Beverly Johnson has urged Anna Wintour to address a “culture of structural exclusion” at U.S. Vogue.
Amidst the Black Lives Matter protests taking place around the world in the wake of the death of African-American man George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police officers in late May, Wintour issued a candid statement to her staff at the fashion magazine earlier this month in which she expressed her regret over not doing enough to promote diversity and inclusivity during her 32-year tenure.
But in a new op-ed published in The Washington Post on Wednesday, Johnson – who became the first African-American model to appear on the cover of U.S. Vogue back in 1974 – has insisted the editor-in-chief needs to do more to promote black talent at the publication as well as within her role as artistic director of publishing giant Conde Nast.
“Anna Wintour, who has been the editor in chief of Vogue for over 30 years and is currently the doyenne of Conde Nast, admitted last week to a culture of structural exclusion at Vogue and across the fashion industry. Wow – after three decades, fashion’s leading arbiter has finally acknowledged that there may be a problem!” she wrote. “Wintour is arguably the most powerful person in the world of fashion. Wintour’s power would ostensibly allow her to hold her peers in fashion accountable for making structural changes.”
Accordingly, Johnson went on to propose Wintour and her colleagues adopt the ‘Beverly Johnson Rule’ in which it will be required for executives to interview a diverse range of candidates for all positions within the firm.
“This rule would be especially relevant to boards of directors, C-suite executives, top editorial positions and other influential roles. I also invite chief executives of companies in the fashion, beauty and media industries to adopt this rule,” the 67-year-old stated.
To conclude her piece, Johnson insisted she will continue fighting against the racism and exclusion that have been “an ugly part of the beauty business for far too long”.
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