Kerry Washington revealed the cover of her latest fashion cover, this time for InStyle magazine, on Instagram last night. While Washington seems to genuinely love the photo, the reactions from fans and readers have so far been mixed.
Kerry Washington on Her post:
“I’m THRILLED to share with you all that I’m on the cover of this year’s March @instylemagazine!” she wrote. “Can’t wait for you guys to see it and read it! So honored. And crazy excited.”
Commenters on the post as well as on InStyle’s Instagram post were less than ecstatic with cover. Some offered sharp criticism, calling out the magazine for “whitewashing” the Scandal actress. Others more generally pointed out that Kerry Washington just doesn’t look like Kerry Washington.
“This looks absolutely nothing like her,” posted one fan to Washington’s Instagram. “Kerry is so beautiful the way she looks. Why have her on the cover if no one can tell it’s her???”
“Looks like a white woman with no cheekbones,” posted another.
The comments on the InStyle Instagram page weren’t much better.
“Why would you lighten her skin that much?! She is gorgeous just the way she is!!!!” posted one commenter.
Magazines photoshop covers. This is no secret. But this conversation is reminiscent of previous instances when magazines have been critiqued for lightening the skin of black women on their covers. A Vanity Fair cover featuring Lupita Nyong’o was subjected to similar criticism last year. Elle magazine faced backlash for their 25th anniversary issue of the magazine, which featured Gabourey Sidibe on the cover. Critics accused the magazine of lightening Sidibe’s skin, but editors explained it as an issue with studio lighting.
Washington has herself been the subject of similar controversy before, when she appeared on the December 2013/January 2014 cover of Lucky. Critics called her “unrecognizable” and said she was too lightened and brightened.
For her part, Washington seems genuinely thrilled with the InStyle photo. (It’s worth noting that she doesn’t necessarily handle her own social media accounts, but presumably approves — at least in some capacity — what gets posted to them.)
One commenter directly asked Washington to confirm her approval:
“@kerrywashington you’re ok with this picture?”
This is an important question. Of all people, Washington’s voice should be the one that’s most important when critiquing the way she is portrayed in the media. Until we hear from her directly that she has a problem with it, we should not take it upon ourselves to make her an example or tear her apart.