Edward Enninful of British Vogue recently opened up about the peculiar racist backlash that he faced when he was appointed as the first Black editor-in-chief of the magazine. Enninful, however, revealed that his first edition of British Vogue was a “love letter to Great Britain”.
According to an Independent report, the British stylist and editor — while speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs — shared that he had wanted to create a magazine that was “inclusive and about diversity, where every woman will see themselves”.
The 50-year-old, who was appointed the fashion magazine’s editor-in-chief in April 2017 — making him the first Black person to hold the title — stated that the racist comments directed at him soon after were “surprising”. He told BBC Radio 4’s host Lauren Laverne, “I thought I’m going back home [to the UK]. I have been living in America for a while, I am going back home, they are going to love me.”
But, he was purportedly referred to as “the cat that got into Crufts” like he “was another breed altogether”. Enninful recalled he tried to stay unperturbed through it all, reflecting nothing but gratitude towards the country in his first edition of British Vogue that came out in November 2017.
“It was a love letter to the country that took my family in, the country that literally gave me a life. So, my first issue of course was a love letter to Great Britain,” Enninful was quoted as saying.
Elsewhere in the interview, he also talked about trying to imbibe diversity in the magazine. “I remember, sort of looking around at my friends and seeing they weren’t reflected in the magazine. When I say my friends, I mean people of different races, religions, social economic background, size, age… they weren’t in the magazine.
“And for me, I just thought that’s not even good business, so I just wanted to create a magazine that was inclusive and a magazine that was about diversity, where every woman will see themselves. And that was it that was really the manifesto I had.”
In fact, Enninful also thought he would be “fired” for his novel perspective, but revealed he would “rather [have been] fired for what [he] believed in”.