I was milling about in London Heathrow Terminal 5 looking to stock up on rarely glimpsed in the
fleshgloss men’s fashion magazines like Fantastic Man and Closet Boy, when a titillatingly unexpected sight beamed spectacularly in my peripheral vision - a black girl on the cover of Vogue magazine. Immediately bursting with pride at the sight of 17 year old Nyasha Matonhodze on the (albeit supplementary) May ‘12 edition of British Vogue, I approached her (looking effervescent in H&M) and silently exclaimed “yes!”, because in today’s increasingly drawn out era of white magazine covers and even whiter runways - her image on Vogue is significantly triumphant and lamentably rare.
Barely one week later as I ran inside Tesco to grab a super discounted large Heineken, I saw the tall, well-mannered Congolese security guard who always works the night shift gingerly adjusting the women’s fashion magazines. Between grabbing my Heineken and dashing to the self-checkout I cut through the publication aisle to see which magazine he’d been fiddling with. Lo and behold, he had turned every single copy of British Vogue backward so that Nyasha’s supplementary cover could be the one on display. Like our Grandparents running exasperatedly across the street to share the news of Sidney Poitier winning the Academy Award for Best Actor, or our parents teeming with novel excitement as they sat on the living room floor to watch The Jeffersons, that Congolese security guard, as far removed from the world of Vogue as he may be, celebrated the rare and momentous occasion of a Zimbabwean teenage girl with beautiful dark skin on the cover of Vogue. As I walked pensively to the checkout, quietly, I celebrated with him.