"Stop the presses!" trumpets the cover of this month's Vogue, "k.d. lang Wears Dresses." Well, yes. The honey-voiced chanteuse who has long favored slacks gussies up in gowns by Isaac Mizrahi and Oscar de la Renta, and chats about fashion and sexuality for a spread shot by her pal Herb Ritts.
The woman who admits that as a child she preferred OshKosh now crows about her favorite designers, including Miuccia Prada and Richard Tyler, and admits she'll drop as much as $3,000 for an outfit.
But lang is quick to add that such extravagance is rare since she's "a lot more famous than I am rich. Which is a bummer because it's hard to be famous and not rich." Oh, the heartbreaking travails of the not-so-rich and famous.
Actually, the real reason to stop the magazine's presses is the appearance of a black model, the stunning Kiara Kabukuru, on the cover.
Despite the successes of Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks, black cover girls on the main fashion mags are still few and far between. Industry types have long complained that newsstand sales drop whenever a black woman appears on the cover. Perhaps, Kabukuru's cover means promoting diversity has become as important as making money.
And speaking of rarities, it's a safe guess that golfer Tiger Woods is the first "Cablinasian" to appear (with his father Earl) on the cover of Ebony. That's how Woods described himself after various ethnic and racial groups sought to claim him as their own after his Masters tournament victory.
Though Woods declined to be interviewed for the article, he's the springboard for a provocative discussion about mixed-race identification. Offering opinions are NAACP president Kweisi Mfume; Rep. Maxine Waters, chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus; and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, among others. It's a dicey subject, and for the most part it's handled sanely and intelligently.
The most compelling comments come from actress Salli Richardson, the daughter of an Italian father and an African-American mother. Richardson maintains she "never thought that I was anything but black" and laments that the "whole mixed-race category issue separates us more when we need to be coming together more." Interestingly, a Nike ad in the magazine features Woods thanking his black golfing forefathers -- Ted Rhodes, Charlie Sifford and Lee Elder -- with the tag line, "I won't forget."
In the same issue, Erykah Badu, one of the main reasons urban contemporary music has become listenable again, gets an all-too brief treatment.
Pub Date: 7/20/97