British Vogue editor Edward Enninful says racial profiling wasn’t isolated

Edward Enninful. (Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images)

British Vogue editor Edward Enninful has confirmed that a recent encounter which saw him racially profiled by security staff at the magazine’s offices wasn’t “an isolated incident”.

Enninful, the first gay Black and male editor-in-chief in British Vogue’s 100-year history, revealed in July that he’d been refused entry to the magazine’s headquarters, and was asked to instead use a loading bay.

“It just goes to show that sometimes it doesn’t matter what you’ve achieved in the course of your life: the first thing that some people will judge you on is the colour of your skin,” he wrote on Instagram, confirming the offending security guard had been promptly dismissed.

Speaking to CNN on Monday (August 3), Enninful admitted that this wasn’t the first time he had been subjected to racism during his two-year tenure.

“As a Black man it’s not the first time I’ve been profiled and it certainly won’t be the last,” he said. “But also it wasn’t an isolated incident.”

Pressed on whether he meant he had been profiled while at Vogue’s offices, he repeated: “Yes, it wasn’t an isolated incident.”

He said that had he been younger, “I might have been so upset I wouldn’t be able to say anything, but now I can talk about it”.

“I’ve got the platform to speak about it and I don’t want this to happen to the next generation, to think it’s OK, that kind of behaviour,” he added.

Edward Enninful talks British Vogue’s boundary-breaking September issue.

Enninful appeared on CNN to mark the release of British Vogue’s September issue – the most important of the year.

Traditionally a showcase for the forthcoming autumn/winter season, this year Enninful has used the cover of the September issue to profile 20 activists, led by footballer and anti-poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford and model and mental health activist Adwoa Aboah. The cover is the first in British Vogue history to be shot by a Black man, Misan Harriman, who worked with a majority Black crew.

Pose director Janet Mock is one of the faces featured in the pull-out cover, alongside civil rights activist and radical educator Angela Davis, Women’s March organiser Tamika D. Mallory and Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors.

Enninful, whose Vogue is markedly more diverse both behind and in front of the camera than its predecessor, told CNN he wants the magazine to reflect the current global reckoning on topics such as racism, unemployment and climate change.

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For the September 2020 issue of @BritishVogue, I’m so honoured to introduce our special fold-out cover of 20 boundary-breaking activists – beginning with international footballer and child poverty campaigner @MarcusRashford and model and mental health activist @AdwoaAboah, along with 18 more inspirational faces. From spearhead campaigners for the Black Lives Matter movement, such as #PatrisseCullors; leading young feminists and social justice activists, such as #TamikaMallory; the supermodel and anti-racism campaigner #JoanSmalls; as well as legends such as Professor #AngelaDavis, activism now is not a lone figure nor a small pocket of society, but a wealth of faces making themselves heard. Swipe to see the full cover and see the full portfolio in the new issue, on newsstands and available for digital download Friday 7 August. #VogueHope Featuring: @MarcusRashford @AdwoaAboah @Meenals_World @TamikaDMallory @RizAhmed @JanetMock Professor Angela Davis Jane Elliott Alice Wong @Disability_Visibility @IJesseWilliams @JoanSmalls @ReniEddoLodge Yvette Williams @OfficialJ4G @IAmPatrickHutchinson @OsopePatrisse @ClaraAmfo @BerniceAKing @JanayaTheFuture @FDwyer1980 Brittany Packnett Cunningham @MsPackyetti #MarcusRashford wearing @R13, @AColdWall & @Churchs and #AdwoaAboah wearing @Fenty, @Martine_Rose, @LockHatters, @Osoi_Official & @SLJLondonand, photographed by @MisanHarriman and styled by @ItsDWallace, with hair by @EarlSimms2 and make-up by @CeliaBurtonMakeUp. With additional cover photography by @PhilipDanielDucasse, @KingTexas, @ChriseanRose, @EddieH__ and @KidNoble

A post shared by Edward Enninful, OBE (@edward_enninful) on

“I think what’s happening now in the world is a great thing because people are talking about subjects that they never did before,” he said.

Asked to comment on his American counterpart Anna Wintour’s contested record on diversity and that of Vogue publisher Conde Nast, he insisted he could only speak for the UK operation.

“Here in this building in England, we don’t take diversity lightly, or inclusivity, or unconscious bias, or micro aggressions,” he said.

“We tackle this every day. We’ve just brought in a diversity and inclusion officer.

“So I can speak for England and say I won’t stop until everyone is equal.”

He remained coy when asked whether he might “answer the call” when Wintour eventually steps down from the American publication.

“I mean it would be rude not to answer anyone’s call, but I’m very happy where I am.”


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