding you to my roll =D

  2. Thanks so much! and back at ya! I just started blogging recently. REALLY appreciate the support. re: the Elle cover. Ya know? I am into fashion reality shows and notice how meticulous they are about jewelry, clothes, shoes, hair – every detail must be right. So in that context…it makes Gabby’s pic unacceptable. As i said, she DOES deserve better.

    It’s a reminder that we should stop looking to mainstream media for validation and just embrace, love ourselves. Hmmm. Next blog post?

  3. Yikes! That is not flattering at all.

    Seriously, she’s “big and beautiful” and all, but she needs to lose weight, for health reasons at least.

    • Thanks for commenting, JJ. She definitely needs to lose weight. That’s true. But….I also think half of Hollywood needs to get off drugs. I see a lot of ppl commenting on her weight but it’s not clear what that means. Do ppl want her to hide under a rock? I wonder.

      I wrote this to highlight what a crappy job Elle magazine did and to show how this starlet deserved better. I think the cover is about ppl being happy she was nominated for an Oscar and admiring her confidence, esp since she’s in the entertainment world where even skinny girls have a body image issues (eg Heidi Pratt).

      To me, the Elle cover seems like they went out of their way NOT to make her look pretty or to present her in a way worth taking seriously.

    • Amadi says:

      I’m sorry, but no. You don’t know anything about her health, her practices or anything else. And until you do, you don’t get to police her body or her weight, any more than Elle should have policed her skin tone. No.

      • @Amadi I personally think she could lose weight but her size is not a big issue, IMHO. She’s a good actress and she’s got a great personality. Thanks for commenting.

      • Actually, anyone that overweight is unhealthy. That is science fact.

      • @JJ Actually, I read an NYTs article saying that being heavy (not saying extremely so) doesn’t mean someone’s sick. Here’s the link. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/31/health/31brod.html?_r=3&ref=science

        The piece also said being being skinny doesn’t mean ppl are healthy. My take on the weight is the same as that it’s a personal choice. But people should not beat up on folks for being fat. Personally, I HATE cigarette smoke…but I won’t beat my friends up bc they smoke. They know the health risks. Just as I’m sure Sidibe knows she’s overweight and that her weight could be a problem.

        I would guess that she’s probably struggled with weight issues most of her life. So….what satisfaction do people (not saying you) get in pointing that out? To pressure her? to feel good about being thin? I don’t get it.

      • And yes, I understand there are two different issues here. I am in complete agreement on the other one.

  4. Pingback: Did they lighten Gabby Sidibe? Elle magazine responds. | Radicalconversationalist

  5. Not Obeying says:

    Take out the fact that Gabby’s photo is not flattering, is oddly cropped and that her skin is apparently lightened, and you still have a bad photo and a bad cover. Where is ELLE’s quality control? Why would such a magazine ever have a bad cover when that would hurt non-subscription sales and poor sales threaten ad revenue. Now, factor the poor cover with its very very odd featuring of Gabby, and you really have to wonder why it was rolled out like this. I’m not suggesting any machinations on the part of Elle, but how can such thoughts not, at least, cross your mind?

    • @notbeying. The picture is VERY questionable — esp compared with EBONY’s cover.

      Obviously, this is not a life or death. But as I say on the blog…they shouldn’t get to pat themselves on the on the back for making some stride culturally for putting a Black woman on a magazine cover if photo looks half-hearted.

  6. Pingback: Was Gabourey Sidibe’s skin lightened for the cover of ELLE

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