Viola Davis’s Vibrant Cover Shoot Is a Milestone of Diversity for Vanity Fair

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Beyond the glamor, Viola Davis’s latest cover appearance signifies invaluable progress for Vanity Fair as the first cover shoot directed by a Black photographer.

Despite the magazine’s 37 year history, this is the first time a cover spread has been curated by a Black photographer. Dario Calmese, who has previously worked for Vogue and The New York Times, shared his distinctive style in a series of vibrant shots of Viola, donning an array of luxurious outfits against vivid backdrops.

Dario Camese / Vanity Fair

While the exposure of Calmese’s work is a positive step towards representation in the media, the need for visibility among Black photographers is still pressing as readers have pointed out the journey to come before mainstream equality in the media.

Viola shared some candid thoughts on current affairs and how it has elevated issues within the film industry. Making it clear why racial discrepancies on and off-screen need to be addressed, she explained that within many magazines “there’s a real absence of dark-skinned Black women,” subsequently casting them in “a complete cloak of invisibility.”

Needless to say, the actress has long been an outspoken advocate for racial equality. Besides taking to the streets in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, Viola has been forming neighborhood protests to collectivize calls for justice over the deaths of Black civilians. Davis highlighted the importance of such actions in making a difference, commenting “I feel like my entire life has been a protest.”

Dario’s photos are not only entrenched in cultural significance, but are also bringing some color to a world trying its best to be grey. You can browse his photos alongside Viola’s interview in full, here.