The rapper is an unlikely choice of model for the cover but represents a new era of representation under newly-appointed Samira Nasr, the magazine's first Black editor-in-chief.
Just last month, Vogue caused a furor when it released its cover featuring Kamala Harris; many believed the cover simply did not look "presidential" enough for the first Black woman President. The magazine was thus forced to release a special edition of its January issue, depicting a more professional Vice President. Now, in sharp contrast, Harper's Bazaar has made history by featuring Megan Thee Stallion on the cover of their recent 'Legacy Issue.' The choice is particularly monumental as Stallion, a curvy Black woman, is traditionally viewed as an unlikely choice of model for such a magazine. However, under the leadership of newly-appointed Samira Nasr, the first Black editor-in-chief in 153 years of Harper's Bazaar, things are beginning to change.
Stallion has in the recent past become a style and sex icon, in addition to taking the music industry by storm. She has won Best Hip Hop Video for her song "Savage" at MTV's 2020 Video Music Awards; topped the Billboard 100 chart with "WAP," a collaboration with Cardi B; and yes, even worked with none other than icon Beyoncé. The star was also named one of TIME's 100 most influential people. However, these external accolades do not mean much to her; she has already proclaimed herself a "hot girl." As a curvy Black woman, this is a powerful mantra, one which she invites other bigger women of color to chant with her.
megan thee stallion for harper’s bazaar by collier schorr pic.twitter.com/sPWKu3Wu7C— ❦ (@saintdoII) February 19, 2021
Her feature on the cover is not a matter of happenstance. Indeed, it is the direct result of hiring Nasr, the leader who now faces the task of democratizing the Harper's Bazaar cover. "As the proud daughter of a Lebanese father and Trinidadian mother, my worldview is expansive and is anchored in the belief that representation matters," she explained in an Instagram video last year. "My lens by nature is colorful, and so it is important to me to begin a new chapter in Bazaar's history by shining a light on all individuals who I believe are the inspiring voices of our time." Nasr left viewers with one message, indicative of what her time at the magazine will mean for diversity, inclusion, and representation: "I see you, I thank you and I hope we can join forces to amplify the message of equality because Black lives matter."
Harper's Bazaar Megan Thee Stallion cover sparks representation controversy https://t.co/hZg01A4oZT— Guardian US (@GuardianUS) February 22, 2021
Stallion's look on one of two covers, a manifestation of Nasr's vision, is simple. She wears a black Chanel cape, top, and brief; a black and gold Chanel belt; and Bulgari earrings. The rapper shared why she chose to keep things simple in her interview with the magazine. She stated, "I'm realizing that I don't have to be in full glam every time you see me, because I'm just getting more comfortable with myself and more comfortable with my skin. I know that I'm a person that everybody looks to, and they're like, 'Oh, Megan, she's a confident woman. She's so strong.' But you have to go through things to become that person." Despite severe criticism, she has become a voice for young Black women who, like her, wish to own their sexuality while speaking up about what matters, from the Black Lives Matter movement to gun violence. "We are entitled to our anger about a laundry list of mistreatment and neglect that we suffer," the rapper affirmed. "Can't nobody tell me how to be the Hot Girl."