Lately, I have been diving a little deeper into what it really means when a company declares itself as diverse and the statistics have kinda been alarming. The point is, I completely understand when the media makes a big deal about strides in diversity and inclusion. Essence Magazine is the latest publication to make the news because model Halima Aden is the first black woman to ever grace the cover of the Magazine wearing Hijab.
Halima is Muslim and will be on Essence’s January 2020 issue. According to the Huffington Post the 22-year-old, signed to IMG modeling agency, has been making historical strides over the past several years: In 2016, the Somali-American made headlines as the first Miss Minnesota contestant to compete in a hijab and burkini. As her modeling career took off, she’s since been the first hijab-wearing woman to be on the cover of Allure and Vogue magazines.
“It’s important for me to be visible and to do whatever I can to let girls know that they don’t have to change who they are,” Aden, who was born in a refugee camp in Kenya, told Essence. “I want them to know the world will meet them exactly where they stand.”
Ahhh!! My first cover of 2020 and it’s for @essence !! A huge thank you to everyone who worked tirelessly on this historic 50th anniversary cover, I’m so thankful to be the first black hijab wearing woman to be featured on Essence! ♥️🙌🏾🎉 pic.twitter.com/JkqDxQciKr
— Halima Aden (@Kinglimaa) December 23, 2019
Earlier this year, Aden became the first Sports Illustrated model to pose in its famed swimsuit Issue wearing a burkini and hijab.
“As long as I could remember, the media portrays Muslim women as oppressed and in a very negative light,” Aden, who came to Minnesota at age 6, told HuffPost in 2016.
“Not seeing women that look like you in media in general and especially in beauty competitions sends the message that you’re not beautiful or you have to change the way you look to be considered beautiful,” Aden said. “And that’s not true.”
I look forward to more covers like this one for 2020, well-done Essence!