Despite a growing conversation about representation in media, the beauty and fashion industries still have a long way to go when it comes to inclusivity. While many brands often pay lip service to diversity, most still cater to and promote a white and largely Western standard of beauty. This is why it matters that Serena Williams just became the first woman to ever grace the cover of Teen Vogue in cornrows for their December cover. It’s worth noting that Williams has worn her hair in cornrows for years—beautiful, elaborate braid styles are often part of her look on the tennis court.
While cornrows are inarguably rooted in black culture and heritage, they have been routinely attributed to or appropriated by white people (think Kim Kardashian’s “Bo Derek” braids). A more maddening fact? While often dismissed in the beauty world when worn by black women, cornrows are routinely celebrated when appropriated by white women.
Basically, Serena Williams’ Teen Vogue cover is a major victory for representation. And in addition to the the gorgeous photos. the athlete also opened up about activism and “#BlackGirlMagic” in the accompanying interview.
Hear, hear. Congratulations on such a huge milestone, lady, and for looking so powerful on this cover.