50 years ago the first black woman graced the US Vogue cover

Now, model Beverly Johnson is being celebrated in a one-woman play inspired by historic event.

It’s been 50 years since model Beverly Johnson, then an aspiring lawyer, became the first black woman in history to front the US edition of Vogue, inarguably the world’s most influential fashion magazine for decades. To celebrate this milestone and all it has meant for black models and women since, Johnson is taking to the stage in Beverly Johnson: In Vogue, which aims to put the spotlight on Black female pioneers.

In the one-woman show, Johnson, now 71, will be sharing stories about her personal struggles, experiences in the #MeToo movement, and meeting icons like Elizabeth Taylor. Of course, it also covers her groundbreaking achievement, which she has used to increase awareness on various issues. This includes being the International Spokesperson for the Global Down Syndrome Foundation and calling out Condé Nast, the publishers of Vogue, for not interviewing more black people for senior roles.

Moreover, Johnson will also play as a tour guide, performing monologues while being framed by visuals of black women pioneers, as she explains how society has changed since her historic cover, which hit news stands in August 1974. Her cover, after all, was both the result of, and a catalyst for, the changing narrative surrounding how black models and people were treated by the fashion industry and society at large. 

Whether the show will be made available online at any point is uncertain. Yet, if you’re in New York while it’s on, it does promise to be a captivating and eye-opening show! 

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