Guys, it’s official. Trump and Pence are finally out of office, and we’re more than ready to welcome in Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Harris is the first woman of color to occupy this Vice President position, and feminists all over the globe are cheering her on.
Half African American and half Indian, this VP is able to tackle issues from the unique perspective of marginalized people — a perspective that not many high-profile politicians have. Most recently, Kamala Harris was featured on the cover of Vogue. Before its big release, a copy of the publication’s February issue was leaked, and it’s not the photo you would expect.
While the digital cover featured Harris in a light blue suit against a gold background, the print cover told a different story. In it, she’s wearing a much more casual outfit, with Converse sneakers, a white tee, and a black pantsuit. She poses in front of a pink and green drapery, which is a reference to her sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha.
Some people seem to think that this casual photo was disrespectful, diminishing the importance of the VP-elect’s revolutionary victory. Others disagree, saying that the less formal choice was a better way to connect to the people during such a tumultuous time in the United States. Wintour claims that the photo is more accessible to the American people, more approachable, and a better representation of the Biden-Harris campaign.
André Leon Talley, Vogue’s past editor-at-large, said that the photo was “aspirational” for young women all over the world. The overall tone of the cover shows that you can still exhibit qualities of leadership while remaining friendly and open. It’s a statement on powerful woman (from a woman in power) that we can really stand behind.
Other people seem preoccupied with the fact that the image isn’t well-lit or well-styled, but we have to disagree. In fact, these decisions all help us relate more to Kamala, rather than placing her on the untouchable “politician” pedestal that can look and feel intimidating.
The design to honor Alpha Kappa Alpha was an interesting one, since not too many people know that Kamala Harris was actually in a sorority. Her time at AKA had a huge impact on her life and her ambition, providing a support system of other like-minded women. Many sororities such as AKA are comprised of powerful and boundary-breaking Black women, and this cover was created with the intent of honoring them. It was a way to pay tribute to her history and the path that led her to VP-elect, while inspiring the young sorority girls of today’s generation.
Harris’ sorority sisters even coined their own viral movement when they joined forces to vote at the poll together. Tyler Mitchell, who shot the cover, said that moment represented the unity and affirmation of sisterhood throughout the years. It’s this “strength in numbers” sense of solidarity that gives us hope that one day, we’ll see a president that looks more like Kamala and less like Joe.
If Kamala Harris’s sorority sister background is a surprise to you, here are some other fascinating facts about the Vice President-elect that you never knew.
As a child, Harris attended both a Hindu temple and Black Baptist church, embracing both of her cultures. This open-minded approach is perhaps why she appeals to so many different demographics in the US. When she was young, she also visited India, where her grandpa was a high-ranking government official.
This deeply inspired her own political career, since her grandfather fought for Indian independence, and her grandmother was an activist who traveled rural and impoverished areas, teaching women about birth control.
Harris was the first person of color ever to be elected district attorney of San Francisco, and is just the second Black woman to be an American senator. She’s both the first Black person and first woman to achieve the position of the attorney general of California. When she held this position, she actually formed the first LGBTQ hate crimes unit, paving the way for other states in terms of LGBTQ rights.
Another thing people don’t commonly know: Kamala has a close friendship with Barack Obama. The two have had a relationship since 2004, when the ex-POTUS first ran for the Senate in 2004. In fact, she was the first major California’s officeholder to endorse his presidential bid back in 2008. And it makes sense — we can see the similarities between the two, and truly hope that Harris leads a similar revolution, charging the American people up with hope and optimism that has faded over the past 4 years.