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Blackness in Mainstream Print

Magazine article about Eartha Kitt.

Figure 10

The article "My Baby Travels With Me" by Eartha Kitt [Figure 10], was provocative for its time because it shows Kitt in an interracial marriage. The article appeared in Ebony magazine, which is published by and for the black community. Seeing such a relationship featured on the cover of a magazine in the 1960's was unusual. Kitt is presented in very chic clothing, with her hair smooth and straight. The article, photos, and advertisements present black women in clothing and hairstyles similar to those portrayed in magazines aimed at white audiences.

TIME Magazine Cover 1994 O.J. Simpson

Figure 16

Reinforcing Black Skin as Menacing

In 1994, America closely followed the highly publicized murder trial of O.J. Simpson, where race was a critical factor. On June 27, 1994, a few weeks after Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman were brutally murdered, two different magazine covers featuring O.J. Simpson were published. The one from Newsweek is a fairly conventional picture of Simpson, but the one from TIME magazine was distinctly different [Figure 16]. Viewers instantly noticed that TIME altered Simpson’s appearance to look more menacing and threatening. The photographer for the TIME cover, Matt Mahurin, argued that race was not on the agenda while composing this cover image. Mahurin claimed that, much like a director such as Sirk or Griffith, he only wanted to lower the lights on a somber scene. Mahurin said that darkening a scene was his long established style to give the image a more dramatic tone. There was a massive public outcry over the two magazine covers because black skin was once again represented as a threat.