Is That Kerry Washington on Cover of InStyle

By Sheryl Estrada


Updated on Feb. 5 at 7:17 p.m. ET: InStyle magazine has addressed complaints the March 2015 cover photo of Kerry Washington was edited to lighten her complexion. “While we did not digitally lighten Kerry’s skin tone, our cover lighting has likely contributed to this concern,” InStyle magazine said. “We understand that this has resulted in disappointment and hurt. We are listening, and the feedback has been valuable. We are committed to ensuring that this experience has a positive influence on the ways in which we present all women going forward.”

Washington responded to the statement on Twitter:

Our Original Story Published Feb. 5 at 12:35 p.m. ET

Fans of Kerry Washington, star of the popular ABC show Scandal, have taken issue with her photo on the cover of InStyle magazine’s March 2015 issue. When the photo was released on Wednesday on the magazine’s Instagramaccount, many commented that the image was altered in Photoshop, changing Washington’s features, lightening her complexion and making her unrecognizable. Responses were also posted on Twitter.

Other mainstream magazines have been called out for lightening the skin tone of Black actresses on their covers as well.

Last year the public took to social media to admonish Vanity Fair for altering the hue of Academy Awardwinning actress Lupita Nyong’o on the cover of the February 2014 issue.

Elleallegedly lightened actress Gabourey Sidibe’s skin. And singer Rihanna’s skin appeared to have been lightened for the cover of British Vogue, prompting a response from the magazine’s editor (she blamed the bright sun during the shoot).

InStyle has not issued any statement addressing the comments.

The issue of skin tone has been addressed by prominent members of the Black community. During her acceptance speech at the Screen Actors Guild Awards last month, Viola Davis, star of ABC’sHow to Get Away With Murder, made reference to a controversial article on the show’s creator, Shonda Rhimes, written by New York Times TV critic Alessandra Stanley. The article included comments on Davis’ age and complexion.

“I’d like to thank Paul Lee, Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers, Bill D’Elia and Peter Nowalk for thinking that a sexualized, messy, mysterious woman could be a 49-year-old dark-skinned African-American woman who looks like me,” Davis said.

Stanley, who is white, wrote in her article, “Ms. Rhimes chose a performer who is older, darker-skinned and less classically beautiful than Ms. [Kerry] Washington, or for that matter Halle Berry.”

Washington has been nominated for two Emmys and a Golden Globe for her role as Olivia Pope on Scandal, which was also created by Rhimes.

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