Bittersweet is what we'd call it. For years this blog has been critical of the lack of persons of color on the cover of Vanity Fair, a publication with no small amount of cultural clout in these United States. As recently as February, I drew your attention, dear reader, to Vanity Fair's segregated Hollywood Class of 2010. Unfortunately, the argument that editors have made in the past is that African-Americans don't sell magazine covers. That sounds offhand as suspicious as the old "blacks don't sell overseas" argument, but, as media writer Jeff Bercovicci wrote earlier this year: "When they're being candid, editors of mass-audience magazines (as opposed to those targeted specifically at African-American readers) will tell you that black faces simply don't sell as many copies as white ones."
So it was somewhat bittersweet to see Tiger Woods, shirtless, as the Vanity Fair coverboy. Tiger -- a self-proclaimed "Cablasian" -- wouldn't, if I had my druthers, be a first choice for a Vanity Fair story on a prominent person of color. Further, Buzz Binsinger's paints an unflattering portrait of Woods. Still, it appeared to be a promising issue with regards to sales, what with the mistresses and scandal and all. And that, one might argue, could lead to more instances of persons of color on the cover of Vanity Fair. Not so, apparently. From DailyFrontRow:
And would Graydon ever invite recent cover boy Tiger Woods to one of these things? 'Of course!' assured the host. “Though he didn’t really sell that many issues!”
Like I said, people -- bittersweet.