In its latest issue of U.K.-based magazine The Evening Standard, Grammy-award winning Solange Knowles was featured in a cover story rooted in the singer’s accomplishment in taking ownership of her physical being. “To be honest, owning my body this year was really important to me,” stated Knowles. “That can mean a lot of things. That can be in physical form, wanting to have control over my physical body, and also wanting to have control in the way it is presented to the world.”
The quote received prominent placement in the article, though astoundingly enough whoever oversaw art direction of the cover either didn’t read her words or worse yet, utterly dismissed their meaning. While Knowles was photographed with an intricate, sculpted hair design created by Daria Kobayashi Ritch, the magazine used Photoshop to edit out the circular structure of the hairstyle for the magazine’s cover.
On Thursday (October 19, 2017) Knowles called out the magazine on Instagram, writing very simply, “dtmh,” a reference to “Don’t Touch My Hair,” a single from her album A Seat at the Table that throws down the gauntlet for black women who have long been subject to subtle and overt levels of aggression related to their hair.
Daria Kobayashi Ritch, who shot the image, also commented on the changes made to the cover image. “So incredibly honored that I got to photograph [Solange] for the cover of The Evening Standard. I am also saddened that they chose to alter the image by removing such a powerful aspect of it,” wrote Ritch on Instagram.
The magazine today (October 21st) responded with an apology, writing, “The decision to amend the photograph was taken for layout purposes but plainly we made the wrong call and we have offered our unreserved apologies to Solange.”
It’s been pointed out that the height of the hairstyle created issues with fitting the image onto the cover of the magazine and indeed, images accompanying her interview show her hairstyle intact. While that may be the case, it’s beyond obvious the magazine should have reached out to Knowles and her team to brainstorm on options other than retouching her hair. Though if nothing else, the episode is a reminder of the insanity black people are subject to no matter how powerful or well known they are.
“Don’t Touch My Hair” (Dammit!)