This year, British Vogue‘s September issue is a beautiful homage to 40 activists currently shaping the future and giving us hope.
Vogue’s September issue is traditionally its most important of the year. Last year, the Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex guest edited the issue. Editor-in-chief Edward Enninful said this year’s activism-themed issue is “our show of thanks, as well as a rallying cry for the future.”
The Activism Now issue features cover stars Marcus Rashford, a footballer who recently led a successful child poverty campaign, and Adwoa Aboah, a mental health campaigner. The pair were photographed by Misan Harriman, the first Black male photographer to shoot a cover of British Vogue in its 104-year history. Working with a predominantly Black team, Harriman is also the first Black photographer to shoot any September issue of the UK magazine. In Jan. 2019, Nadine Ijewere became the first Black female photographer to shoot a cover of British Vogue.
Harriman regarded the shoot as an “honour” in a press statement and praised Enninful for his editorial choice. “His ability to force change whilst empowering others is a lesson to us all. He knows that there are many talented people from a diverse background who have never had a fair chance, finally the door is ajar,” he said.
The 40 activists, dubbed The Faces of Hope, include political activist Angela Davis, broadcaster Clara Amfo, founder of the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and anti-racism campaigner Doreen Lawrence, anti-racism educator Jane Elliott, CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr Center for Nonviolent Social Change and daughter of the civil rights leader Dr. Bernice King, editor and author of 10 steps to non-optical allyship Mireille Cassandra Harper, author of Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race Reni Eddo-Lodge, actor and rapper Riz Ahmed, Me and White Supremacy author Layla F Saad, model and activist Munroe Bergdorf, and social justice activist, educator, and writer Brittany Packnett Cunningham.
Also featured are model and anti-racism activist Joan Smalls, international ambassador of Black Lives Matter and activist Janaya Future Khan, founder of the Rise Up Movement and climate justice activist Vanessa Nakate, co-founder of Justice 4 Grenfell campaign Yvette Williams MBE, Windrush campaigner and cultural historian Patrick Vernon, NHS doctor and doctors’ rights campaigner Dr. Meenal Viz, and disability activist, writer, and podcaster Alice Wong.
“When all is said and done, it’s clear that 2020 will be remembered as a tough year, but also as a moment of necessary change. One thing is for certain. The future starts now,” Enninful said in a statement.
Rashford succeeded earlier this year in getting the government to reverse its decision on food vouchers, meaning 1.3 million children in England can claim free school meal vouchers in the summer holidays. “I’m by no means a politician but I had a voice and a platform that could be used to at least ask the questions,” said Rashford in a statement. “If I didn’t put myself out there and say, ‘This is not OK and it needs to change,’ I would have failed my 10-year-old self.”
Read the full feature in the Vogue September issue available via digital download and on newsstands on Aug. 7.